Dearest Gary,

I just saw that it was your birthday recently and I want to wish you the happiest of birthdays … albeit belatedly. I have so appreciated your work over the years and your shared insight, suggestions and inspiration have meant a lot to me. I bought the book Seat of the Soul many years ago but it took me many years before I was ready to read it. At the time I bought it I was searching for something spiritual. I was also at the time heavy into alcoholism. I was able to get sober at the age of 34 in 1994 and it was a rough journey. Three years into sobriety I began remembering abuses from childhood. At the time, I wasn’t sure I would survive recovery. As I trudged through the journey, however, I began to develop a relationship with a power greater than myself and slowly found spiritual principles with which to live my life by. It was around that time that I took your book off my shelf and read it. It helped me to understand my addiction to alcohol and, most especially, it provided me with a different way of thinking, reflecting and considering my life, how it had been and where I was going. I was thrilled to see you on Oprah and missed very few shows featuring your talks and insights. I fell away from a spiritual practice when, once again, I was overtaken by addiction … this time to a man. I married this man, who turned out to be an addict also, and although I didn’t drink, I became very emotionally, physically and spiritually sick. In the course of coming back from addiction once again someone said to me: “The only way to deal with an addiction is to live a spiritual life.” I returned to the source of learning spiritual principles with which to live by with a deeper conviction and a desperation to find a connection to something greater than me. I uncovered the courage and sought out the support I needed to leave the marriage and to once again strike out on my own. It has been a devastating emotional journey and a spiritual awakening of epic proportions. I once again turned to your written work and have been watching your interviews on OWN. I began a meditation practice — one I am committed to — and have been learning more and more about myself. I greatly desire the experience of two things: (1) authentic power as you describe it; and (2) a spiritual partnership … someday! This latest experience with addiction and subsequently my experience in meditation has taught me (and continues to teach me) to fear feeling powerlessness less. I am “seeing” that there is tremendous freedom in letting go of the pain of trying to grab hold of power externally. I continue to dread each time I recognize and challenge the desire to control my external world (and my internal as well) and turn to meditation to feel that powerlessness because my experience has been one of deeply grieving depravation … looking into that internal “hole” that I was trying to fill with addictive substances. I am finally seeing, however, how I have tried to get needs and wants (many of which I didn’t even know I had) met by demanding that my external world supply me what I want and need. On the other side of fully experiencing powerlessness, however, is a freedom I had no idea existed. It is the power to create choices and make decisions that are best for me. I am craving external power less; and am desiring internal empowerment more. My deepest desire now is to life a purposeful life. I used to define this as what I am supposed to be DOING. I now define this as rediscovering who I was when I came into being (or remembering who I am). I am journeying to uncover my gifts, talents and passions and pray that when I do recover them that I will use them to serve the Divine’s purpose for me. A whole new world is opening up to me and it is more internal than external. I want to express my deep, heartfelt and sincere gratitude to you for being a part of this journey with me. It has been a pleasure and joy to have you along!! Thanks for being there when I needed to hear what you had to say!!!! I hope you will continue to share the Truth!

Many blessings to you.

In love, gratitude, peace and joy,

Debbie Fricke
Tucson, AZ