photo 6In response to last week’s meditation, a mom wrote to me, I find not only the addicts don’t love themselves, but their family members  – especially a spouse or parent – feel the same about themselves. What a vicious disease – robbing both the addict and someone close to him of self-love.

My reflection: Addiction is a family disease that often leaves us feeling guilty, shamed and devoid of self-love. When Jeff was in active addiction, I spent most days tangled within the illness, blaming myself and wondering what I could have done differently. As a mom, I wanted to fix things and drive addiction out of our home, but it doesn’t work that way. I was powerless and my sense of guilt was counterproductive.

Today’s Promise to consider: I can’t blame anyone for my loved one’s addiction because there is no blame. It just is. Today I will take care of myself by doing the things I know promote health and peace. I will pray, rely on my support group and reach out to the people around me who are suffering.


IMG_3737 2A recovering addict sent me this quote, We could search the whole world over and never find another being more worthy of our love than ourselves.

My reflection: I talked with Jeff about this, and he said, “A lack of self love is typically one of the core issues facing addicts. Especially when we start to get sober, we beat ourselves up for all the pain we caused the people around us. Thankfully, that’s what the program of AA provides – a community that genuinely cares about us when we have a hard time finding that care in ourselves. Ultimately, we come to find that love within ourselves, but it takes time.”

Today’s Promise written by Jeff: Self love seems foreign, insane and impossible to the addict, but I’ve seen with my own eyes countless recovering people make the transition from self loathing to self love. Today I will allow my recovering community to love me when I can’t love myself. I will trust that by staying committed to the program of AA and leaning on my Higher Power that love will begin to take hold in my heart.


Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity) Vincent Van Gogh, 1890

A mom, who lost her son to addiction, wrote to me, Nothing will ever fill the hole in my heart, but I know there was nothing more I could have done for my son. Today, I honor the grief by acknowledging it and not hiding it. I can’t carry guilt like a cross. I know that today my beloved son is at peace and free of pain. An acupuncturist once told me our bodies remember stress and trauma and, as beautiful as childbirth is, my body obviously remembers bringing my beautiful boy into this world and also remembers the trauma of finding him after he left this world. I honor his life everyday.

My reflection: This mom wrote the above message to me following Dr. MacAfee’s entry about The Terror of Addiction. Her words inspire me as she acknowledges the pain and has the courage to speak out. My love and gratitude to all the parents who extend a hand to help others who suffer the greatest loss of all.

Today’s Promise to consider: When my heart is most broken, I want to go under and hide, but today I will open my arms to my pain and accept that God is shaping the stone of my spirit. I’ll allow myself to be transformed into the grateful dancer God wants me to be.


IMG_3792Jeff sent me a passage from a text he’s reading, Aversion is not the enemy; it is just the normal reaction of the mind and body to pain. Whatever the hurt we feel – whether of mind, body or emotion – our biological survival mechanism tries to get rid of it. The problem is that we don’t actually have the ability to escape from all of the painful experiences in life. It can’t be done. The good news is that by greeting those painful moments and feelings with compassion, we decrease our personal suffering and bring about an experience of well being.

My reaction: Facing a situation that is uncomfortable or painful is difficult. This can be as simple as having to clean the house or exercise, where I can think of ten things to do first like checking email or calling someone on the phone before I start. In this way, I avert facing what is unpleasant and substitute distractions that give me pleasure. Aversion can also be complicated and lead to huge trouble like drugs. Jeff tells me that drugs help in the same way, “Instead of facing painful situations, drugs allowed me to deaden my senses and go under.” Some people might use food or shopping, others might use pornography or drugs.

Today’s Promise to consider: When life becomes painful, I can find many ways to avoid or avert it – from the small tasks to the big problems. Today, I will face my problems without anger or disdain. I’ll see clearly the difficulty, call it out by name and face it with compassion for myself and others.