I met my friend Shannon in 1988, while living and working as a model in Greece. In 2000, I went to visit her in Vancouver, where she is from, though she lives in Barcelona now with her husband and two sons. On the way to the airport I kept saying to my (then) husband, “I don’t want to go.” He said, “Of course you do. You always say this before you are leaving on a trip.” True. Did I know something subconsciously? Did I sense that this trip would change the course of my life? Maybe, but maybe it was just me not wanting to leave my comfort zone, the comfortable bubble I existed it at the time. Whatever the case was, I did go on my trip, and my life did change.
As I said before, I had known Shannon since 1988. I had met almost everyone in her family, everyone, that is, except her youngest brother, who I will call D. When I met D I had a physical reaction to him. This was strange because he was not my ‘type.’ He was tall and extremely fit, he participated in the Scottish Highland games and was really attractive. So what in that description is not my type? All I can say is he just wasn’t. That’s why the reaction I had to him seemed like it was coming out of left field. I remember thinking, ‘oh, no, I thought that part of me had died.’
When I met my husband, I was a mess. I had been back from Spain for about a year and a half at that point. People thought I was anorexic because I weighed only 125 pounds. I wasn’t, I was extremely stressed and just could not gain weight. (By the way, I do not have that problem anymore.) Then I met J. He was a good guy; kind, nice-looking, though not in a pretty-boy/model way that I preferred. He had a real job and a normal life. I had retired from modeling by then, but it is a very hard business to leave, and I was still getting used to living back in the States. I was clinically depressed and made decisions and choices that I never would have made had I been emotionally healthy. There was one ‘problem,’ which in the end, turned out to be something I simply could not live with for the rest of my life. I was not attracted to him physically. At the time, I thought, well, I’ve had the bells and whistles before and because he’s a good guy, and there must be more to life than mind-blowing sex, I think I can do this. The moment I met D it became very clear to me that I couldn’t. Well, crap!
I couldn’t, wouldn’t, do anything about what I was feeling because, after all, I was married. On the plane back to Chicago, I realized I was going to have to get a divorce. I so did not want to tell J, and after I was home, I got sick from holding it in. I wasn’t sure how or when I would tell him. I think I kept hoping that somehow I would be able to go back to how my life was before I left for Canada. I think I was in bed for a week, and then one morning, without meaning to, it popped out of my mouth. He asked if we could go to couples/marriage counseling. I said yes. I forget now where we found this therapist, but she was great. It became very clear very quickly that this wasn’t going to work. I had never really let my husband know who I really was, and, consequently was unable to talk about much in therapy. We decided that I would continue to see her on my own, and go from there.
At one point, I saw the movie “28 Days” with Sandra Bullock. I thought, ‘oh, my gosh! That’s what I need. I need rehab, but for mental stuff.’ At my next appointment, I asked if there was such a thing as mental rehab. She told me yes, and there is a really good place that is based in Northern California, but they have a location in Wisconsin. She got the phone number for me, I called and got the information sent, and two weeks later, I went to Hoffman. When the brochures first arrived I read them over and then told J I didn’t think it sounded like me. He read them and said to me, “Read them again.” Oh.
The Hoffman Process saved my life. I felt hopeless, that I was hanging on by a mere thread, and the 10 days I spent in Wisconsin changed everything. What J actually said to me was, “If we can’t fix our marriage, can we at least work on fixing you?” I was 99.98% sure I wanted to get a divorce, but for the .02% chance that our marriage could be saved, and because I was so unhappy, we decided I needed to go. Hoffman was, without a doubt, the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life. There was 10 hours of pre-Process work, and I was on the phone with someone in the office more than once while attempting to complete it. That was a clear indication of just how hard it was going to be.
I cannot even remember exactly where in Wisconsin it was held. All I know is we were at a B&B and completely isolated from the outside world. There was no TV, no radio, no phone or cell phones. We were there to work, and work we did, for many hours each day. When we first arrived, they gathered all 21 of us together and we each had to introduce ourselves and say why we were there. I said, “I am at the end of my rope and since I promised my mother I would not kill myself, something has to change because my life depends on it.”
And so the adventure of the Hoffman Process began…