DSC02919A mom wrote: I was the woman on the couch who cried and felt lost. I walked from room to room without purpose. I felt like a shell.  I tried to fix my son over and over again. I don’t give up easily, but my interventions did not work. He got worse the more I tried. 

I stopped trying in a bold way. I started to let go and started working on me. I started to accept more and to fret less. I can only change me. My son is getting better little by little. I don’t know if he will ever be the kid I thought I had.  But I am healing. 

My thoughts: This mom’s words reminded me of my journey. I, too, was the mom on the couch who felt lost. I was also the mom who worked relentlessly, afraid to stop for fear of being on the couch again. I wrote in my journal and prayed for wisdom. In time, I started to let go and reach out for help, especially to those in Al-Anon. I made a conscious decision to stop feeling powerless to change my son and, instead, focused on my power to change me.

Today’s Promise to consider: Courage can be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning or as they say in AA to “suit up and show up” even when our world is falling apart. For me, courage is based on faith. Today, I will pray for the courage to choose to make my health and serenity a priority and to allow my son the space he needs to choose sobriety for himself. Courage truly is fear that has said its prayers.





Son Jeremy with daughter Iysa

A dad wrote: This post (about the young girl having courage to raise her hand even though other kids might laugh at her) reminded me that I can continue to improve my own ability to be more confident and courageous. I don’t think it matters if you are 6 or 66 – as the parent of an addicted child, I need all the confidence and courage I can find! Prayers for continued courage to fight the good fight. 

My reflection: My initial thoughts about courage were focused only on the child. I wondered if I hadn’t taught Jeff to be courageous when faced with peer pressure or tough choices. In recovery, I praised his courage to fight for himself and his life. This dad’s comments helped me to think about a parent’s courage. Courage doesn’t mean that parents aren’t afraid, but rather that we push through our fears and do our best in spite of them. There is a saying in Al-Anon, “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”

Today’s Promise to consider: As parents, we have many opportunities to role model for our children everyday courage. We need to show our children how to fight the good fight and to stand up for what is right even when we are standing alone. Today, I’ll stay close. I’ll hold out my hand and ask my child to hold on as he practices courage.





Katie MA mom wrote to me: My daughter is in fourth grade and her class was discussing “courage.” The heading of her homework sheet was, “It takes Courage,” and it had several questions about defining/understanding/citing courage. Question D asked, “Describe a time in your own life when you think you showed courage.”

My daughter’s response was “by raising my hand when I think people are going to make fun of me.” Oh, I love this child.

My thoughts: Courage is a skill our children need, especially as they grow older and have to make their own decisions. After reading this mother’s message, I began wondering about Jeff’s early years of drug use. When he was offered drugs for the first time did he not have the courage to say no, was he curious and just said yes, or did he consider his options and make his own decision? I don’t know, but I do know that it took him immense courage to stop using. I also know that it takes immense courage for him to make the daily choice not to use.

Today’s Promise to consider: Life is filled with challenges and my child will need courage to face them. Learning this skill starts at home with encouragement and support. Today, I’ll urge my child to take risks, to raise her hand, to help someone in need or to say no with confidence. The little, everyday courageous acts will strengthen my child’s patterns of behavior. I’ll role model courage in my life.


photo 2_2I buried my mother on December 28. She lived a long and good life, and she was ready. Days later, my friend’s son died from the disease of addiction. Two deaths, but two very different circumstances. When I went to the funeral home to support my friend, we embraced while she wept from a place that ripped open my heart and tore at my soul. She sobbed, saying over and over again, “I didn’t know. Why didn’t I know? Why couldn’t I have done something?”

My tears were the answer. No words to comfort her, no truth that could quench the enormity of her son’s tragic death. It is every parent’s greatest fear that her addicted child could die. The seriousness of drug addiction is often too horrifying to look at. My mother’s death brought grief to my heart, and my friend’s son’s death brought despair to my soul.

Today, I will honor the lives lost to addiction. I won’t sweep them under the rug and I won’t be silent. I will acknowledge the severity of this disease – it is a battle of life and death. My sons and I will continue our fight against addiction. We stand next to the parents and their fallen loved ones. We ask God to ease their pain.


A mom wrote to the Stay Close blog: You make it possible for me to still believe every word of this song. My favorite. May the weeks (and year) ahead be filled with love & peace beyond all understanding.

A reflection on Eva Cassidy, who recorded this version of What A Wonderful World: Eva Cassidy died from cancer on November 2, 1996, at the age of 33 in her family home in Bowie, Maryland. In September 1996, she closed her final performance with this song at the Bayou in front of an audience of friends, fans and family.

Today’s Promise to consider: As we enter into 2013, I’ll remind myself that the world can be wonderful. No matter what we are going through and no matter what trials we are facing, we have each other and we are not alone.