ONE LIFE AT A TIME: 41 years strong


Harry: A 22 year love affair with drinking, 17 years in the Navy, and now a drug/alcohol counselor celebrating 41 years of sobriety on March 23, gave me this poem:         

A little boy walked carefully along a crowded beach

Where starfish by the hundreds lay there within his reach.

They washed up with each wave, far as the eye could see

And each would surely die if they were not set free.

So one by one he rescued them, then he heard a stranger call,

“It won’t make a difference…you cannot save them all.”

But as he tossed another back towards the ocean’s setting sun,

He said with deep compassion,
”I made a difference to that one!”

My reflection: Harry has dedicated his life to helping those who are suffering find recovery. In his journey, he made a profound difference to my son and has made a difference to many others. Our family will be eternally grateful for his work.

Today’s Promise to consider: The Talmud says, “He who saves one life, saves the entire world.” Alcoholics Anonymous was started by one man: Bill Wilson. From there, countless lives have been saved. Great change can start with one person. Today, I’ll reach out my hand and help someone else. We can all make a difference – one life at a time.




Uncle Jeff and niece Iysa

Uncle Jeff and niece Iysa

Jeff wrote to me, Read a great passage about vulnerability and the value in allowing ourselves to expose hurts and fears in the right settings. It basically says that by admitting our insecurities, we create a platform for others to be more honest and open in the conversation. If we can find the courage to be vulnerable, it often awakens deeper intimacy in our relationships.

My reflection: I spent a great deal of my life afraid of being vulnerable. I wanted to act as though I had the answers and no one could hurt me. Then life jumped off the rails. Addiction came into our home and dismantled our family from the inside out. In the end, I was forced to admit my powerlessness, and that’s when I started to heal. It took great courage for our family to share our story, but by our allowing others to see our vulnerability, we hope to provide a safe platform to discuss the pain of addiction.

Today’s Promise to consider: Being vulnerable is uncomfortable for me. I’d rather appear strong and fearless, but I’m only human. Today, I’ll admit my insecurities, talk openly in trusted situations and, by doing so, hope to awaken compassion and healing in my relationships.


Son Jeremy and his daughter Iysa

Son Jeremy and his daughter Iysa

A recovering addict wrote to me and he signed his name with this postscript: a survivor with a future because of my past.

My reflection: These words reminded me that addiction is a great teacher. Just as cancer taught me to appreciate every day, addiction taught me to stay close and believe in a future for my family. The most important lessons in my life didn’t come from my degrees, but they came from the challenges and heartbreak of my past.

Today’s Promise to consider: If we choose to learn from our history, we can be wise. The footsteps that are behind us can’t be erased, but we can create new footsteps – the ones we’ll take today and tomorrow.


Granddaughter Iysa

Granddaughter Iysa

Jimmy Demers, friend and superb vocalist, inspires the world through music. I listened to this song as I drove through the deserts of California and Arizona last month. The landscape was majestically powerful and so is this track.

My reflection: As I played this song repeatedly, I found myself wondering, what will be my message to the world? What message will my sons, Jeff and Jeremy, leave? We all have a story. The human experience teaches us so much. Is it not our responsibility to share that learning and to leave a message?

Today’s Promise to consider: This song beckoned me to reflect on how I’m living day-to-day and what message I hope to leave when I pass. My answer is clear: Stay Close. Life is difficult and suffering is unavoidable, but the human spirit is strong. I’ll never quit believing in truth, in beauty and in my sons. Addiction tried to rob our family of us, but it didn’t succeed. We learned and grew from the trauma.


Message to the World, written by Terry Coffey and Donnie Demers, sung by Jimmy Demers