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Kim Vazquez

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Member Since: May, 2009

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Living in the Rear View Mirror: From Substance Abuse to A Life of Substance
by Kim Vazquez   

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Publisher:  Mill City Press ISBN-10:  1934937843 Type: 


Copyright:  May 1, 2009 ISBN-13:  9781934937846


What is the consequence of allowing the pain of your past to create your life today?

This compelling story is a case study in how our thoughts affect our reality. It shows how miracles happen when we embrace our own worth and become who we are meant to be.

What is the consequence of allowing the pain of your past to create your life today?

Kim's compelling story is a case study in how our thoughts affect our reality. It shows how miracles happen when we embrace our own worth and become who we are meant to be.

Even though she has tried to outrun the pain all her life, in 2006, Kim, a successful businesswoman, comes face to face with her haunted past. Almost twelve years have passed since her intense emotional pain had turned into crushing migraine headaches. She now finds herself not only addicted to painkillers and alcohol, but also dealing with a mind that refuses to leave her alone. She begins to pray ... to die.

Instead of dying, Kim experiences the miracle that brings her to sobriety. She finds herself very much alive and leading the life of her dreams. It is now that she receives the answer to her lifelong question, Why did all of this happen to a nice girl like me?

Kim's story is powerful and written with courageous honesty. It takes the reader into the mind of a woman struggling to leave her past behind and find her self-worth. It's through recovery that Kim finds spirituality and begins to walk the path into a life better than she'd ever imagined she could live.

This book is an inspirational must-read for anyone seeking to enrich the quality of his or her life.



Spiritual Bankruptcy

The life I created in my first two years of marriage was full of bitterness and resentment. Mind chatter ran my life, filling it with unmanageable emotions. Despite the antidepressant, things got worse, and it was no longer just about Dominic. Interactions with anyone could set me off. If my mom called, I got upset by her incessant demands. Why was it my job to take care of her? I could barely take care of myself. My solution was always the same: throw myself into work. Pretty soon, gigantic projects were overlapping each other, and with each new venture, I threw my mind a bone. Here, chase this for a while and stop yapping about all your little feelings. I was getting on my own nerves and I felt like my head was caving in, yet in my work life I remained organized and functioned at the highest capacity.

Push, push, push. I pushed myself forward. Having my own branch in the mortgage business and having employees had its pros and its cons. I felt empowered, but I also felt ultra-responsible, like I was expected to know everything. When those working for me were frustrated in their learning curves, I absorbed their upset and took it on as if their frustration was due to my shortcoming in training them. Dominic always wanted immediate answers to his questions. When he stood in the doorway of my office, I felt bullied by him. His lack of patience made him grumpy, and his energy extended into the room and made me feel crowded. When he was irritable, I couldn’t be near him because his energy enveloped mine.

I was always telling myself that I needed to get it together. When it came to taxes I needed to keep it together. I had established my corporation back in the days when I was working with Stephanie. At that time, I had no idea the mountain of paperwork that would come with that decision. Now I was the person in charge of corporate taxes, quarterlies, payroll, and accounting. When I opened my second business, it became the second branch of my corporation, and it brought a whole new mess of work in the form of retail taxes. I now had to learn how to submit quarterly returns with payments for sales tax due.

And, as if we didn’t have enough to do, we purchased four rentals in ten months. Suddenly I had what felt like four more jobs. With the rentals, we had the new complications of property managers and tenant phone calls as well as the costs of carrying these properties.

Finally, I was the designated project manager of our lives. Although Dominic helped me when I asked, he often told me he felt like it would be easier for me to do everything than for him to learn new things. While teaching him may have slowed things down initially, in the long run it would have paid off to share the workload. Of course, I see this in hindsight. But back then, burdened by responsibility, I blamed my feeling of being overwhelmed on him. A nervous breakdown nipped at my heels. If I’d felt merely overwhelmed before, now I was digging my own grave.

Each day when I sat down with dread at my computer, the first thing I asked myself was who wanted something from me today. Opening my Outlook program, I watched the e-mails stacking up. When I saw the names of friends, I hoped they were forwarded jokes so I could just delete them. If a friend’s e-mail required a reply, I felt pangs of guilt. It had been a while since I’d had time to truly communicate with anyone who wasn’t work related. Oh, I got by all right, sending quickie replies, but it was getting harder to sound connected and coherent. I couldn’t remember things I’d told them or what they’d previously told me. I was just a shell of a person hiding behind a computer screen. And social invitations made me feel even worse because I was too exhausted to go anywhere. I felt like I was letting everyone down, especially Dominic, who had plenty of energy to socialize.

Contributing to my exhaustion was my ill health. I was like a walking sponge, ready to absorb any germs that crossed my path. Trips to the grocery store invited the latest illness to ride home with me. On top of the recurrent sinus infections and migraines, I caught colds and the flu, but because I didn’t have time for illness, I ignored my body. When it screamed frantically for my attention, I looked for the quick fix that would shut it up.

Each morning, therefore, I woke up and took my Vicodin, quickly followed by my antidepressant. I continued taking Vicodin throughout the day. On the days when I had cramps, I took ibuprofen. If I had a cold, I’d take whatever cold medicine I found in the bathroom. The cocktail of pills I took met in my poor stomach and went to war with each other, producing acid indigestion, so I kept a bottle of Mylanta on my nightstand for the times the torch in my throat woke me up in the middle of the night. Of course, I also went to bed each night in the company of Ambien, Tylenol PM, or Nyquil.

One of the reasons I took these sleep aids was to try to prevent myself from waking up during the night. Strange things were happening to me. Whereas before I had tried to block my entrance into the paranormal, I now stood firmly inside the door. There was a progression occurring in my sensitivity to the other realms. Once upon a time, I had gone years between visions and psychic feelings, then there had been months between events, but now it seemed that the time had shortened to weeks. I often woke at night to see people standing by the bed. When I got up to go to the bathroom, my prayer was that God would please clear my path. I didn’t want to see any more spirits.

One morning before dawn, when the light was just rising outside, I awoke to see a little old woman standing near the head of the bed. I wasn’t afraid. I just looked at her until she faded away. When I got up, I phoned my mom. “There was an old woman standing next to my bed this morning,” I told her.

“Well,” Mom said, “tell me what she looked like.” When I described her, Mom said, “Oh, Kim, that’s alright. That’s your great grandmother. Nan’s mom.”

Okay, I thought, that’s why I wasn’t afraid. “Mom,” I said aloud,” you know this is happening a lot now. I can feel a taller presence, too. I know it’s Pop.” Pop was my name for my beloved grandfather who had passed away ten years earlier. In my heart I’d known that he’d been with me since his passing. I had felt that he was the one that visited me on 9/11.

“Yes, it probably is, ” my mother replied. “One time when I went to see a psychic she told me that Pop stays with you.”

The nighttime visitors were now prominent enough that Dominic began to share the experience. “Dominic,” I whispered to him as we lay in the dark, “can you feel that? There’s someone here.” Our bedroom was lit ever so slightly by the green glow of the smoke detector.

“Yes,” he whispered back.
“Are you freaking out?”
“No.” “Well, then who do you think it is?”

It seemed like I was freaking out more than he was. And I was about to experience the most mind-blowing contact of all.

I went to the mall alone on a Friday, ready to hit up two stores quickly and get back to work. A weekday was the only time I would venture into the mall. The weekend crowds and their energy were too stimulating. I couldn’t enjoy a shopping experience. As I exited the escalator and turned right, walking toward the Gap, I caught sight of a tall old man. A warm tenderness flushed through me. Aw, he’s so cute. It was darling the way his lightweight tan jacket matched his cap. What kind of hat is that? I wondered. It looked just like the ones Pop used to wear, the kind of hat you can wad up in a pocket. It was the same lightweight material as his jacket. When the old man saw me looking at him, he looked directly into my eyes. Feeling full of love, I smiled at him. He looked like my Pop. Did I see a little flicker of confusion in his eyes? That’s what Pop’s eyes had looked like for so many years before he passed away from Alzheimer’s. Concern came over me. I looked around. Where are his people? I wondered. He can’t possibly be here alone. He’s so old. Why he must be in his eighties. But he was alone, and he kept moving, very slowly, and he walked right past me. As I continued in the opposite direction, I could barely resist the urge to go back and speak to him. I didn’t know what I’d say. Maybe, I thought, I could tell him how much I’d enjoyed seeing him and how much he reminds me of my grandfather.

As I entered the food court, I looked around, people-watching, but still absorbed in my thoughts. It was noisy, and I tried to block the sound. When I glanced at the tables where groups were eating, my eyes settled on a person sitting alone. I stopped walking. No way! Tucked away from the other tables, a man in a tan hat was sitting alone. I stood there, gaping, attempting to process what I was seeing. I was staring at Pop again. But I had just passed him walking the other way. It wasn’t possible for him to get to the food court before I did!

Go talk to him! I told myself. You can ask him if he’s alone or if he needs help finding his family. You want to sit with him so bad. Why won’t you go over there? I remained frozen, standing smack-dab in the middle of the food court. It was like I’d gone into a standing coma. People must have walked around me, but I was unaware of anything but my thoughts and that old man. I was about to start crying, and it was going to be a torrential downpour. Finally, I snapped back to my senses and into pride. I realized what I must look like to the many observers that were bustling through the food court. Move! I said to myself. You have to get out of here.

I rushed home and called my mom to tell her what had happened. I was filled with regret because I’d wanted so much to speak to him, but I’d been a coward. Why was this bothering me so much?

A month passed, and my mother called me with her own fantastic story. “Kim, I went to see a psychic today, and I told her your story about the old man in the mall. The psychic said that Pop came to her and said it was truly him that day. In person.”

“Oh, Mom, that would be so easy for her to say. But it proves nothing.” Although I had wondered if the old man had been Pop, I was skeptical.

“Well, can you do something for me then?” Mom asked. “Can you look at the calendar and tell me what date you saw him? The psychic told me that Pop wants you to look at the date.”

Grabbing the calendar, I backtracked to the Friday I’d gone to the mall and read the date to her. She gasped.

“What?” I asked. “What is it, Mom?”
“Honey, that’s the date your Pop died.”

Extended excerpts are available on the author's website.

Professional Reviews

Excellent Life Changing Story
"Living in the Rear View Mirror: From Substance Abuse to a Life of Substance"

Author Kim Vazquez has such a special writing style that before you know it you are right into the middle of her world. I felt I was actually there with Kim as she was telling her story. I could relate to her pain and sorrow, struggled with her numerous attempts to find love and happiness, and cried out loud with her as she finally found a way to overcome her troubles.

This young lady tried just about anything and everything to bring peace into her life. When it seemed like she found it in a different man, job, party or song... she smacked right into a brick wall dragging you along with her. You realize what she is searching for and that keeps you earnestly turning each page to find out if, when and how she actually does find it.

Once I started reading Kim's book I could not put it down. I am a pretty fast reader but I found myself slowing down to a crawl. I felt like I just met a new friend. She does not hold anything back and tells it exactly how it is.

Kim is not afraid to share her deepest secrets, fears, strengths and weaknesses. She even is willing to introduce you to her classic inner-voice demon type characters she calls, "Anxiety" and the "Belittler". Many readers will relate to these cridders.

You will not be able to walk away from this book without thinking you have actually known Kim all of your life. She has an extraordinary way of finding just the right words to express herself and keep you hooked.

Kim Vazquez is not just a gifted writer... she is a gift!

I would highly recommend this book to not only people struggling with substance abuse issues but to anyone who finds themselves on a road leading to nowhere, hoping to find someone who is willing to lend a helping hand by example.

Her story touches on so many other important issues besides just Kim's substance abuse problem. That is only the tip of her iceberg. It is the one everyone can see, feel and taste. However, there are more deep-rooted issues Kim faces and ultimately learns how to overcome.

Kim reminds me of the typical biblical "Prodigal Son" (daughter, in Kim's case). Once she "finally" comes to her senses she knows enough to turn away from her addictions and... Well, you will just have to read the book to find out the rest of the story.

This book is not religious... which is odd. In fact, she coyly stays away from anything even close to being preachy. She even admits in the beginning of the book she was never a big follower of God. However, the spiritual struggle that ensues throughout the book screams out clearly you know she is either cleverly just pulling your leg or trying to foolishly kid herself.

Kim does mention she experienced angelic encounters, however she does not dwell very long on them. She allows the reader to get so entwined in her life that you have to hang in there with her knowing the end has to be something special. Read it and you will see what I mean.

Great job, Kim. I wish I had half your writing abilities. If I did, I would be a best-selling author, which I know someday you will be. Please do not ever stop writing. I truly feel you will touch millions of lives with your books and specialty practice.

"Living in the Rear View Mirror" by Kim Vasquez will take you on a journey through one woman's quest to find happiness and fill her feelings of emptiness. She attempts to fill the void through various avenues like men, career, materialism, and ultimately drug and alcohol abuse. What she did not know was that the very thing she was looking for was already in her possession in the form of a very special and spiritual gift.

The book is compelling and impossible to put down. The descriptions of her thoughts and various situations are so graphic, gritty and real that I would cringe in recognition. However, at no time is it a voyeuristic glamorization of substance abuse a la "A Million Little Pieces". Her story traverses through her life's highs and lows, ultimately reaching her breaking point. While her breaking point is not as dramatic as ending up on skid row, it was low enough for the average person to envision that only a few choices separate her fate from one's own.

The author is able to share her lessons from her experiences with an insight and clarity that would appeal to all readers, not only those affected by substance abuse. A captive read that leaves one very satisfied, yet hungry for the author's next writing.

Courageous personal testament of finding oneself
Hang on for an enjoyable ride. This personal revelation is not for the faint of heart, but if you want to be entertained and uplifted with a frank and courageous personal story, read this book. The writer is willing to share her private and painful journey that rings true for many with co-dependant relationships. Finding the truth in relationships from family to partners and friends is shared in a true to life, and heartwarming frankness. The humour is refreshing lightening the whole read throughout. Her personal discovery of herself leads to a beautiful connection to Spirit. Truly an incredible read and highly recommended.

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