photo-2A friend and I were talking, and she said: I knew things weren’t good when my son’s emails dropped off my radar. My older son was honest with me and told me that his brother had taken a bad turn. I’m grateful to know the truth because honesty is the key to our recovery: my son’s, my family’s and mine. Without honesty, fear rules the day and I don’t know how to move. With honesty, even when the situation is bad, I know we can push through each setback together.

My reaction: My friend’s words resonate with me, and I’ve lived the same experience. Dr. MacAfee says that addiction needs a lie to live: Addicts need to maintain the lie in order to maintain their addiction. The Big Book of AA says that living a sober life, “demands rigorous honesty.”

Today’s Promise to consider: Honesty is essential in all relationships. Without it, we tread in the perilous waters of fiction and denial. I don’t have to expose every fact of my life and my family’s problems, but I refuse to live a lie.


IMG_1475A friend and I were taking, and she said, Parents of addicted children often suffer from feelings of regret, blame and guilt. These negative emotions don’t help anyone: neither us nor our children. As parents (and especially mothers) we need to find our voice. We tried to do the best we could for our children, and they became addicts in spite of that. I’m done accepting blame for what went wrong, for what didn’t happen or for what could have been done differently. If I made mistakes, it was with love in my heart. It’s now time for my children to take responsibility for their choices about how they want to live their lives. 

My reaction: My friend’s words were inspiring to me. I acknowledge that we all handle the impact of our situations in a personal way, and I also acknowledge that I’m quick to take the impact, especially for my children. But I did the best I could and addiction happened anyhow.

Today’s Promise to consider: Blame and guilt aren’t the answers to life’s problems or addiction’s consequences. As parents, we try to do our best. As children, we need to pick up our crosses and carry them. We all have choices to make. Today, I’ll choose to move ahead with love and acceptance.









Jer and Jeff - Crop.jpgDr. MacAfee quoted Carl Rogers during a recent conversation: When a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think in some real sense he is weeping for joy. It is as though he were saying, “Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it’s like to be me.”   (From: Experiences in Communication, Carl Rogers) 

My reaction to this quote: When Jeff was in active addiction, I wanted to talk, to share my wisdom because (obviously) I knew what he need to do to find his health. I prayed for the words that would change his life. How I wish I had that kind of wisdom or power. With both Jeff and Jeremy, the best gift I can give them is to be fully present and to listen, really listen, to their pain, their joy and their journey.

Today’s Promise to consider: I don’t have the answers to my sons’ problems, but I can offer them something better. I can listen, really listen, with my entire being. Today, I will stay quiet and be a witness to whatever they want to tell me.







image-678-rivers-and-tides_boundaryFollowing Dr. MacAfee’s entry on regrets last week, below are excerpts of three comments that highlight the remorse addiction causes in our lives. 

One mom wrote: I had so many regrets: Regrets about how I raised my son, regrets about putting him on medication as a five-year old, regrets about putting him in learning-disability classes, regrets about how I punished him, regrets of saying no and letting him go when he was 26 years old. I regret being short with him the last time we talked on the phone before he overdosed and died (my biggest regret). I didn’t know it would be the last time I would speak to him. I don’t beat myself up over it anymore.

A second mom wrote: I was thinking how I’ve always regretted not putting my son on medication as I was told to when he was younger. I wished I had been stricter, said no more often.

A third mom summed it up: We all have regrets because we all wanted to do the right thing by our children.

Today’s promise to consider: Today, I’ll do what I think best for myself and my family, and I can only hope I get some of it right. I’ll learn from my mistakes, but I won’t persecute myself for what happened in the past and what I can’t change.




IMG_0387Dr. MacAfee shared with me: During a recent family therapy session, we brought up the topic of regrets. During the sharing, the conversation became heavy, as if the room were sinking into a tunnel of despair.

In an uncharacteristic move, I blurted out, “Woah. Stop. This is going nowhere. I can’t ignore the elephant in the room. Regrets aren’t to make you beat up on yourselves. Regrets are normal, and they show a corner of our health and wellbeing. Regrets are the thresholds to grace. We can learn from these difficult matters without hating ourselves. Regrets, when properly addressed, are the gate to healing. They enhance understanding of ourselves and our place in the world as a loving individual. Sure you wonder, “How could I have done ..X…?” This is a great question, and once addressed and answered properly, can led us to health. These are simply things we would not do again. 

Something settled in the room.

My reaction: I always thought regret was unhealthy and felt if I were stronger I would not have them. Dr. MacAfee offers us a way of using regret as a powerful tool to move forward in consciousness.

Today’s Promise to consider: Today, I will use my regrets to make better choices, to develop a positive sense of wellbeing and to allow love and grace to lead me in every aspect of my life. I won’t live with regret for yesterday, but I will learn from yesterday’s regrets to live a better today.