If you aren't familiar with Doyle's story, here is a quick summary: as a young girl, Glennon became bulimic. As she grew older, she also started abusing drugs and alcohol. She unexpectedly became pregnant, which snapped her into wanting to get sober. She married the baby's father, Craig, and they went on to have three children together - Chase, Tish and Amma. She built a life for herself as a Christian mommy blogger and developed quite a following. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until a single moment rocked her world. At a press event, Doyle met soccer super star Abby Wambach and they exchanged a glance that they both describe as life changing. Now, in present day, Glennon is divorced from Craig, married to Abby, and has just released this book, Untamed.
The book is part self-reflection, part motivational speech, and part soap box. Though there were definitely moments that felt a bit cringey, overall I was inspired by Doyle's bravery and conviction.
I knew I was going to like her when she openly admitted she loves reality TV. She writes, "I am lying on the couch, enjoying my favorite pastime, which is watching very bad television. I have been sober for eighteen years, and during that time every single one of my painkillers has been taken from me. I no longer drink, do drugs, binge and purge, snark incessantly, or even shop compulsively (often). But I can promise this: They will take Bravo and HGTV from my cold, dead hands."
Ha! That made me laugh out loud.
There's a chapter on changing yourself to meet other people's expectations and Doyle shares how she used to think there were so many things wrong with her. She explains, "I had been deceived. The only thing that was ever wrong with me was my belief that there was something wrong with me. I quit spending my life trying to control myself and began to trust myself. We only control what we don't trust. We can either control our selves or love ourselves, but we can't do both. Love is the opposite of control. Love demands trust."
And speaking of love, the most heartwarming sections of the book are about Glennon and Abby falling for each other. When they meet at a press event, Abby is sharing how she got a DUI and she's worried it's ruining her legacy. There's a publisher who wants Abby to write a book and she's unsure if she should. Feeling giddy with excitement, Doyle thinks, "I am sad for her, but thrilled for me. In our four minutes together she has asked me about the three subjects I know best: drinking, writing, and shame. This is my jam. I've got this. Hot damn."
As Doyle begins to realize she has very strong feelings for Wambach, pursuing them would mean blowing up her life. While keeping their relationship out of the press, Doyle has to decide if she will let her fans in on this new chapter of her life. She describes, "I had a choice to make: I could reveal my new relationship before I felt ready, or I could stand in front of my readers and hide the most important thing happening in my life. The first option felt terrifying and also the clear way, because of my One Thing. My One Thing is my sobriety. For me, sobriety is not just about stopping something; it's about beginning a particular way of life. This way of life requires living in integrity: ensuring that my inner self and outer self are integrated. Integrity means having only one self. Dividing into two selves - the shown self and the hidden self - that is brokenness, so I do whatever it takes to stay whole. I do not adjust myself to please the world. I am myself wherever I am, and I let the world adjust."
I love those final two sentences.
Towards the end of the book, you learn more about Doyle's charitable organization called Together Rising. She writes about how the moments that cause you the most anguish, may actually be a sign of what you're meant to help fix. On page 268, "Heartbreak is not something to be avoided; it's something to pursue. Heartbreak is one of the greatest clues of our lives. The magic of heartbreak is that each person's doorbell rings in response to something specific. What rings your bell? Is it racial injustice? Bullying? Animal cruelty? Hunger? War? The environment? Kids with cancer? What is it that affects you so deeply that whenever you encounter it, you feel the need to look away? Look there. Where is the pain in the world that you just cannot stand? Stand there. The thing that breaks your heart is the very thing you were born to help heal. Every world changer's work begins with a broken heart."
By the end of the book, I found myself massively impressed with Doyle's enduring commitment to being her truest self and encouraging others to do the same. While not everything in these 333 pages may resonate with you, I guarantee there will be at least a chapter or two that you dog ear.
*Image courtesy of Book Club Chat.