Son Jeremy staying close to his daughter Iysa.

A recovering addict wrote to me: My husband and I are both recovering addicts. After two years of sobriety, he relapsed. I don’t know which side is harder – the addict in active addiction or the loved one of that addict. Knowing Jeffrey and I have both managed to let God bring us back to the world of recovery brings me hope. I know my husband’s journey is his, and I can’t and have no right to take it from him. You never know when God’s miracle happens, but it usually happens when we get out of the way and leave it up to Him.

My thoughts: This young woman knows both sides of addiction. As hard as this must be, she also knows the hope of recovery, her own and her loved one’s. Her words touch me, “I know his journey is his, and I can’t and have no right to take it from him.” We never know when God’s miracle happens, but for me I’ve learned that it happens when I get out of the chaos and find my serenity.

Today’s Promise to consider: Both sides of any problem are difficult: There is the perspective of the one who must make the journey and the perspective of the one who watches and loves. As a mom, I know only one side, mine. I can’t take away my loved one’s pain, but I can stay close with compassion and prayer.


A mother wrote to me: I’m involved with Comunità Cenacolo in Jacksonville, Florida, a community dedicated to helping young women find their way out of addiction’s grasp and into the light of sobriety.  

Here is a photo I took of the girls’ feet before they performed at the Feast of Saint Maria Goretti. I love this picture…ballet slippers representing white for innocence and a clean life. The feet tell the story, and the worn-out shoes depict the path and suffering it took to get to this dance of redemption.

My thoughts: When Jeff and Jeremy were in school, we bought new shoes every August. After several months, their shoes showed the scuffs and tears of jungle gyms, bus rides, pick-up soccer games, recess and playing in all kinds of weather. Shoes can tell a story about life.

Today’s Promise to consider: The addict wears his own shoes, and I wear mine. I can’t understand fully his walk, and he can’t understand mine. All I can do is to stay close to my loved one and pray that his shoes come home – scuffs and all.


A recovering addict with fourteen years sobriety wrote to me: As an addict, I know that I had to reach a point where I made the decision that I could not go back to drugs. Sure there were times of temptation during those first few years, but sobriety is a decision only I could make can make.

Dear parents, as helpless and guilty as you might feel, it is the addict’s choice to use again. It is not because he or she doesn’t love you or because you have or haven’t done something. Don’t beat yourselves up! You are not alone and there IS hope!

My reaction: Thanks to this young woman, who gives voice to the addict’s side of the story. For me, I only knew my mother’s side until I really listened to what Jeff had to say. This young woman helps me to understand. She went on to write, I last saw Jeff in DC around Christmas of 1997. I could tell he was “having fun” but I had no clue just how “deep” he had gotten. Of course, I didn’t realize just how “deep” I had gotten into drugs, either. I guess no addict really does until she hits rock bottom!

Today’s Promise to consider: I have to admit that I am powerless to change other people. I have to admit that I have no control over other people’s actions, even my own children. What I can and will do is pray, teach, provide a strong role model and stay close.


A mom wrote to me: Saying no could be the biggest “YES” in life….but yet so hard to learn how to say it.

My reaction: There is wisdom in these few words. I struggled with saying no, especially to my sons. “May I take the car?” Yes. “Would you give me a few dollars for gas?” Yes. “Would you, could you, might you….?” Typically I said yes, but ‘yes’ wasn’t always the correct answer. It took Jeff’s addiction for me to learn that often ‘saying no’ can be the ‘biggest yes.’ As Dr. Derbyshire, a psychologist and friend, once told me, “Oftentimes, you are being the best mother when you say no.” This seems obvious, but it wasn’t obvious to me for a long time.

Today’s Promise to consider: I will have the strength to say ‘no’ as well as ‘yes.’ I will keep my boundaries safe and not cave in to pressure or pleas. If I truly believe that the answer should be no, I’ll say it regardless of the reaction that I receive.



A mom wrote to me: I remember the words Jeff told to you, “Never quit believing Mom…….”  These words are what made me then and will again stay close to my son. I find peace in continuing to believe, and I’ll draw on personal strength and resolve. I’ll reach out to my support system because isolation is the enemy. 

My reaction: I, too, remember these words, and they became a guidepost for me. I wrote, “My son…was a chameleon, but I felt strongly that he would never lose the inner flame of his humanity. Maybe this was just a mother’s wishful thinking, but I held to this belief – and never quit believing. With all this said, I wondered if he would do the work necessary to place himself in sobriety and come home to his one, true self.” In the end, he did.

Today’s Promise to consider: When life gets too hard, too tough, and when the next step seems too heavy, I won’t give up. I’ll find my strength, reach out my hand to a brother or sister, trust God and keep believing.