A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje
Review by Thomas Cirignano
For me, reading A Spiritual Renewal was truly uplifting and inspiring. To use those words to honestly characterize a literary work these days is quite rare. It was refreshing that there was no sensationalism to be found, just the author’s heartfelt description of events.
Coincidentally, my reading of Alberta Sequeira’s story was well timed. It was a point in my life when I needed to be reminded that faith is often renewed when we most need it. Does that happen because we, as human beings, search for answers during times of loss and chaos, or does a Higher Power search us out when we truly need it? I’m not overly religious. In fact, I’ve been called “Doubting Thomas” more times than I care to admit. But even I could relate to this story because special coincidences, which most people would consider miracles, have happened to me, just as they did in this author’s life. It was good to read that I am not unique in that respect.
One of the biggest questions we all ponder in life is whether loved ones who have passed on, or other heavenly entities, such as God, The Blessed Mother, or angels actually do watch over us during our lifetimes. All I can say is, read A Spiritual Renewal, look back at the events of your own life, and then decide for yourself.
Reading this book was time well spent.
Purchase A Spiritual Renewal at http://www.amazon.com/author/albertasequeira
Substance Abuse Talks
Since 2007, a year after losing my daughter, Lori, I have been speaking at halfway homes, court-ordered programs, jails, substance abuse rehabs, to their families, schools, and to the public.
My heartwarming talks are reaching out to the alcohol and drug addicts. I want to help them believe in themselves, hold their heads up high, develop the desire to recover, to realize that no one is going to get them to sobriety but themselves. They need to hear someone say they can, so, here I go. “You can do it!”Believe it in your heart and think it in your mind. I teach them how and why to forgive. The importance of having God in their lives. They will never be alone. And most importantly, to never forget the one word: CHOICES! It’s a very powerful word. These are some of the topics that I cover. No blaming, no accusing, just giving them back their souls and remembering who they used to be.
References from the Bristol Correction Office at Faunce Corner Road in North Dartmouth, MA:
1. Rui M. Lima, MA, MSW, LICSW, Director of Substance Abuse & Social Servies Programs & Treatment: Telephone: 508-995-6400 ext. 2821
2. Matthew Robitaille, Director of Classification and Progams; Telephone: 5080995-6400 ext. 2504
Email me for a quote: [email protected]
My books on alcohol abuse can be purchased at www.amazon.com/author/albertasequeira
I also talk to people on the spiritual side of life after stepping away from my faith after living fourteen years with an alcoholic husband and bringing my two daughters into a life of confusion, fear, and no security. Things I’m not proud of doing.
We think God leaves us when in reality it is us who closes the door on Him. We have to open our hearts for Him to enter.
My talk focuses on watching my father, retired Brigadier General, Albert L. Gramm, die of cancer. I realize I let a tremendous amount of history go with him after he had been one of the commanding officers in the 26th Yankee Division during WWII fighting in Metz, Lorraine, and the famous Battle of the Bulge..
Three miracles get me to take a ten-day pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia where Our Lady has been appearing to six visionaries since 1981. She is giving them 10 secrets to be revealed to the world when they receive them. Two visionaries have one more secret to receive. The trip changed my life. I came to realize that I not only needed God in my life, but I wanted Him there.
The story is in my memoir A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje.
I speak at Churches of any religion, libraries, schools, private functions or any organization.
With this modern world full of disasters, many have pushed faith and God out of their lives. They wonder why there are so many problems, especially the ones with no faith at all.
We think we can live without God until something tragic happens to us or with a family member. That’s when we get on our knees and pray for a miracle. If our prayers are not answered the way we want or when then we give up on Him. God answers us in His way and time. Maybe He has other plans for us.
Losing a loved one is the most painful thing to experience. When they are taken home to God, we don’t want to hear why. We just want them back. God gives us loved ones and then takes them home. We never know when He will knock on our door.
Hard and painful times is when our faith comes into play. We have to be silent and listen to prayer. Praying is just talking to God; nothing more. You don’t need a rosary or novena’s, although, they bring us so close to God.
In A Spiritual Renewal; A Journey to Medjugorje, I wrote this story from my personal experiences with miracles that happened to me before and when I traveled to Medjugorje. It’s for the reader who has lost their faith.
Since 1981, Our Blessed Mother has been appearing to six visionaries in Medjugorje in Bosnia, giving them ten secrets to be revealed to the world when they receive all of them. There are two visionaries left to receive one more secret.
How can we not believe when Our Lady is coming down from Heaven speaking directly to the visionaries to repeat to us how to return to her Son, Jesus before it’s too late?
This book is for anyone from any religion. Mary is calling all of us. Read about my ten-day pilgrimage to this little, remote town in Bosnia. Read the miracles that I experienced over there and how I returned back to Church after fifteen years being away.
Purchase at http://www.amazon.com/author/albertasequeira
Choices. It’s still a powerful word for every person around the world. Those choices make us into what we become in adulthood.
I believe there are three reasons someone gets caught up in alcohol or drug abuse.
1. It is highly hereditary. In my past family, I had married into, YES! My husband’s mother, sister, brother (his three children) and my daughter, Lori. It trickled down to past generations.
2. An excuse to follow the crowd, after all, everyone is doing it. What’s the harm? I can quit anytime. If my family got off my back, it wouldn’t be a problem. Who am I hurting? It helps me function. EXCUSES!
3. This one I think should be number one. Something happened to you at a young age that you can’t talk about or handle yourself. Sexual abuse I would say is the number sadness that is bestowed on a child of innocence.
Here is my advice to all of you suffering from mental or physical abuse from the past…..hold your heads up high. You have nothing to be ashamed of and it wasn’t your fault. The person who did this to you is sicker than you.
Ask God to help you forgive this person. Yes, forgive. It’s not easy. Why do I say this? Because if you can’t forgive, you stay stuck. If you stay stuck, you can’t recover. This anger and hatred eat at the heart of your soul. You don’t have to stay in this person’s life.
Think of it…the person may not even know you are mad at them or knows and doesn’t care. Don’t let this person take your future of health and happiness away from you.
Cling to your counselor, a sponsor, or a friend who wants sobriety as much as you do. Want recovery more than life itself.
If you need someone to tell you that you can do this, well, here I am. YOU CAN!
Choices when the invitation goes out to parties, or especially Christmas time and New Years, to join them. When you walk into the person selling the drugs, you have to STOP….think for a second, and remember CHOICES. They are yours. You own them.
Family can only love and support you. This is your battle to come out of addiction.
Last advice? Pray to God for help, even if you don’t believe. He already knows that. Ask Him to show you the way into opening your heart for Him to enter it. Prayer is talking to God. Reach out to Him. The answer may not come when you want it or how, but it will be in His time and way.
Believe in yourself and have faith in God.
Yes, Christmas is around the corner. It's a time to reach out to even your loved ones who are hooked on alcohol and drug abuse. Why not purchase What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic and Addict: In Their Own Words? It's a book for counselors, family members, society, and substance abusers. You don't have to talk to your sibling, son, daughter, husband, wife, or any other person. The thirty-one contributors tell you what they think works and don't in their recovery. What open us to what they need from family members; one, stop the enabling. They want us to "LISTEN" to them; not yell, scream or lecture!
This is an honest book with emotions from the substance abusers. Out of thirty-four stories, one has to hit home. This is their lives, not mine. Losing Richard and Lori, I wanted to know what I missed to help them. This is a book you can give without explaining a thing to them.
Go to my site to order and look at the other two memoirs on addiction: Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round: An Alcoholic Family in Crisis. Go behind closed door to a family with two daughters who live in fear, confusion, and abuse. Learn how enabling only brings the alcoholic deeper into their addiction.
The sequel: Please, God, Not Two: This Killer Called Alcoholism. Follow Lori as she goes down the same path as her father with addiction. The wrong crowd. Hiding events that happened to her in the past bringing her into depression. Developing being bulimic. How a family struggles after losing two loved ones. This book also contains my speeches behind closed doors to the addicted.
Visit: www.amazon.com/author/albertasequeira for her memoirs and Narrative Non-Fiction.
What would I change after losing my husband, Richie and my daughter, Lori, from their alcohol and drug abuse? I’ve been asked that question numerous times.
There will never be any doubt in my mind that Alcoholism is a family disease. We are all affected. I don’t believe in the programs for AA members to go in one room, Al-Anon family mates in another, and the teenagers with Alateen behind the third, closed door.
Then I was told to let the alcoholic go their own way until they reach rock bottom, or come to their senses that they have a problem. Lori and Richie, along with any substance abuser, should never be left to reach rock bottom. My families rock bottom was their death.
We need to stop and listen to what each of us needs to recover. We can’t learn anything if we do all the talking. Is this easy? No, but it’s a start. Enabling, yelling, accusing, and doing nothing is unhealthy and our loved ones go deeper into their addiction.
It’s not a time to blame. I also feel if the substance abuser does not want help or make any changes, we have to try to mentally and physically take care of ourselves. Sounds easy. Yeah, try it.
I believe in the power of prayer. Yes, no one could have said as many rosaries and novenas like I did for them, but God had other plans for them. I hate to admit the fact, the alcoholic has to do the work to recover. We can only love and support them.
So, my advice is to try listening and talking. Don’t break communication or the demon will win.
My book What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic and Addict is an educational book for family members of the substance abuser, doctors, counselors, and the public to learn what they feel they need from us to desire taking the steps to recover. The books can be purchased at www.amazon.com/author/albertasequeira
I’m due for a second meeting with counselors at the Bristol County Jail in Dartmouth, Massachusetts to share my story of losing my husband, Richard, and my daughter, Lori from their alcohol and drug abuse to their inmates. It will be the first time a family member has ever spoken to them.
It’s a shame from the results of their substance abuse that they are behind bars. But, after losing two family members, I remember back fearing they would kill someone or cause an accident from drinking. More so, do crime to get money to keep their habit going.
If only the ones being helped could realize how lucky they are being there and not on the streets. It’s a time to realize that doctors and counselors want to help you. Millions all over the world may never have the opportunity to have professionals by their sides to recover.
How to achieve recovery? Want it from the heart, more than life itself. Forgive who hurt you and put it in God’s hands. Move on without them. Don’t let a person who caused you harm years back hold you from moving in a healthy direction with getting sober.
Don’t blame others for where you are in your life with addiction. We all have choices. Don’t be in a program or jail waiting for your time to end to get people off your back with harping on you with using. Don’t look at it as no choice by a court ordering your stay. Don’t take the help only to win back your marriage.
Do it for YOU! If not, you will be back on the streets looking for the drug dealer, who doesn’t care if his pills or needles kill you or you will be in your car going to that party you know will get you on the road of death again.
CHOICES! A word not to forget every time you are faced with a phone call or personal invite. Which answer will you give? What step will you take? It's easy to take the familiar road instead of struggling up a hill to recover. CHOICES! They’re yours alone. The one you make will either give you back your pride, health, and happiness. The other will be a shovel digging your grave.
My books are in paperback and Kindle at http://amazon.com/author/albertasequeira
Email me with questions at:
is [email protected]
I love receiving emails, and especially, getting a review on Amazon.
Al and I just returned from Santa Rosa, California. During that time, we met and spoke with many families and couples. It’s sad to hear how many have lost or are fighting to hold onto their family unit and the addicted member.
I would love to hear or read that the amount of deaths from this horrible world-wide disease is going down but it seems to get larger in numbers.
In October, I will soon be speaking to the men and woman inmates at the Bristol County Jail in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. This will be my first experience entering a jail. Sad that substance abusers have to be behind bars for their addiction.
The reason for their arrests shows what addiction to alcohol or drugs too long can do to a person. I’ll list a few reasons a person high on either gets jailed: drunk driving, domestic abuse, killings, rape, child abuse, or from disturbing the peace. Many more reasons could be added to the list.
If only the addicted would look into their hearts and face the mirror and admit they have a problem and get help. The recovery steps sound so easy to the nonalcoholic.
Getting off any habit that will kill is not easy, including throwing out the last cigarette forever. June 4, 2017, my twin brother, Albert, died from years of smoking. In 1990, he had been saved by a doctor from the Mass General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts from his first lung cancer after they were ready to take his voice box out. The addiction, and his mindset, didn’t stop him from going right back to his habit until the cancer returned and twenty-seven years later, the smoking finally killed him.
Addiction to any habit is not easy to overcome…but it can be depending on the will of the person addicted to get well and beat the system. Not many.
With losing my husband, Richard, and my daughter, Lori, I truly believe the number one problem was not being able to admit to being an alcoholic. Second, they both would not talk to a counselor about their past and get what I call the garbage out of them. Third, their past hurts and abuse were kept deep within them and they had no strength or courage to talk about emotions.
To all substance abusers—–there is nothing wrong with you than having a disease or habit you can’t break. It takes more for a person to say they need help than the ones staying on the path of destruction.
I am a heart patient with my third pacemaker and have diabetes. Sounds like noting to the addicted, but it is. I have to get enough sleep, keep the stress level down stay away from caffeine and get plenty of exercise for the heart. As for the diabetes, I can’t enjoy the pleasure of sweets, pray not to get an injury to my foot or leg, take Coumadin and have to watch for bleeding, I take medicine for both problems and watch which foods interact with the heart and diabetes. I want to live, and live healthy, so I try to stay aware of my actions. Honestly, it sucks!
Let me put it this way to an addict reading this: what if you were in a car accident, and the doctor said, “I’m sorry, but you will never be able to move anything below your neck, walk and will have to be feed and changed the rest or your life”…or, you have been suffering with pain and had to go through medical tests to only find out you are in stage 5 with cancer and have two months to live.
These people can’t do a thing to change their lives. YOU CAN! It takes guts, determination and hard work to reach recovery. Only you can do it. Going back to the same friends who use or meet that drug dealer around the corner is easier than fighting to get sober and clean. If I could have crawled into my daughter’s body to do the work, I would have, but it was all up to her to do the work.
Losing a loved one, or more, from alcohol or drug abuse is a loss a family member can’t explain, because in our eyes, we saw the light to recovery with professional help and family counseling, but the addicted fear the changes and lose faith in themselves. Making changes can be more painful to them and staying in the sick familiar life seems easier.
We HAVE to teach children from first grade up about addiction to over-eating, smoking, and alcohol and drug abuse. In my book What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict, all 34 contributors talk about their usage and damage it did before they recovered. Two women open up about being 5 and 7 years old starting with consuming alcohol watching their parents.
Our children are not ignorant to the bad habits I mentioned. We as parents and teachers should be making this an everyday topic at home and in class. THIS might be the miracle to stop this spread of death.
Buy her books at www.amazon.com/author/albertasequeira