Friday, August 21, 2009

A Lovely Day in Newport

First of all, I have to just say, Lost is the best show ever. And is the greatest invention ever, as it allows us to enjoy all our favorite programming sans having to schedule time to park in front of the television, commercial breaks, and spending way too much money on past season DVD sets! I've been catching up on Season 3 as I sit and wait for my laundry to dry... and I bet you wanted to hear all about that, right? Right.

It's been a relaxing day, after one very hectic but wonderfully uplifting Thursday. I headed down to Newport Beach on Wednesday night after a meeting with church friends, to stay at the Balboa Bay Club and Resort the evening before my visit to Sober Living By the Sea. SLBS is a treatment facility that consists of a few different programs, including The Landing (Men's only Chemical Dependency), The Rose (Women's Only CD) and The Victorian (Eating Disorders). I realized as I pulled up to the hotel, got out of the car and smelled the salty ocean breeze just how lucky I was to live near the Pacific Ocean, and have the opportunity and ability to travel. A side note, I apologize.

Began the visit Thursday morning with coffee and a little orientation about SLBS and its history from Ryan, the centers' Director of Business Development and nicest guy, and Melissa Preshaw, from CRC Health group who flew in from the Cupertino, CA office. The morning consisted of tours of each of the facilities (Landing, Rose and Victorian), which are all actually homes on the Balboa Peninsula, where residents stay for the duration of their treatment. The homes were absolutely BEAUTIFUL, with large glass windows looking right out to the beach, stunning decor, and the most warm, loving, engaging staff. I was given schedules as an example of what their days are like... and I couldn't help but think to myself that it looked like fun! I know that is a borderline horrible-thing-to-say, but truly, what a blessing it is, or would be, to retreat to such a place, and spend all day, every day, caring for your soul and yourself; minus distractions, expectations, judgements, or other stresses. A complete retreat. Everyone needs that, to be sure. I suppose the answer is to find little moments of each day, time when you can do that in your regular life. In no way am I lessening the pain and struggle of the individuals in treatment there. But they are so extremely lucky to be in a place with such love, warmth, and specialized care. If only all those struggling with addiction and/or eating disorders had the resources to go to such a place for healing. Hence, the need for KHF and scholarships for treatment! I digress...

After touring each house, I was treated to a beautiful luncheon at a great little place called The Dock, where myself and another woman and SLBS Alumn were honored for our work in the field of eating disorder awareness and advocacy. In the presence of about 20 other eating disorders professionals from the beach community, I certainly felt very humbled. The meal was awesome though, calamari and... what's that salad called with the mozzarella, tomato and olive oil? Shoot, I forgot. Well, that one, for starters. Then came the most delicious Salmon on top of an asparagus risotto... delish! The great thing about salmon (as opposed to steak) is that when you ask for it well-done, the chef usually does it. Hence, the reason I don't bother ordering steaks out anymore. :) My mom does it well-done, what's your problem Mr. Iron Chef??

Following lunch, I had the opportunity to spend an hour with the women of The Rose and The Victorian in the living room at The Rose. It was so nice and informal. I sat on a comfy chair with the 15-20 women and spoke for about 40 minutes about my personal struggles, where I've been, where I am, and where I'm going. I'm struck by a wonderful and humbling realization every time I speak about this issue to people... that it is not my skills, or my talent, or my accomplishments, or any other measure of greatness or worth that enables me to connect with these other women, or make any kind of impact in any way. It is my flaws. It is my weaknesses. It is my humanity. And truly, I feel, it is God, using that weakness. There is tremendous power in honesty, disclosure, and the admitting of insecurity and vulnerability. Imperfection. It was a wonderful talk with those women. We then had about 20 minutes of open discussion and Q and A, where I was able to get to know them a little bit better, and share our lives and passions and pitfalls. We wrapped around 3pm and I didn't want to leave! I did leave however, with such a feeling of hope, for them, for me, and for the triumph of love and understanding over moments when it seems like our personal demons are certainly going to drag us over the edge. As it had been a cloudy morning, I left the Rose and the sun had come out... a little reminder that above the clouds the sun was always shining, and that whatever is darkness, always comes to the light.

I sadly left Newport and the beautiful Balboa Bay Resort (I wanted to stay another night SO badly! Dude, that hotel was gorgeous.)... but happily headed to Garden Grove, near Anaheim to have dinner with very close family friends. The daughter in this family I got to reunite with, after not having seen her for, gosh, I don't know, probably 10 years! She now lives in San Diego, teaching, but all the time I knew her, she was a star basketball player. As this was my first time seeing her since my experience as Miss America, I had a great time sharing with her stories of my abysmal showings of athleticism, both as I threw out the first pitch at Tiger Stadium for last year's season opener, and attempted to guard Kid Rock at Curtis Grandersons' Charity Basketball Game. She laughed. I laughed. Mind you, I wasn't laughing at the time. At least I didn't have to wear a crown and try to shoot hoops. Now, THAT would have been embarrassing.

And then I drove home. Exciting, I know. And crashed on my couch. I feel so blessed to have a couch to crash on. Especially one that's super comfy with big green and teal pillows. Oh yeah, I talked about how much I love couches in my last entry. Sorry. :)

So after all that drivin' around, I decided to lay low today. Very excited for tomorrow though; I get to go shopping for a new dress for an neat little thing in the evening... the Melrose Place Premiere Party!!! Very excited, should be super cool. It's going to be at the Pacific Design Center on Melrose, and I can't wait! Hope there's a red carpet. :)

Ok, peace, chickens.



  1. How fun! I love blogs!! And, I think the salad's called caprese. :-) It was great seeing you, glad you've been able to enjoy some downtime since then! Enjoy!

  2. Hey Kirsten, you we on my heart and mind all day yesterday so I had to give you a shout, We are off the Newport, Oregon today for a bit of R&R. Glad to "see" you post Miss A. Open invite to Porland, girl. blessings
    Jean Rule

  3. Addiction is devastating but it doesn't have to be. Drug rehabilitation centers and sober living homes will help addicts with living sober again.