A quiet moment between brothers

A mother wrote me an email message. This is part of it: I guess those of us affected by addiction are so busy being wrapped up in our own journey we forget the pains of those around us. To hear Jeff say he had to learn about himself minus the drugs…even down to what colors he liked best…Wow, that sums it up! That statement really gives me a window into how shut down the addict becomes.

My personal reaction on the passage above: When I was in the midst of my son’s active addiction, I was drowning in my own struggles and my own suffering. It was difficult (almost impossible) to step outside of myself and see things through Jeff’s or Jeremy’s eyes. They were carrying immense burdens, but I was too beaten down to hear their hurts.

When I learned how to Stay Close and get out of the way, I was able to listen (really listen) to my sons. I heard their journeys and their heartaches. Every day, I try to remember to open my heart with compassion and honesty. I want to be fully present for my sons and for those I love.

Today’s Promise to Consider: It’s normal to get caught up in my own perspective, but today I’ll step away from my own hurts and look at problems through my loved one’s eyes.


A mother wrote me an email message. This is part of it: I prayed to my Higher Power this morning to give me peace and serenity. I knew in my heart that I needed to make amends to someone. The circumstances are not important, but the motive is. By participating in a recovery community, I’ve learned that if I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem. I am learning humility.

My personal reaction on the passage offering my above today: Part of Jeff’s recovery was to work through the steps of AA and I wanted to do the same. I started with enthusiasm, but when I got to Step Eight, Made a list of all persons we harmed and became willing to make amends to all of them, and then discovered that Step Nine required making amends to those people, I shuddered. My pride got in the way and I didn’t want to ask for understanding and forgiveness. I didn’t want to, but I did.

Through the power of the program, I’m learning humility. I’m learning that it’s OK not to be perfect or even close to perfect. My sons know I love them and I’ve asked them to forgive my shortcomings. My addicted son made his amends and so did his mother.

Today’s Promise to consider: I’ll check my pride at the door and make amends when I need to. Being humble takes courage. Humility and honesty are not for the weak. I can say, “I’m sorry.”


Jeff and his sponsor John

Dr. MacAfee wrote me an email message in response to a request for reading. This is part of it: If you’ve not read Gabor Maté, please do. Maté is a poet and clinician with a depth of understanding beyond anything I’ve recently read. His voice is deeply heard and, if a person has an idea of the depth of the problem of addiction, his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts is stunning and informative. He returns to the theme of trauma as a basis for addiction, but also redefines what trauma really is.

My personal reflection on the passage above: When Jeff was in active addiction, I felt confused, stuck and shamed. I kept the secret and the silence and isolated myself and my family. It wasn’t until I reached out to others including professionals, Al-Anon, the Big Book and other reading that I found a sense of community and understanding. I realized that I was not as alone as I thought I was.

Addiction is confounding and isolating, but there is help. By reaching out to others and reading professional literature, I learned and continue to learn. I admitted that my life was in total chaos, but I also admitted that I didn’t have to stay there.

Today’s Promise: I am not alone with my loved one’s addiction. I’ll read professional literature, go to meetings and learn about addiction and the effects of addiction on a family.  I’ll do what I need to do for myself and my family.


A mother wrote me an email message. This is part of it: I still grieve my lost son. I’m grateful that he is sober, but I don’t know this son, not really. Although he seems gentle and kind, he keeps me somewhat at arm’s length and I suspect he doesn’t know what to do with “Mom” who he is getting to know again. Some days the loss of “family” as I have defined it in my own head is overwhelming…other days, I can feel optimistic about our new beginning as a family. I need to be patient with myself.

My personal reflection on the passage offering my thoughts today: Jeff talked with a group of young recovering addicts ages fourteen to eighteen. One boy said, “I can’t even listen to the same music I used to. It brings back memories and I sometimes feel the urge to use when I hear it.” Jeff replied, “Yeah, I get it. When I got sober, I didn’t even know what color I liked. I had to learn what I was about without drugs. I had to get to know me.”

When he said this, I realized that we all have to get to know each other again. After fourteen years of drug addiction, Jeff changed, Jeremy changed and so did I. Dr. MacAfee told me, “Just stay quiet with Jeff. He’ll feel your quiet support and he’ll take the time he needs to do what he needs to do to be true to himself.”

Today’s Promise to consider: I’ll be patient with my loved one and with myself. We are growing and changing. I’ll stand quietly with him, next to him and love him through to truth.