The new striped baby in our home managed to tread quickly on my heart, leaving four soft pawprints. I didn’t know my spirit and soul would be so open to her beguiling sweetness, curiosity and spunk. I didn’t know she would bring me back to my childhood, and even my lost mother, in a magical way.

This is not our Nina but it looks like her tiny, mighty self. Image from Unsplash.com.

Ifirst held a tiny, squirmy kitten when I was a young girl on Bedford Road in Dumont, New Jersey. …


A week ago Friday — the last day of Skippy’s spring break— we drove down to Sandy Hook with her and two pals. But life’s seas were churning, as they will, and I fell the next night on my recovery path. I picked myself up; the sun came back out. Here is the latest in the story series I started 1/31/21.

For an overeater and sugar addict, is splurging on pink jewelry much different from picking up a pink cupcake? Hilma earrings with glass and gold-plated beads, made by artisans in Guatamela. Mine are a lighter pink pattern. They have gold-plated posts (not wire loops, which can pull down earlobes) and, well, I love them.

I haven’t written a story in this sugar/overeating addiction recovery series since April 7 — that’s 11 days.

I wanted to, I meant to, it pressed on me, because I ran into a roadblock or two during that time…


I walked with grace through the Easter candy season, free and clear, no longing for kiddie candy and magic chocolate rabbits. Under my snug control top L’eggs pantyhose and pink Lilly Pulitzer dress, my belly was full after our Sunday holiday meal— a normal entree, with a big salad and steamed fresh asparagus. So what happened at 1:30 a.m. in the kitchen, three mornings later? I promised to write about my sugar/overeating addiction recovery journey in real time, as I rise and as I stumble, so here goes.

“Cloud Hugging” — a photograph of Pink Magnolias by Jerry LoFaro, from Fine Art America, an online art forum. (Hint: You can buy a print there.)

Years ago, I pitched a magazine story and my editors especially loved…


My bedtime reading last night was the April InStyle Melissa McCarthy cover story. I slowly turned glossy pages — no scrolling on my iPhone or MacBook. I looked forward to the rare, delicious treat all day. Melissa’s beautiful hair, lipstick, blanket jacket and pastel, puff-sleeve dress — plus her personality as an actress, and her real size— drew me in. When did you last buy a magazine?

Magazines are thinner and flimsy these days, and you can find so much for free on the web, from pie recipes to essays, pink couches to tea towels. Truly, IDK how much longer…


And I definitely do — in the mirror. This is #1, Buttercup, in my flower-titled series on sugar addiction.

The Evil Queen with mirror. Illustrations from the 1913 play “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Jessie Braham White, Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Edmond W Rickett and Charles Buckles Falls.

Here’s how I know I am an addict. I cannot turn away from my substance once I start — primarily if it’s sugary but also floury, baked buttery, chocolate, salty or sweet chippy, fried or doughy (or fried and doughy).

I might return to its lure, chase its hit, five minutes later, that night, the next day. For a string of days. A dead daisy crown of months. A tarnished silver necklace of years. And when I indulge in my substance…


I have a good, true sponsor in my 12-step program; a loving family; and supportive friends in my life and my group, but that Black King Pansy keeps unfurling and popping up at night. I try to uproot it — weed out the yen for sugar, banish the surrender to sweets — and instead trust my Higher Power. But all addictions can dig in. Ours is a world of trials and temptations, with a vending machine at every turn. This is the latest installment in the flower-titled story series I started 1/31/21.

Beautiful Black King Pansy image* from HERE. The flowers are edible. Fun fact for writers: Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. in Mansfield, Missouri is not too far from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum and Mark Twain National Forest. Copyright © Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.

Several people in my extended family are in…


Now I know — unwelcome advances happen everywhere, even in a donor lounge chair with your feet up in the air and a needle in your arm for an 80-minute-plus platelet donation. Or is it especially then, when you’re in a situation like this, in my case at the mercy of the staff and hooked up to a machine?

Blood bank image from HERE. Note, donors’ feet are elevated.

I don’t want to share too many details, because I do not want the man to get fired — I heard they are short-staffed at the blood donor centers, as it is, and donations are desperately needed.

So I’m in in…


I can weather the elements. I can bloom after winter darkness. I can seek beauty and light, and small creature comforts —fashion, makeup, flowers and coffee — can help me along the way. This is #34 in the story series I started 1/31/21.

Straight from her Nature Journal: Blue Vervain, watercolor, Annie Hurley, July 2020. Proud of our daughter — biologist, botanist, artist and good person — headed to University of North Florida in August for a two-year cyanobacteria research fellowship. This art brings beauty. It was not always that way. As I do, our beloved Annie has faced dark times.

I could fall flat on my face now, or curl up in donut position (a term I coined when our white Sugar furball curled up into a tight, tucked round on the sofa).

My heart is heavy over some sad realities in my life #atthismomentintime. They are a burden to hold.

But rather than retreating, I am…


I love Whole Foods and the farmers market but gee whiz, I’m thankful for these shortcuts — best things since sliced bread. Ooops, I just noticed that many are high in sugar or carbs, sigh. Yours truly, the snob who loved rich, complicated Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes (with beaten egg whites and melted butter) from The Cake Bible. (Since I’m in sugar/overeating addiction recovery, the only things on this list I now eat are numbers 2, 4, 6 and cauliflower 7.)

  1. Hungry Jack Complete Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix. My husband, Dan, brought this to Lily Bay State Park in Maine…


“How many times can a person hit bottom?” I once asked my longtime/current therapist. “That’s the question, right?” he said. I slipped and fell Monday night and hit bottom again, emotional scrapes, bruises and all. I was drowning in fear, which, allowed to fester, turned to anger. But now, things are better. Like a Climbing Rose, I continue to grow, and to seek the light. This is the latest installment in a series started on 1/31/21.

Climbing Rose, alcohol ink, 2021, Linda Silver. My talented cousin Lin has been producing beautiful art since girlhood in the Bronx. I’m proud to say that our good Dads were brothers — and our Italian grandma’s name was Rose.

I have two painful memories of hitting bottom — that hard, harsh reality that finally points you on a path to addiction recovery. Things…

Alice Garbarini Hurley

Magazine maven, craft coffee lover, legal guardian. Passionate about fashion and lipstick — though it may not look that way when I dash to the supermarket.

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