Breathe Again Magazine: Karen you are on a journey. You have been on a journey for a while. You have written several books,founded a welfare to work program in California. You own a restaurant and now you are in the process of releasing the follow-up to your first book, which was Keep Showing Up. Lady what haven’t you done?
Karen Justice Guard: That’s great. It is a great, great question. You know, life is such a journey and I think God just keeps giving us more lessons to move forward. And I just keep showing up for the next lesson to just be renewed and just keep moving forward, so you know, God just keeps moving me forward to the next lesson.
Breathe Again Magazine: Amen, and you just keep showing up. That’s good.
Karen Justice Guard: Yes
BAM:Who is Karen Justice-Guard ?. I know you are this beautiful blonde bombshell out there in California but tell us who you really are?
Karen Justice Guard: Well you know, I think that was maybe one of my problems. We have this outer shell and people, places, and things get us lost with the outer shell. At 50, I discovered I had one thing to change, which was everything.
I could dance, I was an entrepreneur, and I was beautiful on the outside. But I have these demons and that would be like ,”same movie, different phase” . I kept taking things on but it was never enough, I couldn’t do enough, and I wasn’t enough, and I just ended up being a people pleaser. The new book I wrote talks about anger, justification, forgiveness, addiction and so much more. You have to peel away the anger.
Breathe Again Magazine: Yes
Karen Justice Guard: And you have to peel it away. Here is an example; I am an identical twin. When we came out, I had a lazy eye and kind of smashed face, so everybody wanted to hold the pretty baby. And people would come up and say, “Can w hold the pretty baby? . Well, I made a decision at a very young age that we live in a cruel world. I made a decision at that age that I would b a people pleaser.
When I was 8 years old , in the early 50’s , I can remember being spanked at school. It wasn’t like today, where you can’t touch a child. The teacher came up when we were doing vows, took a pencil and poked me in the ar. I remember running to the principal’s office. Blood was coming down my arms so bad they called my mother. Well, my mother had agoraphobia and my dad was alcoholic, so they told me to get back to the class. There was no one to protect me .I remember running all the way home. Years later, I ended up being a victim of domestic violence.
Breathe Again Magazine:With no one to protect you
Karen Justice Guard: Right. And through those times you know Dr. Phil says that tragedy like that will set a child back, you know, when something that traumatic happens, it will change a person. I shut down learning because it was in front of my peers and were doing vows when this happened. So, we have to go back to our childhood.
Breathe Again Magazine: I’d like to go back to when you talk about the inner demons you battled because people only saw the beautiful blonde bombshell. They saw you being successful, they saw you writing books, and they thought you had it all. But inside, you were battling something and no one knew about the inner demons you had to deal with. You’ve been way up and you have also been way down.
Karen Justice Guard: Right.
Breathe Again Magazine: Talk to me about… I read your first book, “Keep Showing Up.” You had to overcome many things. You did it…But then you went back. Talk to me about that.
Karen Justice Guard:Exactly. You see, my family came from a lot of generations of child molestation . No therapy and things talked about, and alcoholism,it wasn’t like it is today.
Breathe Again Magazine: Right.
Karen Justice Guard: I grew up around so much sexuality that by the time I got into drugs at 18 or 19, I was just numb. I had to go back and interview my family and that’s the second book/ workbook that I just wrote.
Breathe Again Magazine: Wow!
Karen Justice Guard: I had to figure out what happened to me. How could I be so successful? Why I could help the world? Why I have all these addictions? How come I got into food addiction? How come I got into drug addiction? I could be so blind and have this reading problem? I just kept messing up. What was my problem? You know, what was going on with me . I had to go back and figure out what was missing. I had to peel away all what was going on, and understand the generation curse …and understand where it came from.
Breathe Again Magazine: So Karen do you believe when you wrote the first book you were not truly healed? You wrote in your introduction, “It was a draining experience to revisit all the horrors that I have been through and happened and that I went to the dark side again. In fact, it really did make me kind of ill. You see, since the first book I did recreate the situations that were once harmful to me again. That was confirmation that there was definitely something wrong and I knew that I needed to start over. This book allowed me the opportunity to show the humble human side of having to admit the fault and get it again.” So, do you think that because you went back because you were not truly healed from the first time?
Karen Justice Guard: Absolutely, and because God was in the center of it.
Breathe Again Magazine: So what was in the center of it?
Karen Justice Guard: The ego and easing God out. I would take my will back, take the credit back, and then I would debut again, and then I get living again, and I become human again. It was all about me and all about money, and it was about all the things again. People, places, and things – I had to have my power back.
Breathe Again Magazine: I think that is so dynamic that you brought that up because it is so true, so many of us go through that circumstance. We take God out of it. We throw him in when we want Him to be in it. I always tell people, “You cannot pimp God. You cannot take Him off the shelf and use him when you feel as though you want to use Him, but then when you don’t want to play with Him any longer, you put him back on the shelf. It don’t work like that. ”
Karen Justice Guard: Peeling away the layers is very important. And just because we do the inventory process, and just because we show up on a daily basis, doesn’t mean that we are cured. Let me give you an example. 12 years ago, I was down in Santa Cruz and I picked up a neighbor, he had a swollen stomach, smelled like alcohol. This was before I was even know that I had hepatitis C. “I said you smell like alcohol.”
He goes, “Yeah, I am dying of Hepatitis C.” and I said, “But you smell like alcohol.” I remember noting to myself, “How could you drink alcohol if you are dying of hepatitis C?” I said to myself, ” I would never do that.” 11 years later, I ended up drinking when I had my sober living housing program. I was selling real estate, had a ride and was making a ton of money. All of a sudden my liver disease attacked my kidneys. I got up to 201 LBS, it attacked my kidneys, my cholesterol went to 300. I went on chemo, I almost died. I knew God was disappointed. He took everything away from me. The market crushed and I lost a million dollars of the property. I was humiliated. I ended up in a crack house.
Breathe Again Magazine: Jesus!
Karen Justice Guard: Two months it took me to realize that it wasn’t the crack that got me there, it was alcohol because I was in a blackout.
Breathe Again Magazine: Wow!
Karen Justice Guard: That was my bottom, that was my bottom, and I lost it all. I was humiliated and that was my bottom. After all what I had done, everything that I had worked for all those years, and that’s where it took me. And in the last four and a half years I knew I was no on God’s side anymore, and that’s why I had to turn my life around.
Breathe Again Magazine: Yes.
Karen Justice Guard: I mishandled his gift.
Breathe Again Magazine: My, my.
Karen Justice Guard: And you know what? I knew that I didn’t shine in God’s light but it also says in the Bible that when get back on the right side, God will give back 10 fold. That’s not why I did it. I knew I had no integrity. I knew I didn’t look good in God’s eyes. And I knew for the first time in my life that I needed to walk right and I needed to have integrity and I that I needed to recast my life with the better light, not a dim light, not a bright light but a shining light, and that I needed to do everything different. So in the last four years I started to do things different.
Breathe Again Magazine: Karen I really want you to encourage someone right now that feels like they keep doing the same thing over and over again and they know it’s wrong. Encourage that individual that has not forgiven themselves but wants to move forward.
Karen Justice Guard: I would just tell you the problem in front of you isn’t as big as the power behind you and the power behind you is God.
Breathe Again Magazine: Amen.