Love Rehab in 12 Steps: Find Parsley to go with your Risotto


heartsWhen I chose to get divorced last year, at first I felt like a failure. I felt embarrassed. I fell into an abyss of sadness. I wish someone had handed me Jo Piazza’s book, Love Rehab in 12 Steps. Reading her book seemed like I stepped onto a lifeboat of empathy, where they were playing the song, “You are not alone.”

love rehabNot only is the book well written but the engaging characters felt like familiar friends. When the main character, Sophie, starts LAA (Love Addicts Anonymous), she tells us: “God, I needed LAA. I needed something. I was getting jealous of a potential girlfriend of a man I had once shared a slice of banana cream pie with after lying to him at his Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I was so far from normal.” It made me laugh and I felt better.

I was swept into the enjoyable story and at the same time felt like I was going for a group therapy session. As more in-depth characters appeared and more of my issues were discussed, I continued to feel better and happier. Sophie talked to her friends about Sunday:

Sunday is a good day to make plans with other single women because it is such a bad day for them. On Sundays couples sleep in late, wake up and have missionary morning sex, and then brunch before heading to Home Depot to pick out new blinds or area rugs for the apartment they just moved into together. For singles, Sunday is waking up with a hangover, maybe a strange man in your bed, figuring out how to get said strange man out of your bed, and then sending a dozen text messages to your other still-single friends to see who wants to have brunch with you somewhere they have unlimited Bloody Mary’s because, one, you’re footing the bill; two, you need to get a little drunk to erase the pain of not having someone to go to Home Depot with; and, three, you woke up with a strange man in your bed and you are already bummed that he didn’t want to have brunch and hasn’t texted you.

The antics made me laugh and cry as I thought, “I resemble that remark.” I wish I had this book to read during my divorce or before I decided to get married! I would give it as a gift to anyone struggling with a relationship issue or who just loves a great story.

Sophie tells us she “was a love pusher. I just wanted my boyfriends to like me so much that I never really considered whether I liked them. It just felt good to make someone like me.” I loved when the characters were making their rules for LAA and talked about television. Remember, “We don’t live in an episode of Three’s Company. Rule 5: Thou shalt not believe the myths of the romantic comedy. Thou may only indulge for the snappy dialogue.” I do think watching romantic shows and movies leads to some of my unrealistic expectations.

I loved when Sophie’s friend, Dave, talked to LAA about men and what women needed to know to make better choices. She described him as “Dr. Phil meets Mario Batali:”

The guy you date next should just be the parsley to an already kick-ass dish of risotto. You’re great the way you are. Men are just the garnish…Use the information I have just shared with you to take the control back in your relationships. Don’t imagine yourself walking down the aisle on your first date. Do what we do. Imagine leaving in the morning after having great sex. That is my first homework assignment to you all.

Get ready for “Sex in the City” meets Elizabeth Kubler Ross as you are entertained and healed thru states of grief with humor and compassion.

As Sophie tells us, “Everyone is f-ked up when it comes to love and romance. If we can only realize that we’re all messed up in the same way, then we can get better.” She asks a friend: “Do you think I’m better?” Who asks her, “Do you think you’re better?” And Sophie says: “I think I’m a work in progress.”

My hope for 2016 is to move forward in recognizing that we are all works in progress and things get better when we share our stories. I am ready to take Dave’s advice and find some parsley to go with my risotto! Happy Valentine’s Day! I feel free and excited for the future, how about you?

What books inspire you? Find more of my trips and tales on my website, We Said Go Travel, or my YouTube Channel. Thank you! Lisa Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. She sailed the seven seas by cruise ship for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one and a quarter million views (1,250,000) on her YouTube channel. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries, named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blogs and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and has over 160,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and also ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on her own site, We Said Go Travel. From 2017 to 2020 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won three times and been a finalist fourteen times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards. She was also a finalist for four other categories including online journalist of the year, digital story for activism journalism with Ms. Magazine, educational reporting for Wharton Magazine and a broadcast lifestyle feature for KTLA TV in Los Angeles.    Niver won a 2019 NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award for one of her KTLA TV segments and was a finalist for articles published in both Ms. Magazine and Wharton Magazine. In 2018,  she was a finalist for stories in Smithsonian, PopSugar Fitness and the Saturday Evening Post. Niver won a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal and was a finalist for travel reporting. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, TODAY, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip.

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We Said Go Travel

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