Emily is the author of The Power of Forgiveness: A Guide to Healing and Wholeness. Emily is also a public speaker, forgiveness coach, and the Founder of the Forgiveness Academy.  Her mission is to share the power of forgiveness with each and every one of you.

Emily did not earn a Ph.D. or study human behavior for 20 years to get where she is today. She forgave. And, as a result, everything in her life transformed.

Fifteen years ago she was destitute. After losing everything, she had a moment of awakening. She could see her entire life—from cradle to grave—in front of her as if being played on a movie screen. At the time, she saw her life as a series of tragic events.

She saw the impact she was having in the world around her. She realizes she was going to die and as she imagined the pain her son and mother felt having to bury her, something deep within her changed. Instead of responding with the self-contempt, a deep sense of self-compassion emerged.

In that moment she vowed to not live a tragic life. She vowed first to survive, and later, to thrive.

Listen now as Emily takes us through her horrific battle with drug addiction and her amazing transformational journey into recovery.

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Listen to Emily’s story now!

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Questions and Answers for the Newcomer:

Omar:  What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?

Emily:  I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t believe a word of it, thought everybody was full of shit and I was different but I was introduced through the courts.

Omar:  At what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that aha moment in recovery when you accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol but for the first time had developed the hope that you could recover?

Emily:  We talked about my-aha moment back in 2002. That was a moment of awakening for me for sure. I thought I was going to die. The man that I had been dating tried to sell me to somebody else and I just had a moment of grace when I felt a sense of self-compassion and love that I’d never felt before through myself.

Omar:  Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to our newcomers, that you had read in early recovery or books that you would recommend now?

Emily:  I think that has a lot to do with your world view. What’s powerful for you is going to be what rings true for you. Eckhart Tolle was a big influence in my life. The Power of Now was a super important book in my life. The Tao Te Ching is a very powerful, probably one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. I think it really depends on what your fundamental beliefs are and just start there. I can tell you a really good academically powerful book that relates to forgiveness. It’s called Forgiveness is a Choice. It’s by Dr. Robert Enright. If you have to choose between that and my book, you definitely want to get my book. I’m just kidding. He’s a Ph.D. professor at the University of Wisconsin so his book is very academic but it’s a great book.

What I like about that book is that … And my book does this in chapter one, but he spends a lot of time really outlining what forgiveness really is and what it really isn’t. That might sound fundamental but it’s absolutely important because we meet resistance. We say I’m not going to do it because of this, because I’m condoning behavior or because it’s going to happen again and all these things, and we’re confusing concepts when we do that.

Omar:  Beautiful, beautiful. So, we have four suggestions for books, one of which is, of course, yours, The Power of Forgiveness.

Emily:  I would like to say this about that. I have quite a few people in my groups who have been in recovery for a long time and I’ve heard multiple people say it is additive to the process. It’s sort of a way … Somebody called it the missing piece and I don’t mean to imply there is a missing piece, but if there was a missing piece, my book is a very additive because it is written in a very similar way to the literature that people in the program are familiar with.

Omar:  What is the best suggestion you have ever received?

Emily:  Shut up and sit down. Yeah, shut up and listen. It’s tongue-in-cheek but it’s true because I’m my own worst enemy. I really get quiet, get quiet, no matter what it takes even if it is for one second. It’s going to be the most powerful second of your day if you just take a minute and shift from being the observed to being the observer. Whether that’s tuning into the birds singing in the background or watching your kids play or smelling dinner cooking on the stove, just that one moment, that’s the foundation of true recovery and healing.

Omar:  If you could give our newcomers only one suggestion, what would it be?

Emily:  Pay attention. Pay attention. Pay brutal attention. I mean it. What does that imply? Well, it implies that we’re paying attention to the changes that are taking place. We’re paying attention to how things in our experience are different than what other people say and we’re honoring that. We’re paying attention to what’s similar and we’re paying attention to what makes us feel better. We’re paying attention to how life is changing and how much safer we feel, those moments of opportunity that we didn’t see before. For a lot of people a part of paying attention is writing and if that’s a way to help you pay attention more, then I would recommend doing that too.


Contact Emily:

Website – Emily J Hooks

Twitter – @ForgiveAcademy

Facebook   The Forgiveness Academy

Recommended Books:

The Power of Forgiveness – by Emily J. Hooks

Forgiveness is a Choice – by Robert D Enright

Tao Te Ching – by Lao Tzu

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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step Anonymous program.