10527562_10152616312932640_2895056080788608267_nA mother wrote to me: My son is an alcoholic and has just returned from Iraq. Today he is good, and I pray that tomorrow will be the same. He is working his program in AA, and I am staying close to him and to my support group in Al-Anon. There are winners in recovery and it’s important for us to keep solid role models of hope out there, in front of us, to keep us all going. 

My reflection: For all of us across the spectrum of recovery, it’s critical that we see positive examples of wellness and success. I am on a rowing team of breast cancer survivors and we join together as a visible example that there is life after cancer. We know we’re lucky to have survived and we row together for our own health and to offer others hope.

Jeff talks about the “old timers” in AA who are sober and have lived in sobriety for decades. They “keep coming back” to give hope, share wisdom and support others. In Al-Anon, I look to our “old timers” who know my wounds and help me stay centered in the face of life’s challenges.

Today’s Promise to consider: I will remember that there are people who have survived the chaos of addiction. I will look to them for guidance and point to their successes. Where there is life, there is hope.




let go 2A mom wrote to me, I know all the slogans of Al-Anon: Easy Does It, One Day at a Time, Keep it Simple, First Things First. These and more are seared into my soul, but they are still hard to put into practice when things get tough.

My reflection: Let Go and Let God continues to be my go-to slogan. When Jeff was in active addiction, I repeated these words like a mantra. I knew I had no control over the addiction, and this slogan helped to keep me focused on getting out of God’s way. Even today, when things go wrong (as life is want to do), this slogan is my mainstay.

Today’s Promise to consider: Having a saying to help us through difficult times is a point of reference, helping to ground us. For years, I have called particular slogans to mind to support me through times of trouble. When I’m feeling confused and lost, my favorite is: Let Go and Let God.



Mom&Jeff.Michele.3 copyA dad wrote, I have a sign in my office that says, “I wish my mouth had a pause button.” That sign has been hanging there for years, yet I never applied it to understanding how to ‘pause’ and listen to God. Without that understanding how could I ever hope to, “Let go, Let God?”

My reflection, There are many times I, too, wish my mouth had a pause button. How often do we respond hurriedly and then have regrets? The visual comes to mind of a cartoon figure with the bubble from his mouth where the words are written. I’ve often wished I could erase the words in the bubble or reel them back in.

Today’s Promise to consider: Today, I’ll be more mindful of my words. Before I respond to someone or weigh in with my opinion, I’ll take time to reflect and reply with compassion. I will pause and listen to my inner counsel, trusting to hear God’s wisdom.






IMG_2150-2 copyA mom sent this quote to me, There always remains a choice to be made between the creative power of love and life and the destructive power of hatred and death. I, too, must make that choice myself, again and again. Nobody else, not even God, will make that choice for me.

My reflection: The battle between good and bad, love and hate, is an old one. Dr. MacAfee says it another way, “Hate depletes and desiccates. Love nurtures and is generous.” When Jeff was in active addiction, I struggled with many emotions because of the suffocating pain of addiction. In time, I learned how to compartmentalize my emotions to say, “I will always love my son, but I hate the addiction.”

Today’s Promise: Life is full of dualities and addiction brings them front and center. Only I can choose the creative power of love or the destructive power of hate. Today, I am clear: I hate the addiction – it is destructive and evil. But I will always and forever love my son, even through all his struggles.


jb_courage_1 copy A mom wrote to me, My recovering son told me he still has a lot of fear, and sometimes it holds him back, even from doing wonderful things in his life like meeting friends, going back to school, applying for a new job or going on a date. I guess this is normal – many of us have fears – but how much harder it must be for a recovering addict.

My reflection: Dr. MacAfee says that addiction is the loss of self and that recovery of self is a transformative process that takes time and perseverance. When Jeff made the decision to live a sober life, I told him, “You have a lot of courage to do this again, Jeff.” He paused and then said quietly, almost to himself, “Courage? That’s a word rarely used with addicts. Yeah, it takes courage.”

Today’s Promise to consider: Recovery offers our loved ones the freedom to rediscover their identity and, in time, their real and authentic personalities emerge. Today, I will recognize the enormity of this fight and the tenacity it takes for them to face and win this battle. For me, I must trust God and work diligently my program of recovery so that fear is replaced with courage.