I will affirm the good until it sinks in and feels real


“…Help me let go of my need to stay immersed in negativity. I can change the energy in myself and my environment from nega­tive to positive. I will affirm the good until it sinks in and feels real. I will also strive to find one quality that I like about someone else who’s important to me, and I will take the risk of telling him or her that.”

  ~ Melody Beattie

I may be the only one on the planet who didn’t know about Melanie Beattie’s back story.  And what an incredible story she has.  Here’s more than a few excerpts from her bio on her blog page:

Melody Beattie, is the author of the international self help best seller titled Codependent No More where she introduced the psychological condition called “codependency.”  Over eight million copies of the book have been sold worldwide.  Millions of readers have trusted Melody’s words of wisdom and guidance because she knows firsthand what they’re going through. In her lifetime, she has survived abandonment, kidnapping, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, and the death of a child. “Beattie understands being overboard, which helps her throw bestselling lifelines to those still adrift,” said Time Magazine.Beattie, 65, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and later moved to California.  Her father left home when she was a toddler, and she was raised by her mother.  She was abducted by a stranger at age four. Although she was rescued the same day, the incident set the tone for a childhood of abuse, and she was sexually abused by a neighbor throughout her youth.  Her mother turned a blind eye, just as she had denied the occurrence of abuse in her own past. Beattie began drinking at age 12, was a full-blown alcoholic by age 13, and a junkie by 18, even as she graduated from high school with honors.  She ran with a crowd called “The Minnesota Mafia” who robbed pharmacies to get drugs.  After several arrests, a judge mandated that she had to “go to treatment for as long as it takes or go to jail.”  Melody continued to score drugs in treatment until a spiritual epiphany transformed her. “I was on the lawn smoking dope when the world turned this purplish color. Everything looked connected—like a Monet painting. It wasn’t a hallucination; it was what the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous calls ‘a spiritual awakening.’  Until then, I’d felt entitled to use drugs. I finally realized that if I put half as much energy into doing the right thing as I had into doing wrong, I could do anything,” Beattie said.

After eight months of treatment, Melody left the hospital clean and sober, ready to take on new goals: helping others get sober, and getting married and having a family of her own.  She married a former alcoholic who was also a prominent and respected counselor and had two children with him.  Although she had stopped drinking and using drugs, she found herself sinking in despair.  She discovered that her husband wasn’t sober; he’d been drinking and lying about it since before their marriage.

During her work with the spouses of addicts at a treatment center, she realized the problems that had led to her alcoholism were still there.  Her pain wasn’t about her husband or his drinking; it was about her. There wasn’t a word for codependency yet.  While Melody didn’t coin the term codependency, she became passionate about the subject. What was this thing we were doing to ourselves?

Driven into the ground financially by her husband’s alcoholism, Melody turned a life-long passion for writing into a career in journalism, writing about the issues that had consumed her for years.  Her 24-year writing career has produced fifteen books published in twenty languages and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.  She has been a frequent guest on many national television shows, including Oprah.  She and her books continue to be featured regularly in national publications including Time, People, and most major periodicals around the world.

Although it almost destroyed her when her twelve-year-old son Shane died in a ski accident in 1991, eventually Melody picked up the pieces of her life again. “I wanted to die, but I kept waking up alive,” she says. She began skydiving, mountain-climbing, and teaching others what she’d learned about grief.

Bio: MelodyBeattie.comWiki. Image: Simplereminders.com


  1. Thank you for the summary of Beattie’s story – I never read it before. She epitomizes the the belief that it isn’t about how often you fall, but how you pick yourself up. And given that I’ve yet to hear better counsel than ‘fake it til you make it’, it’s worth a shot.


    • Thanks Mimi. Todd LoHenry (http://toddlohenry.com) pointed me to Melody with his posts months ago – I was hooked – but never knew her back story. And when I looked it up this morning, I was stunned. You are right – she certainly is the poster child of getting back up and at it again.


  2. I knew *some* of Beattie’s backstory, but not all. Wow! I’ve found solace in several of her books over the years. She’s an inspiration….


  3. Very good.


  4. Reblogged this on Wholeheartedness and commented:
    Heh, heh, heh. Now you’re quoting Melody Beattie? I thought I was reading my own blog for a minute. 😀


  5. Hello Dave,
    A really good post! It’s always good to read a bit of the biography of the person along with their quotes and articles. Thank you Dave for providing the info.


  6. Hi, David

    Thanks for sharing this. Melody (I met her once many years ago, so we’re buds) is truly one amazing person and the gifts she has given to those who struggle with addiction and to those who work with addiction are incredible.

    Appreciated the trip down memory lane. Time was when helping folks deal with all this was my daily focus.



  7. She is truly amazing and inspiring. I think I can thank you for introducing me to her when I first came across your blog last fall – she was featured in one of your Monday AM inspiration posts. Thank you for the gifts you give us, David.


  8. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Make that two of us on the planet … I hadn’t even heard of her until you started posting some quotes. Very inspirational … her story provides a good dose of perspective among much else.


  9. lkanigan says:

    Another reminder that not matter how bad your day or life may seem…someone is going through or completed some of life’s greatest challenges.


  10. Michael Zahaby says:

    I’m definitely getting that book. Having read her background on your posting, I will have no complaints about anything (for at least a month). I’m getting that book too. Thank you for this


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: