Good God, Why?

 Recovery, The Play  Comments Off
Oct 212014

ChristaJanRyan-PosterChrista Jan Ryan presents Good God! Why?

a Play/Musical adapted from her book ‘Silent Screams form the Hamptons’

at the Spectrum Playhouse 20 Franklin Street, Lee MA 01238

Friday Nov 7 @ 7pm
Sat Nov. 8 @ 2pm & 7pm
Friday Nov 14 @ 7pm
Sat Nov. 15 @ 2pm & 7pm

Buy Tickets $25

Apr 092014

The Relationship Between Substance Addiction and Domestic Violence

Live Fast, Die Young, Leave a Good looking Corpse

For the first Forty-Five years of my life I maintained a life of High Alert that pertained to this motto.

Live fast; so that the pain would never catch up to me and present itself as a learning tool that would be able encompass the concept of compassion. My workaholism and always being in the captivity of activity keep me as far away from being able to look at my life as well as teaching me to become a champion swimmer in the river of denial.

Dying young never reached my consciousness because my denial was so great. I annilated myself with so much money, men and medication, that dying young was alright because I had experienced it all. I had arrived.

Leaving a good looking corpse was all that was left to hope for. “She looked good in her last days.” I better damn well look good at forty-five with all I had placated myself with.

But happy to say, I have stopped living fast, I haven’t died young, and I no-longer wish to have a good-looking corpse. I want to live out the other 45 years of my life living a life of service and purpose; which has amounted to helping others to understand why one does not want to be living a life of addiction and accepting any form of abuse on any level.

Addiction and co-dependency are often defined as an unhealthy reliance on the control of exterior things in order to fill interior needs. The belief that those hungers can be addressed a physical, material, or financial level alone can perpetuate a continual form of insanity which will keep the alcoholic or the Domestic Violence Victim in the habitual cycle that they are stuck in.

The cycle that usually presents itself over and over again is The Disease of The Family of Origin. We will continue to repeat the past if we enable ourselves to give it the power that it can hold if we don’t look intensely at the patterns that have passed down thru the generations. My Introduction into my book is This book is about the Disease of the Family of Origin and how we unintentionally carry over our patterns of hurts, hang-ups, and habits into the next generation. The generational inheritance that I receive was addiction and emotional woundedness. The legacy I wish to leave a how we can change our generational inheritance through the power of our willingness, love and forgiveness. There are six types of family of origin dysfunction that can generate or create a later adult addiction or co-dependency:

1. Active abuse: a parent’s pain or frustration is discharged against or protected (enabled) onto a child. Any form of direct physical, verbal, or sexual abuse can be classified as active abuse.

2. Passive abuse. Passive abuse occurs when key elements are missing in a family a child growing up needs fifteen to 20 years of steady, consistent loving from 2 sane, sober, relatively happy parents. And of course one of the greatest ingredient for a healthy child is to come to understand the importance of self-love and the extreme damage when it’s not in place.

3, Emotional incest: Typically, in families where one or both parents are in some way emotionally or physically disabled, a young child will begin to assume parental or spousal responsibilities toward the parent. The etipole complex is now just being brought into the light of the damage that occurs with emotional molestation.

4. Unfinished Business if parents have not made peace with the disillusionments, defects, or limitations in their own lives, the child may pick up their unfinished business.

5. Negative messages about whom and what the child is. These are spoken and experienced messages that destroy feelings of self-worth and become a part of the child’s personality.

6. Split-off feelings or needs. In dysfunctional families, members deny their feelings and bury their needs. These needs will later try to assert themselves, but may do so in very damaging ways.

My book is loaded with examples of the damaging ways I was able to transcend my feelings thru men, money and self-medication.

It took many painful experiences for me to get real with my denial. The loss of my daughter, realizing I had the capacity to kill my spouse before divorcing him became an option, not being able to maintain a life that incorporated me being fully present for my children. Denial became a cloak of self-deception that blinded and shielded me from an honest assessment of my own dependencies. Addictonologists now believe that the emotional and spiritual components of withdrawal from any addictions are far greater significance than the physiological dimensions.


My favorite line is: I should have been taken from the birthing room and placed in the recovery room. If there is a 12 step program out there for any thing, I should be in it. My sponsor informed me there are 238 12 step programs out there. That covers me as far as a meeting a day for a year. I wake up and try to decide which addiction is ruling me today. I was told to treat my addictions in the order that they were going to kill me. Self-medication was first on the top of the list. Men were next because of my codependency along with my Love and Sex addictions, which I’m making great strides in seeing the role they play as a Domestic Violence Victim. It was the entanglement of the make-up sex that really keep the cycle of codependency going along with not wanting to end the dependence of needing the unhealthy love entrapment with the cycle of sex. And when I was actively using alcohol as a form of self-medication; I wasn’t able to see what my responsibility was in any of this. We were told not to get involved with another person till after our first year of sobriety, my sponsor said 5 years and then as she says that….she looks at me and says……”because you drank for so long and hard….I recommend 10 years of work before you attempt a relationship, or you’ll just bring in another dead fish.

Money has been very interesting since I have removed my self from the Hamptons where money and my career were my Identity.

Who am I now? I’m a woman who will constantly want and need to ask for help in all facets of my life to uncover the hero that lies within me so that I can continue to heal and be useful in this glorious life that I have been given.

Self- Love

 Articles, Recovery  Comments Off
Apr 092014

When I was asked to write for a Women’s Magazine, I stopped short in my tracks and tried to think of a commonality that we all shared and were all battling. I hope to start with this topic and go down the list of what arises when we avoid this important entity to the core of our development in relationships with our loved ones and acquaintances. At the end of each article I will share an important section in my Memoir: Silent Screams from the Hamptons and what it took to finally make the changes in myself to live a Joyful and Serene Life.


We women are forever busy holding up our families, our job places, society, and extended families. We’re the caretaker, the breadwinner, the mother, house cleaner, nurturer; and just plain chief cook and bottle washer.


Loving ourselves sounds so simple, but how do we do it? Learning more about who we are is a good first step. After acknowledging who we are, we can begin the process of accepting what we can do and what we shouldn’t do. Getting a more balanced view of ourselves when we acknowledge how hard we are working to change. We want love. We deserve love. We must become initiators because as the fulcrum of the family no one else will do it for us.


What does it mean to love ourselves all day long? It means loving ourselves even when we feel shame for yelling at a loved one. There will be days when we need to make a conscious decision to love ourselves moment by moment. This is a process that in time we will realize the gains we have made. We will see that it is possible to love ourselves fully, even though we have not become perfect. As a woman, I see how we are so hard on ourselves with never allowing ourselves the ability to become gentle with ourselves. It’s all about performance, accomplishing and providing for everything and everyone outside of ourselves.


I’m learning to nourish myself with affirmations. By stopping and making the time to add them to my thought patterns has changed my perception of my self and what I need to start feeling about myself. We have been told that Mom and Dad raised us to the best of their ability, but that does not mean we were given the affirmations or the gentle guidance that we needed as youngsters. Our parents were not able to pass on what they didn’t have, and old patterns die hard. We are sharing our personal stories and being loved for it. We are getting the positive strokes we deserve from friends. We are telling ourselves that we’re worthy of respect, love, and all the good that the universe hold.


I have personally found that when we start the process of loving and nurturing ourselves, the rest of the family situation starts to improve. When we start blazing the trails for ourselves, the rest of our loved ones start to follow suit. We teach people how to treat us. When we’re not feeling the love and respect for ourselves, no one else will either. It becomes a cut and dry issue of boundaries. Boundaries that we have learn to set for ourselves and for every one else. When we (women) start learning to ask for what we need and allowing ourselves the space and nurturing that we deserve in order to continue carrying the Herculaneum responsibilities, we will begin to see the necessary changes that self love can bring.



From Silent Screams from the Hamptons Chapter 17

It’s Not the End of the World But I can See the Edge


I was sick and tired of being scared out of my skin all the time. Nothing was ever going to change in my life, until I figured out that it was me who had to change. I was living some else’s life. The person I thought I was had left the building a long time ago. It horrified me that my children were now viewing the movie that I had watched as a child-witnessing parents physically assaulting each other. I had to start the process of breaking this chain of destruction, or my children were going to grow up living these habits, hurts and hang-ups all over again! Somehow I had to halt the violence.



Christa Jan Ryan was born into a chaotic family, enduring alcoholism, drug overdoses, and violence. The youngest of six children; three of her sisters are triplets, all born with Cerebral Palsy. She has been a professional landscape designer and consultant to the rich and famous of the Hamptons for the last thirty years. Following her heartwarming first book, From the Depths of a Women’s Soul, Ryan’s Silent Screams from the Hamptons has won 2 awards, been on; NPR, ABC, NBC, and Time Warner. She lives in the Berkshires of Massachusetts with her two sons and cat and continues to write about important issues with a renewed sense of purpose and humor.