Carolyn Anderson, a T12-L1 para, lives in Tucson, Ariz., with her two toddlers,  husband and dog. Besides being a stay-at-home mom, Anderson is an artist. She says ever since she stopped painting rage and started painting dogs, her work has sold much better. Check her out at

How did you adjust to your new life?
I had a big old drinking problem until 11 years ago. Years ago I read the book Spinal Network, and a guy just hinted enough that he was in recovery. Then later I ran into him playing basketball right about the time I was ready to get sober and it was really cool. So you can out me, maybe it will help someone else.

How has your disability shaped you?
Like a gourd with really skinny legs. Seriously, living with SCI has given me a lot of patience and compassion, empathy.

What irks you?
Whining. And when people complain about their sinuses.

What was your “Aha” moment?
The moment I stopped blaming anyone for my situation — my doctors, my parents, George Bush, my insurance, blah blah blah poor me — and took accountability for my own life, health and happiness