At the end of last week's follow-up episode, you can hear part of my interview. The basic gist of the message is: As long as you still have time, there is still hope.

Hope is a tough thing to explain. For me, hope is simply the belief that things can get better, no matter how bad they are. This kind of hope is fueled by my faith, but I know other people who also share in this kind of hope who do not practice religion or spirituality.

A new support/recovery group is coming to Spokane, and we will likely use a model of the 12 steps for our group. Discussion in the past has been that the inclusion of "a Higher Power" or "God as we know him" would eliminate some from the group. I really struggled with that because I have felt left out by the simple fact that my mother is a hoarder, not an alcoholic or an addict. Society has not really recognized YET that Children of Hoarders (COH) have a need for identity.

I believe that a group will help with that. Additionally, there is a landmark study of COH going on right now. I believe that the info gleaned from this research will help too. So what about the faith component???

Here is where I'm at. If I were capable of changing and healing myself, I would have done it already. I wouldn't need support or recovery. But the fact is that I do! So I encourage anyone who is concerned about the inclusion of a "Higher Power" or a "God as I know Him" to ask themselves if they can do this without something external.

The external does not need to be the God of the Bible, Allah, Buddha, or any other god of organized religion. It can be as simple as looking at a doorknob, knowing that on the other side of the door is where healing is, and choosing that doorknob to be symbolic of a higher power--it's going to get you to the other side.

And, of course, there may be some who just don't want to get involved with that. And that is their choice. I will respect it. But I will not fear exclusion anymore. Everyone is welcome here...but YOU have to make the choice for yourself.

You can sell hope, but it doesn't mean everyone is buying.


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