IMG_1696A mother wrote to me:What is enabling? Webster’s dictionary says, “to make possible, practical, or easy.” How simple this sounds. Why would a parent want to make it easy for a child to destroy himself? My aunt said to me yesterday, “You need to have guidelines and discipline in your house.” I just thought to myself: I would love to have that. I am a mom trying to raise three kids and one is an addict. I am not so sure what rules I am to follow.

My reflection: Dr. MacAfee says enabling is anything that maintains the status quo, the pattern of behavior that’s currently in place. Trying to break the status quo required me to step back and allow Jeff to face the consequences of his addiction, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Saying ‘no’ to my son and staying close without withdrawing love took me fourteen years to learn.

Today’s Promise to consider:Today, I will not enable my loved one to maintain the status quo, the patterns that are destroying his life. I will let him feel the consequences of his addiction. I will stay close, but out of the chaos.






IMG_7572 2A mom sent me this quote by Pema Chödrön: We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

My reflection: Life’s problems can throw us into a state of confusion and despair. When Jeff was in active addiction, things came together for a moment and I felt such hope, only to be followed by things falling apart again, and worse. Even now, with Jeff healthy and drug free, there are many painful moments in life.

Today’s Promise to consider: Life is about us maintaining personal peace in the face of its constant challenges and finding comfort in the uncomfortable feelings. Instead of running from the pain, today I’ll work to be like the ocean – deep and stable, anchored in God – and not like the waves above me, tossing about, sometimes jarring, sometimes quiet.


image_11Jeff and I attended a silent retreat this past weekend at New Camaldoli Hermitage, a monastery in Big Sur, where we lived three days in silence and contemplation. Without cell phone service or Internet I thought I wouldn’t survive, but what I discovered is that by disconnecting from the daily drumbeat of life I allowed myself the space to connect with the sounds of my head and heart. Mother Teresa says that God speaks to us in the silence of our soul.

My reflection: My head is constantly filled with the noise of daily life, whooshing and whizzing through my brain. This is especially true during crises, like when Jeff was sick and addiction had him by the throat. Even in times of stability and health, my mind is a whirlwind. What I learned this weekend is that through silence, I was forced to look inward, where it can be scary and unsettling, to face myself and touch the breath of God within.

Today’s Promise to consider: Today, I will take a moment to be completely still, to quiet my mind and spend some time in solitude. I will make an opening in my spirit to experience God’s closeness – a closeness that our busy, modern lives so quickly obscure.















Dalai Lama - 1A mom sent me a quote: When the Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him most about humanity, he answered, Man. He is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived. 

My reflection: Living in the present moment sounds easy, but I find it hard to do. The human mind is a whirlwind, twisting among problems, goals and projections. When Jeff was in active addiction, I spent most of my days with one foot in the past, second-guessing what I should have done differently, or in the future, worrying about what I would do when some catastrophe occurred.

Today’s Promise to consider: Today, I will work hard to live in the present. When my mind drifts into the past or the future, I will gently bring it back to the moment. I’ll harness my monkey mind and live today, for today, knowing the past is over and trusting that God will take care of the future.