A mom wrote to me: My son entered another halfway house and today he is doing well. Last year after rehab, he was supposed to have gone there, but he chose not to. Thankfully, this time, he made the decision himself, and I know he has to keep making the right decisions. Although relapse feels so defeating, I can see a positive difference in him each time he relapses and gets clean again. I think I’m finally getting the hang of “One day at a time.”

My thoughts: Dr. MacAfee says, Relapse isn’t failure. Failure is not trying again. It took me a long time to understand this. With each of Jeff’s relapses, I felt kicked in the belly, but I now realize that each honest attempt to get clean was a victory.

Today’s Promise to consider: We can’t define what success looks like for anyone else. For an addict, twenty-four hours of sobriety is a huge victory. Today, I’ll celebrate the successes of others. It’s not my place to be the judge or jury, but I will be a proud member of the supporting troops.



To Iysa, my granddaughter: I can’t help smiling every time I look at this photo of you. You are two-years old and growing up so quickly, proud of your achievement – your first. These firsts make life magical, those moments of discovery and victory. I treasure these for you, and I wish you many more. I also know that as you travel through life, you’ll suffer setbacks and heartaches (for this is what it is to be human), but for today we celebrate your wondrous milestone and say, “Brava, Iysa! Good for you.” Love you, my dearest little angel. 

Today’s Promise to consider: Life can be difficult and at times it can be tragic, but for today I’ll remember my child’s firsts, her achievements, and I’ll celebrate. These moments of beauty might carry me through the hardships. Today, I will live in a space of gratitude.  


A mom said to Dr. MacAfee: I’m trying to remember who we were before addiction hit our doors, flooded our house and left us homeless. 

Dr. MacAfee’s response: Once the young person is off and running with drugs, things become much more difficult. Relationship is essential in dealing with addiction, but the question is what does a healthy relationship look like. Honesty is critical. Parents must say what they mean and mean what they say – boundaries must be clear so that loved one knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what is acceptable and what isn’t. Screaming isn’t the answer, whereas putting all the cards on the table in a direct and honest way is. As one mother recently told her son, “If you felt good about what you were doing, you wouldn’t be sneaking around.”

Today’s Promise to consider: Relationship and boundaries are critical when dealing with addiction, as with many problems. Today I will communicate with rigorous honesty. I’ll put my cards on the table and be clear about my boundaries. We all have decisions to make and I can’t decide for anyone else, but I will decide for myself. I’ll stay close and out of the chaos.



A recovering addict wrote to me: Addiction seems to be the epidemic of our world today destroying not only the addict, but also everyone around him. I read about Jeremy’s pain and frustration, and see my little brother’s hurt and inner battle. But the message is still hope. We are not alone. Ironic that a disease that is afflicting millions of people is a disease that isolates us. It does this because the one true defense, the true power against addiction, is standing together, walking together and holding each other as we trip and stumble.

My thought: These words strike me as true. Dr. MacAfee says it another way, “Only by taking addiction out of the darkness where it does its best work and into the light can it be healed.” Addiction thrives by isolating the addict and his family. If the addict keeps the secret, he keeps the addiction. Only by standing together in honesty, holding hands and working together, can we fight this disease.

Today’s Promise to consider: I will not keep the secret of addiction. I will not isolate myself in shame, stigma and silence. I will fight against addiction for my loved one and myself.