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Island Shelter recounts the childhood, young adulthood and current life experiences of Karen Kiaer, a woman who overcame great odds to recover from the disease of alcoholism. Daughter, wife, mother, and now grandmother, every woman who struggles with addiction and who self medicates yet continues to pretend everything is under control will learn the valuable insights that helped transform Karens attitudes through painful personal traumas, and out the other end of a very long journey the journey of alcohol recovery. After losing her husband to cancer, Karen finds herself alone with three young boys to raise, no job, no money, multiple lawsuits, fears of the mob seeking retribution against her husband for non payment of loans, an out of touch, insensitive mother, and a notice that her beautiful island home has been placed on the public auction block. The nurturing tenderness and intimacy of a nine year relationship with another woman may have helped her back to psychic wholeness, but in the end, for addicts, if the relationship is not meant to be forever, the sexual behavior simply becomes another addiction, another way to fill up the hole of separation and emptiness. All of these things Karen does to escape, avoid, and numb out the stash of fears and pain that has been embedded deep in her cells for decades, like chiggers that fester and brood until someone finally puts a match to them. Her journey shows us how, when faced with adversity and uncertainty, the battle between the higher self and the destructive self is fierce. What helps get her through the cravings and temptations is her love of gardening which quickly becomes a physical and meditative outlet. An art major in college, she had always found joy in the creative process, so painting and pottery become new ways for expressing her creativity in moments without pain. The good news of all of this is that while we addicts may still have a lot of work to do, we are nowhere where we used to be. This generations cycle of abuse and addiction has been broken. Theres no need to numb out anymore youve learned how to love yourself, all of you, including the bad. And with that love comes peace.