‘Love And Compassion Is My Religion’ Explores Author’s Struggle With Alcoholism

‘Love And Compassion Is My Religion’ Explores Author’s Struggle With Alcoholism
Sometimes growing up with all the advantages doesn’t ensure an easy road to success.
Jane Zarse knows from experience. She was born into a well-to-do family and grew up in the prestigious community of Lake Forest, Ill., driving an Audi to her exclusive private school where she was a cheerleader.
She also began drinking and doing drugs. Perhaps it was a sign of things to come when her grades slipped and she wrecked the Audi, though initially she persevered, graduating from college and launching a career at the Chicago Options Exchange.
But alcoholism proved her undoing.
Zarse shares the story of how her life unraveled and how her faith helped put it back together in her memoir “Love and Compassion is My Religion: A Beginner’s Book into Spirituality” (www.loveandcompassionismyreligion.com).
“I was sick, broken, powerless, hopeless and helpless,” Zarse writes. “I didn’t love myself and, because of my distorted ego, didn’t even know it.”
She was drunk on her wedding day, had second thoughts and nearly refused to walk down the aisle until an aunt reminded her that everything was already paid for and she could always get a divorce later.
“The truth is, backing out was not a viable option, not with my mother,” Zarse writes. “The church was packed, the caterers were paid, and I was getting married.”
A couple of years later, Zarse followed through on her aunt’s suggestion and divorced. Later, she married again. That marriage also ended in divorce.
Zarse provides blunt assessments of her addiction, such as:
“Alcoholics don’t have relationships. We take hostages.”
“I could be anything I needed to be – except sober.”
To illustrate the depths of her problem, she recounts how she sneaked out of the maternity ward to go drinking the night after her daughter was born.
But even though Zarse takes the reader along on the harrowing journey as her life spirals out of control, there is eventually redemption. A man she met at an AA meeting helped lead her out of the abyss when he told her that “the solution for alcohol was spiritual.”
As her faith grew, so did her power to overcome the addiction that was destroying her body and her life.
“We can all start over,” Zarse writes. “It is possible every one of us to live a higher life – one with self-love, self-esteem, self-respect, dignity, integrity and compassion.”

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