A mother wrote to me: Our healing process is a journey, too. I recognize that even if my son never fully recovers or works his life well, I have mine and I don’t want to waste it being sad all the time. I had to find a way to go on in my life and relearn how to feel joy again. It is a tempered happiness. There is always a remembrance of loss that I feel deep down, but it does not consume me like it used to.

My response to the above passage: Through Jeff’s addiction, I, too, learned that my happiness could not be dependent of the state on his life. I’ve realized that happiness is a choice and that living in a space of gratitude makes life better. As the mother above, I will not allow loss to consume me.

Today’s promise to consider: I will find serenity within myself. My happiness cannot be contingent on someone else’s choices. Even if I love him or her with all my heart, I will accept what I am unable to change. As the AA slogan says, “Happiness is appreciating what you have, not getting what you want.”





A mother wrote to me: My son is still doing well. He has been sober now for seventeen months and, as you know, it’s still one day at a time. I don’t think I will ever totally be free from this addiction thing. I have been so humbled by it.

My reaction to the above passage: The words, “I have been so humbled by it,” touched me deeply. I was once Head of School where the system was set-up so that I was in charge; I was a boss. In the face of addiction, I learned that I was in charge of nothing and didn’t even have the ability to save my own son. In the face of addiction, I learned to be grateful for the little things like surviving five minutes. In the face of addiction, I learned that humility is a good thing.

Today’s promise to consider: Being humble is a powerful teacher. Today is not the day for arrogance or pride. I can get on my knees to pray, I can reach out my hand for help and I can ask someone to forgive me. Today I will think less about myself and my own worries and more about those I love.






A mother wrote to me: My seventeen year old daughter is a heroin addict. Legal issues placed her in rehab. This one is a 60-day stay as opposed to the previous two that were fourteen to twenty-one days. She has been gone for fifty days and shortly she will come home. I have been to Al-Anon meetings and my husband and I have been to couples counseling. In my heart of hearts, I’m scared. She has manipulated me easily in the past. I am her target and she is my only daughter. Maybe I’m just having weak days. I know there are no magic words to help me.

My reflection on the above passage: I wanted magic words. I wanted someone, anyone, to tell me what to do, how to think and what to say. I was trapped in that place of isolation and silence yet wanting to scream my story from the rooftops hoping that someone would give me a game plan, a sure-fire technique that would save my son and our family. I was scared and I wanted answers.

Today’s Promise to consider: I will stay close to my addicted loved one. I will let her know that she is loved, but I will not give her money to support her addiction. I will keep strong boundaries for myself and pray that she finds her. I can only offer my love.






A mother wrote to me: I went to my first Nar-Anon meeting last Tuesday and am going back tomorrow evening. Just in the 60+ minutes that I was there, I felt a new sense of freedom and energy this past week. No one understands completely what it’s like to have an addicted loved one except for those who are living that experience themselves.

My reflection on the above passage: This reminds me of the saying, “Don’t judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes.” In Al-Anon and Nar-Anon, we know the walk of the people in the rooms and we listen without judgment because we’ve been there. Maybe this is true with any trauma. I know that when I had breast cancer I found comfort talking with other people who understood what I was going through.

Today’s Promise to Consider: I will share my feelings, fears and pain with others who have walked in my shoes. I’ll keep coming back to Al-Anon and Nar-Anon.