TT - 4A mom wrote to me, My son has not changed, but I have. 

My reflection: This one sentence, embedded in a much longer email, resonated deeply with me. Why? Because change is a choice. With addiction, as with much of life, we often wait for the other person or for circumstances to become better before we do something positive for ourselves. It took fourteen years for Jeff to decide to change his life while I lost many years chasing him around, trying to force him into sobriety. In the end, I learned that only he could make the decision for himself. Similarly, I learned that only I could make the decision for myself.

Today’s Promise to consider: Dr. MacAfee says there is room for only one person in addiction: the addict. We, who love the addict, often put our lives on hold waiting for him or her to change. After fourteen years, I finally learned that I had to take control of my life and change the only person I could: me.



DSC01596 2A recovering addict told me, Cleaning drugs and alcohol from the body is one point on the long road of sobriety. True recovery is about walking the walk and handling obstacles with patience and faith. 

My reflection: Life for addicts and for those of us who love them is not easy. Challenges confront us daily and the addict must be dedicated to fighting the good fight for themselves and with their Higher Power. As family members and loved ones, we learn how to support them from a distance and to keep hope alive.

Today’s Promise: The goal of walking the walk and handling obstacles with patience and faith is a goal for all of us, whether we are recovering addicts or not. The question is not if we will face obstacles and problems, but how will we face them. Whether it feels like it or not, I believe God is always with us. The ability to handle problems with patience and faith is my daily prayer.




FH000001Dr. MacAfee talks about a parent’s pain when confronting addiction: Parents are often as trapped inside the addiction as are their children. They ask me, “Where is my son? Where is my daughter?” They know their child is under the drugs, but the child is lost to them.

You can hear the pain in these parents’ words:

I’m trying to remember who we were before this thing called addiction pushed in our door, flooded our house and left us homeless.

Addiction took our beloved son making him only a ghost of who he was. We could see his changes, but not our own. My anger turned to hatred and the shame of this kept me silent.

My reflection: I was like these parents, living in confusion, trying to find a way out of addiction’s grasp and not knowing where to turn. Just as addiction had Jeff by the throat, it had me. I knew Jeff was under the drugs, but I didn’t know how to free him.

Today’s Promise to consider: Only we, as parents, can free ourselves from the claws of addiction. Today, I’ll reach out for help, go to an Al-Anon meeting or talk with someone who understands. I’ll pray and trust that in time this soul-crushing heaviness will be relieved. I will take addiction out of the shadows and into the light.



The Daily Beast, 2/2/14: Philip Seymour Hoffman lay dead on his side on the bathroom floor clad in a T-shirt and shorts, a hypodermic needle sticking out of his left arm. In the trash, police found five empty heroin envelopes. Nearby were two full envelopes.  (Michael Daly)

The Telegraph, 2/3/14: Philip Seymour Hoffman was clean for 23 years before apparently checking himself into rehab last year. To stay away from drink and drugs for nearly a quarter of a century – and then relapse? Some people will be puzzled by that. They shouldn’t be.  (Damian Thompson is the author of The Fix: How addiction is taking over your world.) 


Jeff’s Reaction: Addiction doesn’t discriminate. This week we saw one of the world’s most talented actors die to street drugs. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death is a stark reminder that addiction is always there, patient and waiting to pounce. No matter how much clean time we put together, sobriety is a life-long journey. It’s easy to forget how bad things can become when we open addiction’s cage.