Jeff and Jer - Florence 2

Dr. MacAfee on the addict’s liberation, “Drug use traps the addict in a place of hopelessness. But when the lie of maintaining the addiction becomes more painful than the using, the addict faces himself and his use. It is this inescapable accountability that is both powerful and hopeful when he comes face-to-face with his reality. This incomprehensible demoralization is the dark before the dawn, the place where the addict chooses between life and death – the place where he can liberate himself.”

My reflection: When Dr. MacAfee and I discussed this topic, it was difficult for me because I relived our own family’s history of trauma, that time when Jeff was so sick he had to choose whether he would live or die. As his mother, I was powerless. I could do nothing. What a painful place to be! In the end, I surrendered, stayed close and prayed that Jeff would live. And I’m forever grateful that he did.

Today’s Promise to consider: Liberation for the addict comes when he says to himself, “I’m trapped and I’m never going to be able to use without dire consequences. I loathe what addiction has done to my life. I have no choice but to change.” Only the addict can free himself. I’ll pray.






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Dr. MacAfee on the pain of addiction: “Addiction is extraordinary psychic pain. The addict is trapped inside his use. Drugs were once the escape to all his problems until they become his prison. Addiction is like a bad love affair: A love gone sour. Once the addict sees the trap – the trap of ‘no hope without dope’ – he must literally fight for his life. There is hard-fought wisdom at the end of the battle.”

My reflection: I’m reminded of a conversation I had with Jeff. I told him, “You are wise, wiser than I am. Your addiction taught you so much. Thanks for teaching me.” His response, “That’s because I’ve come from a place you’ve never been – thankfully. My wisdom is born from a place of intense pain. It’s one of the silver linings of addiction.”

Today’s Promise to consider: The addict is trapped inside the prison of addiction. What was once a party becomes his personal hell. I have great respect for those who are able to fight this battle and find their recovery. Peace and wisdom are on the other side.
















scan0004A mother wrote: When we learned seven months ago that our beautiful, nineteen year-old son was addicted to heroin, I remember praying and searching for other parents who would truly understand. All I really wanted was to talk with another parent – especially a mother – who could really understand the brokenness in that special bond between a son and mother. Al-Anon meetings helped, and our good God led me to a meeting made up mostly of parents of addicted children.

My reflection: Addiction suffocates us. We see that we are losing our child and we don’t know what to do. We want to command the addiction to go away, order it into the pit of the earth where it belongs. But we soon realize that we are powerless in the face of addiction. What to do?

After an Al-Anon meeting, I wrote, “I found a peace that has eluded me. I’m truly amazed that my soul quieted there, in the basement of a church. I heard such pain from others, and I listened intently to how they are struggling to survive. Maybe I can find strength and comfort in Al-Anon, and ultimately in myself.”

Today’s Promise: I will open my spirit and reach out a hand to other parents of addicted children. In our solidarity, we find strength. It takes courage to reach out, but I am not alone.



images-9.14.51-AMJeff and I were talking about “monkey mind,” a Buddhist term meaning, “unsettled, restless, confused.” It is when our minds become chaotic as our thoughts jump from problem to problem.

This journal entry, written ten years ago, is an example of my unsettled mind: I’m not doing well. In fact, my heart feels torn into pieces. It’s 4:24 am, and sleep is not my friend tonight. My mind races with all my problems and I ache for someone to make them all go away. Pretty unrealistic, huh? I need to find my own peace. Dear Lord, I am so confused and I feel all alone. What do I do?

My reflection: For me, fear has always been an especially noisy monkey. The demons seemed to come out at night and torment me. In the dark, as I lay alone, I felt totally helpless and confused. My mind raced with imaginings of all the things that could go wrong. I had to find strength in myself and in my God, my higher power.

Today’s Promise to consider: I’m deeply grateful Jeff is good today, but I also acknowledge that monkey mind still continues to afflict me often during the night and sometimes during the day. Today, I will make an active effort to do something constructive when the demons find me. I’ll write or run. I will meditate. I will pray.



Jeff wrote, This is the first year that my New Year’s resolution was crystal clear: contribution. I need to do more for my community, to give back in bigger, more consistent ways – roll up my sleeves every week and offer my time and experiences to the people around me. The Big Book says, “To keep what we have, we need to give it away.”

My reflection: For years, I scoffed at making New Year’s resolutions. I felt silly resolving to do something I knew I would abandon after a few weeks. When Jeff told me his resolution, I thought I’d try again to resolve something because I, too, knew what I needed to do to be a better person. I will commit time each day to reading, praying and becoming more centered in myself and with my God.

Today’s Promise to consider: Even though I may not be a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, this year I will try. Jeff will contribute more to his community. I will grow stronger in my spirituality. Maybe we’ll all take some time to reflect on what is important to us. Happy New Year!