I Wish You Community....

Richie on the left with new friends in Brooklyn

By Richie Crowley

I’m here on a couch on the 21st floor of a building in Brooklyn watching the sun’s hairline disappear behind the New York City skyline. It’s Gloaming. And I’m reflecting on the contradiction of this concrete community.

It’s not just in New York that this exists, but it’s glaringly obvious here. Surrounded by people all day, there are opportunities for so many small but meaningful human interactions.

But when did we collectively decide not to talk to strangers? Since when do we not automatically have each other’s back? Since when do we not know our neighbors?

This weekend I experienced the depth of friend groups here in New York, people who love each other and have been connected for 10+ years, but still I sit back and wonder, why do so many of us only exhale into community once we are behind the locked door of a familiar apartment?

For some, it may be to protect ourselves. But for so many of us, it’s an unfortunate default.

What would an alternative look like?

• • •

Community, known to be the secret of longevity, has become a brunch buzzword distributed at the end of weeknight yoga classes in which we don’t know the name of the person on the mat next to us. But community isn’t an in-the-moment-only commitment, we must enroll in the practice of nurturing it on every level.

Many champion community as if it were a trend. Championing it, like me currently, in a digital environment: creating content from within walls that separate us from our housemates, within a space that shelters us from neighborly interactions.

But it’s the convenience of digital environments that make this construction of community the path of least resistance. Email, text, phone calls and facetimes have allowed us to be present for the intimate moments of each other’s lives with less effort than the methods used by generations before.

But, does this replace sharing a physical presence? And does community only apply to those we know?

For me, community is both. Community is created with each stranger that I smile at. Each driver that I wave to as they allow me to pass in front of them. Community is also sharing writings, answering every text and interacting through social media. It’s an effort, and it’s important.

So, am I asking you to decline phone calls and demand in-person interactions? No.

Am I asking you to introduce yourself to the person practicing next to you? Maybe.

Still, I’m asking for more.

• • •

Expand your community.

Imagine if every street you walked down, you saw a familiar face and smiled rather than loading the latest posts on Instagram. If at every grocery store you knew not only the clerks but the floor attendants. If you stopped in at a local shop, just to say hello.

Community is not only formed to have a support group to share defeat and celebration and it’s not a list of names saved for holidays cards and save the dates. Yes, community has these small groups inside them, the keepers of secrets, but community is also the humans who exist around us.

I use smiling at strangers, meeting eyes, and introducing myself to create a feeling of safety. To spread this peace of mind that we are all together. And as I bike across the country I think, what if everyone pursued community in the broader sense of the word?

• • •

The day I left Canton, my friend Sue Bonnano sent me off with a meditation that followed phrases to be focused at the people I would meet and communities that I would enter. We repeated:

  • I wish you peace.

  • I wish you safety.

  • I wish you health.

  • I wish you happiness.

If we wished these upon every person we met, how would that change the world?

Maybe that is my ask.

Richie. Human.

On Friday I visited The Campaign Against Hunger in Brooklyn, NY where we were able to donate 400 Veestro meals. To date, we have raised over 1,000. If you have donated a meal, thank you, you are truly changing this world through action.

" I am still a shopping addict "


“I still am a shopping addict”.! Amen! This is just an example of one of many lines that I could relate to in Elton John’s new movie Rocketman.

I loved it, it was absolutely fabulous. Taron Egerton’s portrayal of Elton was marvelous. The acting, music, and dancing that portray Elton John’s life and his battle with addiction was brilliant! If you are battling the disease or one of your loved ones is, this movie is a true example of how awful it can get and how exquisite it can be on the other side.

As an addict myself living in long term recovery, this movie was a perfect example of how atrocious addiction can get.

Living in active addiction is horrible. Especially when you know it is killing you and you just can’t stop using! I cannot express in words how heinous it is for someone experiencing this. The only way I can describe it is living in pure HELL!  

I’m not a rock star and I’m not famous but I am an alcoholic and I remember feeling like I wanted to die. I remember thinking that booze was my only friend, and I remember feeling like if I can’t drink then how am I going to manage life! Booze was my best friend and my GOD! I cried at the end of the movie because I could relate so much to what he went through.

Hitting bottom is personal. Human beings are diverse and each person has their own journey and own awareness. One may have one bad experience with drugs and alcohol and that is their bottom while another may lose everything they love and still not hit “bottom”. 

We are all exceptional in one way or another but how we experience things is different. Love is the one feeling we all long for.

I believe that if more people could speak openly about their addiction then things could change!

I personally applaud Elton John for his honesty, strength and humility in sharing his life on the big screen for all to witness. My hope is that this movie helps people by giving them courage to ask for help, to know that they are not alone. To know that wow, Elton John asked for help and he got better. He still has fun, has a loving relationship, a family and is SOBER! He is living life one day at a time without drugs or alcohol.

If you are you are battling addiction and you feel lost and alone please go see this movie. I promise it will give you some HOPE!

Please don’t let your bottom be death. Have courage and reach out!




Weezie Shares a Personal Letter

Every year during the holidays, I write a letter to our employees. No matter how much our family business grows in terms of its employees, we always maintain the spirit and closeness of a family business. This past holiday I chose to share my story and give a message that is very close to my heart. Some are aware of my journey, others were not. I did not send it hoping for accolades, but rather to remind people that we are all human. This disease does not discriminate. If I touched one person out of 200, I am living my dream. Xo

I have mentioned in the past my admiration of Oprah Winfrey.  I spoke about it in a past Christmas letter reflecting on my attendance at her “Live your Best Life” tour.  Unfortunately I didn’t walk away applying all that I thought I had learned from her.  No matter how many words may have slipped through the cracks, I continue my devotion to her by purchasing her magazine monthly only to read the last page titled “What I know for Sure”.  For some reason this page always centers me, motivated me, and speaks to me.  Sometimes in a whisper, sometimes a thump on the head.  This month she spoke about how we, the world, is saturated in negativity.  She said… WE. ARE. IN. TROUBLE.  This world today is far worse than it’s ever been and we need to come together.  Come together with respect.  Stop the hatred, the blaming.  I love her line…With hatred, no side wins.  In the end we all lose.  Hate is potent, but so is kindness.  And goodness, and grace.  Use yours generously.

 On December 27th I will be celebrating my anniversary for one year sober.  A true gift that didn’t seem like much of a gift in the beginning.  In addiction, we all come in different packages.  My package is Sober, not ashamed.  Others with this unfortunate disease choose to hold it closer to their heart, some choose to remain anonymous.  I never judge the path people take, I just know mine works for me.  The silver lining in my journey has been the gift of service.  The gift of being able to be sober and help others win in the tough fight of sobriety.  I now go to a Prison and speak every other week.  Not because I don’t know what to do with myself after a long day and long commute, but because I want to make a difference.  I sit there amongst 30-40 inmates, tell my story and give them a “voice” they so desperately want to have.  I give them hope and help them figure out the path they need to take when they get out – and most importantly, assure them that they don’t have to walk it alone.  There are some who are so angry that they can’t even talk, others who are so grateful that they are given a second change, but they are all scared to death that they may not end up having the life they thought for sure they were deserving of.  Last week a woman spoke up and said that she was missing Christmas with her kids, missing the decorations, being with family.  She said there is only one window there, and out that window there is a little strip of grass and a sliver of the sky.  She never realized how much she appreciated  nature until it was taken from her sight.  I told her to think of that little sliver of light and blue skies when she gets out.  Maybe in a moment of a potential bad decision that visual will act as a whisper and keep her from returning. 

The bottom line is that we all need each other.  Without support, life’s challenges can be too overwhelming.  They become so much bigger than ourselves that we give in, give up.  I know that feeling.  Do not underestimate the power you have over anyone.  I leave the prison every time praying that maybe just maybe, my message got through to just ONE person, ONE life.  We all have our own cross to bear, our own pain, our own struggles.  We lose relationships, marriages, friendships, worry about finances, our futures, sick loved ones, and grieve over loved ones that pass.  And when it all seems like too much – the answer is right next to you.  A stranger, a friend, a loved one – someone who understands.  Someone that doesn’t judge you, that cares unconditionally.  Service comes in all different sizes - find the size that fits you.

What I know for sure this year is that despite life’s road blocks and detours, I have never been happier.  Not because I have all that I want, but because what I do have is the greatest blessing of all. Gifts are abundant if you choose to look at them instead of only seeing what you don’t have.  This season – give yourself to those who need you.  Let someone know you care.  The rewards are endless.

Thanks Weezie!


A story about how I got very upset being a woman in long term recovery.

Recently my husband had to control me and my actions after listening a to medical professional’s lecture on the opioid epidemic in our country.  He didn’t have to physically constrain me, but he definitely had to verbally and sternly look at me and say “I don’t think you need to say anything, this is their event and you are a guest. Please stop”.  I heeded his request.

But, I had to share my thoughts in the hopes that this may help just one person get sober, or a family member or loved one to understand in layman’s terms what is feels like to be an alcoholic/addict.

Addicts are many, many different things, just like every human being that has a life-threatening disease.  Adjectives that could be used to describe these people are the same words that many people could use to describe any other disease.  My frustration begins when someone tries to put labels and general terms to describe alcoholic/addict.

For example, I WANT TO SCREAM AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS when someone uses the word SENSITIVE to describe an addict. Isn’t anyone who is in pain sensitive?  Yes, some addicts and alcoholics are sensitive, and some aren’t.  To use a general across the board word to describe an alcoholic/addict is inaccurate.

I believe health care professionals using the blanket statement, “the alcoholic/addict does not want to be judged” is insane!  Who in their right mind wants to be judged?  I don’t believe that anyone wants a stranger/friend/family member to review one’s behavior and then proceed to label them as one thing or another?  Yes, addicts/alcoholics don’t want to be judged but neither does anyone else.  We need to sharpen our interpretations and observations to come up with more valuable solutions to helping those battling this horrendous disease.

I love, love, love being an alcoholic!  You may be scratching your head thinking, “Why in the world would anyone ever say that?”  The reason I say it is because if I had never gotten clean and sober (meaning not using drugs or alcohol) I would never have learned what loving a stranger meant or what it felt like to just be grateful.  These words describe the way I feel in my heart.  Society has gotten so far away from love and gratitude that we have become a society of pessimists, complainers and a downright miserable lot!  The only reason I can say this is because at a time I was just like that!  Nothing was ever enough or good enough!

Addicts and Alcoholics are human beings that have lost their way.  Many people prior to getting introduced to drugs and alcohol had successful lives in one way or another.  Science tell us that the disease of addiction is genetic and when people get introduced to these spirits they change.  They fall in love!  This is the only way I can describe it to someone who doesn’t have this disease.  When you fall in love with a person, you never stop thinking about the person you love.  You want more and more of what you love, the person you love takes you!  Literally takes all of you!

Personally, after I had my first drink it was love at first sip.  Unfortunately, this love zapped all of my control, my thought processes, my everything! It took all things that were imperative to having a happy, successful life.

The love affair with drugs and alcohol always ends tragically!  Or the person finally breaks up with the love of their life (alcohol and drugs) and surrenders to something outside of themselves.  A person, someone that can help the addict/alcoholic be put back together physically and emotionally.  Like the Tin Man, The Lion and the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.  Addicts and Alcoholics need a new heart, brain and courage.

The love affair with drugs and booze is what needs addressing and you cannot look at the addict/alcoholic with blanket statements and adjectives.  Each individual need's one-on-one help, especially in the first 90 days.  A broken heart takes a lot of time to heal.  Generalization is what we use to treat disease in this country and it just won’t work with addiction.  This disease goes deeper emotionally than other diseases.  Deeper meaning that it hits our core; our moral and ethical core. We are not bad people, we are people who need love, kindness and patience. All of these things are things that are freely given to people we love.  We are not taught how to love unconditionally.  The addict/alcoholic needs, unconditional love, and that my friend is a very, very, very, hard thing to put a price tag on.

At the event….

At the event….


Bye bye Summer 2018! 

Bye bye Summer 2018! 

Hello My Friends,

It has been a long time since I’ve written a blog and that is mainly because I have been focusing my efforts on daily vlogs, https://www.instagram.com/p/Bmnu4Z3hQWv/embed/?autoplay=1 that are on the bottom of my website at www.busylivingsober.com, Facebook at Busy Living Sober and on Instagram at busylivingsober.  Not to mention I have been getting all of my children ready for college. Henry, my last one, leaves Thursday and I am feeling very emotional. Feelings aren’t facts but they sure can mess with one’s day.

This fall will be the first time in 22 years that I won’t have a child in my home. No more back to school forms to fill out, no more after school sports, no more making sure that I have enough food in house and I have something prepared for dinner. Lunch! No more lunches to pack and my list could go on and on! I know that I am not the first or the last Mom that will go through this but for the moment I feel a little lost.

Emptynesthood (my made-up word) is a new phase for me and rather than sitting here feeling sorry for myself I am going to get BUSY!

I am going back to school to educate myself and am happy to report that I will start seeing clients again. Though I have a lot of knowledge about addiction, it will no longer be my main concentration. I want to help people who are going through changes in their lives and need a little helping hand to get to the next phase.

Busy Living Sober will remain a resource for people who are having a hard time with addiction.

Today we have collaborators that contribute helpful tips.

I am so honored to announce that already this Summer we have had one contributing article, Recovery Tips For Professionals: Seeking Help Without Harming Your Career by Eva Benoit. Help.org http://busylivingsober.com/how-am-i-staying-sober/ and TuckSleep have also submitted some very helpful information that you can find under the heading Helpful Tips. If Busy Living Sober can help one person who is battling this horrendous disease of addiction, then we are making a difference.

If you have some ideas or like to write and would also like to contribute to the site, please send it to bizzy@busylivingsober.

So please keep checking Busy Living Sober regularly for new information and tips to help you get or stay sober.

I will not be too sad in the next coming months but if you want to reach out I would love it!

Keep getting busy living sober and sober not ashamed!


Parents testimony after working with Bizzy

“My Wife and I worked with Elizabeth for an entire week identifying the appropriate facility for our 20 year old son.  Her compassion, focus, commitment and caring response resulted with our son accepting a 45 day in-patient facility for his recovery.  We would not have achieved this quick result without Elizabeth’s expertise with this disease and her dedicated work.  We would highly recommend and refer anyone that needs help with recovery to consider working with Elizabeth.”

An anonymous poem

Damn you alcohol, you took so much

For I allowed you to be my number one crutch

 I loved you because you helped me deal with my pain

But over time you were robbing me of being sane

 You crept in at a slow pace

But quickly took over to where I couldn’t save face

 You made me do things for which I am not proud

Quietly sneaky, passing out, I did not need to be loud

 Progressive you were for sure

My actions were too much for many to endure

 A problem, not me, I’ve never been in trouble with the law

But to loved ones I hurt, things were quite raw

 Parties, parties, let’s go to a bar and drink

No, not me, drink alone and pour down the sink

 No one will know what’s up

Until somehow, they always found the cup

 Alcoholics are bums on the street

Never so many wise alcoholics did I ever think I’d meet

 I’m a winner, and achiever, there’s nothing I can’t beat

You’re the reason my life turned into deceit

 Many a nights of drink, I thought I fooled them all

But did I? I can’t remember many nights at all

 My kids were fearful mom and dad would divorce

Only a matter of time, before it would be the course

 You let me get away with it a night or two

But in the end that’s when it dropped; the other shoe

 It took a long time for me to finally see

I was hurting so many more than just me

 You want me dead

I finally have that in my head

 You had such a hold on me

That I just could not see

 Putting down the drink is only a part

Getting sober comes from the heart

 It works if you work it so they say

Something I didn’t practice back in the day

 Through AA and my higher power

I will no longer allow you to make me cower

 Day by day is the way for me

And slowly my loved ones will see

 I am stronger than you at least for today

And that is how I will keep you at bay