TM.light (1)Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet and theologian, wrote, The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

My reflection: This one line touched me deeply. The wound caused by addiction is a place where the Light can enter. I can choose to learn from addiction and the destruction that it causes, or I can stay stuck in anger, resentment and bitterness.

Today’s Promise to consider: Today, I will let hope and healing grow in the deep wounds that addiction left. I admit that we all suffered tremendously, but I will not be chained by bitterness and ugliness. I will learn from my pain. I will have faith in the future.


TM.balcony (1)A mom wrote to me: Wednesday, I talked with my daughter and all was well. Thursday, she walked out of rehab. She is now on the streets and, when she calls me, she lies and tries to manipulate me beyond my wildest dreams. Today, she texted me a simple message, Don’t worry Momma, everything will be ok, I promise. An hour ago, I received a call from a hospital that my daughter was there and asking for detox. I can only hope that we can find a sense of peace that has been lost for so long.

My reflection: Jeff was in active addiction for 14 years, and I did everything I could to force him to live a sober life. I threatened, cajoled, pleaded, wept, and wrung my hands. I punished, screamed, fought, ached, had nightmares and stuffed my emotions into my belly. None of this did any good.

Today’s Promise to consider: Jeff alone made the decision to change his life. When the consequences of his addiction became too painful, too unbearable, he chose sobriety. For today, I’ll stay close, but out of the chaos. I’ll pray that my addicted love one finds his own path to freedom.


TM.12 (2)A husband wrote to me: My wife has relapsed on alcohol after remaining sober for a period of twelve years. I am now the sole custodian of three children. This disease engulfs everyone in its path, including the addict and family. I have witnessed the progression of the disease from the perspective of the loving spouse, as well as through the lens of my children who battle on a daily basis through the scars of their mother’s addiction.

My reflection: Addiction destroys families. It breeds worry, helplessness and hopelessness. What happens to the children when a parent relapses? What happens to the spouse? No mother wants to hurt her children, and this story epitomizes the power of drugs.

Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction is a family illness and we all suffer. But through it all, I must protect my family. Today, I’ll take this disease out of the dark where it does its dirtiest work. I will open the lines of communication, and I’ll listen without judgment to my children and spouse as they share their feelings. I will provide a safe harbor.


TM (1)

Jeff, Granddad Cataldi, Grams Cataldi, Jeremy

My dad, who would have been 95 this month, didn’t understand addiction. He once pointed his finger at me and said, “Why don’t you tell him to stop, dammit? We can all see that he’s not right. Listen, daughter, you gotta do something. You gotta tell him to stop.” I just stared back at my dad and thought, “Don’t you think I’ve told him to stop, Dad? Do you think I can’t see that he’s not right? Don’t you think I’ve tried?” I didn’t say these things to my Marine Corps Drill Sergeant father.

My reflection: My father wasn’t an addict and for him addiction was non negotiable, something that shouldn’t exist in our family and a problem that ‘had to go.’ In his mind, I was the parent and I should have able to demand that my son quit using drugs. To Dad, it was black or white, two extremes, and Jeff’s behavior wasn’t acceptable and had to end.

Today’s Promise to consider: Many people think that addiction is a lack of character and a moral weakness and, with enough guts and grit, the person should be able to stop. Stop, dammit. My dad thought that way. I wish I had had the silver bullet or had know those magic words to make the destruction stop. Instead, addiction is a cunning, baffling and insidious disease that requires extreme patience, education, perspective and faith.