Wednesday, April 23, 2008


This is the book I'm reading right now, a memoir by Claire and Mia Fontaine, mother and daughter, and their journey into hell and back as Mia goes deep into drugs and Claire yanks her out and puts her into an intensive year-long program in the Czech Republic.

It's riveting. As my daughter is on the cusp of becoming 14, this topic is of particular interest to me. What I am finding to be fascinating is the approach the program takes with the kids, military-like obedience, discipline, accountability and an in-your-face self-awareness process.

And what is double extra intriguing to me is that the same in-your-face self-awareness process is used on the parents. Some of the things they beat into the parents are:

THERE ARE NO ACCIDENTS - results never lie. Your results will always tell you what your real intentions are, or were, consciously or not.

What are you pretending to not know? You always KNOW.

Silence is the biggest power play there is.

They go on and on about SLBs, Self Limiting Behaviors, to both the kids and parents. And, like they say, results never lie. They get results. Dramatic results. They know that if the kids do all the hard work to "reform" and come home to the same dynamics, they will be sabotaged, so they make the parents change too. Imagine that? One guess who has the harder time changing.

I "took off" to find myself last summer, "left" my daughter and "just took off," and got a lot of heat about it. A. Lot. I maintained it was largely FOR her I was doing it. If I didn't discover myself, I was leaving her the legacy of figuring out MY mother, me, AND her, at least, and that just didn't seem like a fair load to dump on your first born. Society didn't agree with me, and society let me hear it. My daughter though? She was pretty cool with it.

With the help of a few key friends and the process of memoir writing, I got in my own face to discover my SLBs. I'm sure I missed a few, but I got the biggies. When I came home I was keenly aware of my SLBs, and have worked hard (some would say to the exclusion of all else) to eradicate them.

My daughter and me? Our story is far from over, but I do believe well begun is half done, and I look towards the rest of her teenage years with hope and eager anticipation. I know who I am. I know why I tend to do what I tend to do, and I try hard to catch myself doing it. If my mother had done this for herself, I would have had a huge head start. That's OK, she did the best she could, I know that for sure. But I know better, and am trying to do better. I hope that by the time my daughter is a mother she will know "best," and show "best" to her daughter.

Good, better, best.

Things are moving in the right direction.


Kim said...

CP, you are AMAZING!!

As you would say, I love this and everything about it!

p.s. Don't you love that cover? I swear just that combination of title and cover could move me to tears, before I even cracked the book.

Anonymous said...

As you say there are no accidents but maybe there are collisions on our journeys. You appear to have the ability upright yourself and keep going. It's important that you recognize the need to refuel.
Keep truckin

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

When one goes against the cultural norm, the culture gets uncomfortable, just as when one's soul disagrees with one's ego, the ego starts to flip out.
Good job listening to the inner wisdom rather than the outer knowledge! That is the Godlight that your soul was born to re-member.
I am SO happy for you and Lucy!!!

drama mama said...

I loved this book. I also just read Beautiful Boy AND Tweak - the father/son book about Meth addiction. There is another fantastic one by Adair Lara about her daughter - I forget the name.

Carrie, why don't you just take over Oprah's time slot?

You hit it every time.

riversgrace said...

My friend calls it 'ancestral recovery work' -- seems like it should be taught in every school and be a prerequisite for marriage and parenting.

Maybe you and your daughter will have some things to say together at some point.....write together.

lo said...

This prancer has tingles.
I bought this book awhile back at Target (when we were in U.S)
It caught my eye-the cover and I enjoyed it!
You 'all growd up' Carrie

Anonymous said...

There are no accidents, that's both reassuring and terrifying at the same time.

How did you take off last summer? Was it for the whole summer? Where did you go? What about your husband? He was okay with it?

I'm taking three weeks this summer to travel on my own. It'll be the longest I've been alone ever, I think. It scares me and fills me with hope.

kario said...

Love that you found this book and you are finding that it affirms your own difficult choices.

Hate that people keep talking about wonderful books to read that distract me from finishing writing my own.....

La La said...

Stop giving me books to read! I'm on overload! LOL! Not really. Keep 'em coming. Glad I have an automatic click thingy on

I'm with Drama Mama, just start your own talk show already.

You have this amazing ability to synthesize information and disseminate it to us in a way that gets our attention. AND you do it with few words. How do you do that? Really, I want to write posts like that, but they always end up being too damn long --- uh, kinda like this is!

Terry Whitaker said...

As one of those who gave you a hard time about leaving your daughter, I read this with a keen realization that I must've been projecting my own SLB's. Aha!

Anonymous said...

I LOVED this book. I read it last year. At the time the both had a blog, but the mom did most of the blogging. Amazing....

If you are also reading The Last Lecture right now, you know one of his words of wisdom is: DO not worry about what other people think. Certainly nothing new, but coming from a man with a terminal illness, it meant a lot more. Forget what society, friends said, look at what you learned from last summer. I dare say a whole lot. Lessons like that only make us better people (and mothers). I admire your courage.

shauna said...

Beautiful post. And it hit me at the perfect time. I'll have to read the book. Thank you.

shauna said...

Carrie, I had to come back and say that this post gave me a very needed aha moment. I've been asked to speak to a large group of teenage girls in June and this concept is one of a few I KNOW they need to hear. Thanks so much!

meanie said...

going to read it. a little scare to, but i'm going to read it.