From Sex Appeal to Self Appeal:
Stripping Barriers to Recovery—Leaving Addiction, Returning to Body and Mind
What happens when a middle-aged scientist gets sober, then embarks on a second career—as a stripper?
This is the story of one woman’s sexual odyssey as she turns the microscope on herself and looks inward to determine what is real and what is not, what is merely dogma or childhood and cultural indoctrination, what her truth really is.
Uprooted and shuffled around in a military family, Susan turns to drugs and boys. Although she’s intelligent and beautiful outwardly, internally she’s chaotic, confused, hollow, and disconnected. At thirty-four she gets sober. Then, awakened to new feelings that had previously been stuffed through addiction and encouraged by an unconscious acceptance of the cultures’ fixation on appearance, sex, and money as ways to happiness and love, she is lured into working in the strip club to escape her drab twelve-year career in science. This is when “Vixen” is born and the most important scientific work of her life begins.
From Sex Appeal to Self Appeal chronicles Susan’s life as she struggles to grow her emotional maturity with a sober mind while her sexually-empowered carefree night persona is pitted against her good-girl, people-pleasing, repressed daytime self. She’s forced to confront her ignorance, immaturity, and loneliness while her recovering mind questions long-held thoughts and beliefs around body, sex, and relationships. Ultimately, she learns how to stop looking outside herself for love and acceptance and changes her life-long pattern of distraction. This new positive relationship with her own body and mind leads to a bond and marriage with one man in her late forties. Susan’s story is a powerful and compelling memoir about sexuality, self-respect, self-love, and self-appeal.
From Sex Appeal to Self Appeal: Stripping Barriers to Recovery—Leaving Addiction, Returning to Body and Mind, 354 pages, ©2014, Revised 2018