Cousins: Kevin, Tricia, Diana, Jeff

Cousins: Kevin, Tricia, Diana, Jeff

A mom wrote to me: My cousin’s son is 22 and battling alcoholism. She just visited and, even though she didn’t want to talk about it, I could see the pain she was going through. As a mother of sons, I am grateful that my sons have never had a problem with alcohol or drugs, but I know that it is the luck of the draw. Addiction can happen to anyone. It’s everywhere and it affects families in every walk of life.

My reflection: This mother’s words brought back a difficult memory for me. In Stay Close, I wrote, Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, no one knew what to do. During the Christmas of 2006, when neither son came home for our large Italian family gatherings, my brothers didn’t know what to say. They didn’t even know whether to invite me to the festivities. The cousins were confused; could they ask about Jeff or would it be kinder to leave him out of the conversation?

Today’s Promise to consider: Research says that for every one addict at least four others are affected. Addiction’s consequences are far-reaching and destructive. Those who love us see our pain, even without us saying a word. They don’t know whether to talk with us about the problem or to stay silent. Addiction is confusing and suffocating. Today, I’ll be communicative and compassionate with my family and friends as we stumble together down this road.


IMG_TMA dad told me, While visiting my son in a halfway house, I was impressed with the community of support around him. “If you feel yourself slipping or getting into the danger zone,” I asked my son, “what should I say to you to help?” He answered, “Nothing. If I need help, I need to reach out to these people around me, who know my walk.” I felt relieved when he said this to me because I just want to be his dad.

My reflection, This dad was grateful when he realized his son was taking responsibility for his recovery by reaching out to his AA or NA community for help. As parents, we put huge pressure on ourselves to solve our children’s problems and lift them from the chaos the drugs create – when in reality, we’re not best suited for the job.

Today’s Promise to consider, For as much as I want to offer my son support and words of wisdom, I admit that the programs of AA and NA are far more helpful in providing access to people who are also on the path of sobriety. I’m just his mom, the person who will always love him.






Photo credit: Mikele Roselli-Cecconi

Photo credit: Mikele Roselli-Cecconi

A mother wrote to me: My husband and I were always here with our kids, but it seems to me that lots of kids who were on their own did better. Many of our neighborhood children grew up with our kids, and they all very successful. How did mine turn out to be an addict?

My reflection: This is a question I asked myself for years. I have two sons: one is addicted to heroin and the other isn’t. The kids in the neighborhood seemed to turn out OK. Why my son? What did I miss? What could I have done differently? Many parents ask themselves these same questions.

Today’s Promise to consider: Today, I accept the validity of all my diverse feelings. I refuse to hide my confusion, isolate myself, and keep the secret and the shame. I hate the addiction, but I will release myself from feeling that I failed my son. I did my best and there is no blame.





Grandchild Iysa

Grandchild Iysa

A friend asked me, Is sobriety a result of will power or spiritual awakening? He continued, some people are said to have found sobriety through will power. They simply stop using drugs. In the Big Book, however, the thought is that sobriety is the result of a spiritual awakening.

My reflection: I asked Dr. MacAfee, who said, A lot of people go cold turkey, but this strategy rarely works over the long term. The disease of addiction is rooted in emptiness and cold turkey doesn’t fill the void within. A spiritual awakening is about belonging, finding our place in the world and connecting with the life-giving spirit inside us. 

Today’s Promise to consider: Many experts believe that addiction is rooted in emptiness – in discontentment, not belonging and in disconnection. Cold turkey and will power are commendable, but they’re often not recipes for sustained sobriety and a holistic life. I pray that my loved will learn to fill the emptiness inside him in an environment of love and camaraderie. I pray that he finds a sense of belonging to the universal energy that’s within all of us.




Photo credit: Mikele Roselli-Cecconi

Photo credit: Mikele Roselli-Cecconi

A recovering addict wrote, Things couldn’t be better for me. I’m almost nine months sober, very active in a 12-step program and working at Apple. Life is drama free and I’m keeping things as simple as possible. No sex and relationships for a year! I volunteer to be of service, and I even pray and meditate daily – most days that is. Life has finally smoothed out. No more daily pain and depression. I’m involved and present with my family and loved ones. I’m well, content! Can you believe it?? It took long enough! But I was blessed with the gift of desperation…finally! And I was ready for change. So here I am!

My reflection: This young man’s renewed enthusiasm for life is inspiring. He wrote that he was blessed with the gift of desperation which is something The Big Book of AA points to as a profound turning point in many lives. The desperation of drowning in pain caused by active addiction is a powerful force and provided him the willingness to make some crucial changes.

Today’s Promise to consider: Addicts are not the only ones who are blessed with the gift of desperation. When my son was at his worst, I, too, was desperate, and it was at that moment that I learned to surrender. Today, I pray that all our loved ones, who are suffering with addiction, will be gifted with the strength to start on the road to a healthy life. And I pray for all of us, who love them, for our peace.