Jeff and Jeremy, 1982

Jeff and Jeremy, 1982

A mom wrote to me: My daughter’s addiction was without doubt the darkest time in my life. She was not dead, but she may as well have been; the loving, beautiful, tender-hearted girl I’d raised and loved was lost to me. Thanks to the Grace of God, Al-Anon, and more than a few very wise counselors, I was able to get out of her way and wait patiently and hopefully  – often fearfully – for a change. Now in our eighth year of recovery, every morning feels a little like Easter to me. It’s vital for those of us who have experienced this special kind of rebirth, even for short periods of time, to serve as a witness of hope to others who are in that desperate and dark place.

My reflection: Rebirth, that time when our addicted loved ones come back to themselves and to us, can happen. Everyday, I give thanks that Jeff came home, most importantly to himself. Everyday, I am grateful that we have him for one more day. Everyday, I pray that he continues to make good choices.

Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction’s lair is filled with stories of both victory and of deep loss. I acknowledge there are no guarantees for sobriety, but I am grateful today for my son’s health. My sons and I celebrate all those who have found their way out of the grips of addiction. It’s a journey of courage and rebirth.







photo-3_2 2A mom wrote: I am an ever-recovering mother of a recovering, healing addict. After sixteen years of using, tomorrow is my son’s one-year anniversary. Take heart, take heart. Never give up hope.

My reflection: There were many times I wanted to give up hope that Jeff would ever be well. I felt that if I could just cut his addiction out of my life that the suffocating agony would end. The pain of hoping that Jeff would turn his life around was just too excruciating. It took me years to realize that I had no control over the addiction and that chasing him around was folly. But I could never quit praying, believing and hoping that one day Jeff would return to himself and to us. And fourteen years later, he did.

Today’s Promise to consider: Stories of recovery are important whether our loved one is in active addiction or not. Jeff once asked me to never quit believing and I didn’t. For today, we’ll find the courage to continue to believe.








Dancer with Cymbals by Antonio Canova

Woman Dancing (1809-1812) by Antonio Canova

Henri Nouwen, a Dutch-born Catholic priest and theologian, wrote, I once saw a stonecutter remove great pieces from a huge rock on which he was working. In my imagination I thought, That rock must be hurting terribly. Why does his man wound the rock so much? But as I looked longer, I saw the figure of a graceful dancer emerge gradually from the stone. (Turn My Mourning into Dancing)

My reflection: There were times in my life when I looked toward the heavens, screaming and beseeching God to stop my problems. I knew the saying, “God only gives us what we can handle,” and I had had enough. I felt pummeled and couldn’t understand why God thought I should be the grateful recipient of so much grief. Now, I better understand that everything in my life (both good and bad) provided a chance to learn and grow.

Today’s Promise to consider: Most of us want life to be easy, enjoyable and comfortable; however, today I acknowledge that the difficult times are what make us into the person we are. Like a sculptor chipping away at marble, the best version of me is underneath many layers.








Son Jeremy and Granddaughter Iysa

Henri Nouwen, a Dutch-born Catholic priest and theologian, wrote, One of the greatest gifts we can give others is ourselves. We offer consolation and comfort, especially in moments of crisis, when we say, Do not be afraid. I know what you are living and I am living it with you. You are not alone.  (Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life)

My reflection: In my darkest times with addiction and breast cancer, many people offered me advice, solutions or cures. Although I appreciated their concern, the greatest help came from those who merely rested with me, stayed close without any judgment or words of wisdom.

Today’s Promise to consider: When we feel powerless or overwrought with problems, we most need to know that we are not alone, that we are supported without judgment, advice or lecture. Today, let us simply stay together in comfort and understanding.