Nonna Libby and granddaughter Iysa

Nonna Libby and granddaughter Iysa

I don’t know the author, but these words were true for us: To “let go” does not mean to stop caring; it means I can’t do it for someone else. To “let go” is not to cut myself off, but it’s the realization that I can’t control another. To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands. To “let go” is not to fix, but to be supportive. To “let go” is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being. To ”let go” is not to be in the middle, arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies. To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept. To “let go” is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them. To ”let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it. To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future. To “let go” is to fear less and to love more.

My reflection: At Al-Anon meetings, I often heard the words “let go” and “detach with love.” These words were confusing for me because I didn’t understand how to love my son, but also detach. When the recovering alcoholic at San Patrignano told me to, “Stay Close, but don’t give him money,” this idea clicked. I understood how to stay close and let go at the same time.

Today’s Promise to consider: Letting go doesn’t mean abandoning my loved one. Letting go means giving him the dignity of making his own choices and dealing with the consequences they bring – good and bad. Letting go means staying close, but out of the chaos of his addiction. I’ll do this, one day at a time.



Jeff and Grams Cataldi

Jeff and Grams Cataldi

A mother wrote to me: My youngest daughter is 19; she started with alcohol at age 12 and ended up a heroin addict. After many false starts and years of fearing that phone call when I would hear that she was dead, she finally entered an inpatient center. After completion, she wants to come home. I want her home, but I am also very realistic that we are NOT out of the woods by a long shot. She is going to need help from someone who truly “gets it” and is not family. Our family is still healing – we have a very long way to go.

My reflection: We need to stay humble in the face of addiction because it lurks in the shadows, always taunting and biding its time, gauging just the right moment when vulnerability is high and relapse is possible. Addicts need to work their program. For Jeff, this meant the twelve steps of AA, meeting with a sponsor and attending AA meetings. As his family, we could provide a loving shoulder for him, but the work of recovery is a personal process forged between the addict and his support group.

Today’s Promise: AA talks about rigorous honesty and a spiritual awakening as the way to keep sober. Recovery takes work, plain and simple, for the addict and for those of us who love him. I will keep hope.



941292_10151747144872869_1497866766_nThink how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.

You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.

There are oceans and mountain passes,

and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight

the mystery of friendship and love.”

The embryo will answer.

There is no ‘other world.’

I only know what I’ve experienced.

You must be hallucinating.


Imagine now a conversation with an active addict.

You can describe the world of reclaimed life

And the grace of spiritual principles.

And the prospect might say:

There is no ‘other world.’

I only know what I’ve experienced.

You must be hallucinating.

Written by Ermanno Di Febo-Orsini (Inspired by Rumi’s Embryo in the Womb)

Today’s Promise to consider: The addict is consumed inside his own life, obsessed with his own desires and gripped with his need for the next fix. It is nearly impossible for him to recognize that there is a better life on the other side of his misery. Our prayer is that he can stop using, connect with a recovering community and make the decision to live.


SC - 5-2A recovering addict wrote to me, No one could guarantee or promise when I decided to lead a sober life the doors of heaven would open up and let me in, but a sacred Truth held in trust promised something even greater, that the doors of hell would open up and let me out. I live by and give deep thanks for that great promise, and thankfully, by the Grace of God, I am able to live a sober life.

My reflection: When addiction takes our loved ones by the throat, they live their hell. Despite what it looks like from the outside, evil and ugliness have taken hold. When Jeff was sick and at his lowest, he chose to change his life. That was when the doors of hell opened.

Today’s Promise to consider: Addicts live a tortured life, but only they can make the decision to change. Once they do, grace is given space to work and they often re-enter the world with a passion to serve. It’s a true miracle and a gift of life.