TM_2592 (1)A mother wrote to me: Today, I’m grateful. My son, who has been addicted for years, finally chose to turn his life around after he was shot in a drug deal. He still carries the bullet an inch from his spine, too risky to remove. He has ten months sober and is living in a sober house. It’s all such a blur to me now, but today he’s good. One day at a time.

My reflection: It’s easy to drown in the baffling chaos that is addiction, but gratitude can serve as an emotional life raft in the face of it. Even if this day is full of sorrow, gratitude helps me to identify the many positive things in my life – as simple as some of them might be.

Today’s Promise to consider: Today, Jeff is good and our family is stronger for all we’ve suffered through. I would never say that I’m grateful for addiction, but I am grateful for the lessons learned. Despite what pop culture tells us, happiness is something we work for and I must decide every day to work for it. Gratitude is the gateway. Our family wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving.


151116093730-01-paris-attack-reaction-1116-super-169-2A friend in Europe wrote to me, The atmosphere here is filled with both fear and anger after what happened in Paris. How can there be so much hatred in this world? We worry about who is next. My mother and father remember WWII and the fighting on our soil, the starvation and the prisoners of war. I never thought I’d live to see this day. I’ve never had to struggle this much to stay optimistic and compassionate.

My reflection: Fear is a natural human response, and I’m struggling with how to confront the atrocities that are occurring in our world. Anger, sorrow, anxiety, confusion and deep sympathy collide together as I search for the response that makes sense for me and mine. I remember well the fear that I felt in the face of addiction. Addiction wanted to terrorize me, and it did. Acting out of fear, I wasn’t any good to Jeff, myself or my family.

Today’s Promise: The ugliness of addiction wants to cripple me with fear. So does terrorism. Today, I say aloud that I won’t allow evil to submerge me in the miasma of chaos and dread. I won’t give fear this power over me. I stand in solidarity with humanity as we face the forces that terrorize us.


Photo Credit: Mikele Roselli-Cecconi

Photo Credit: Mikele Roselli-Cecconi

An Italian friend, whose brother is in recovery, wrote to me, Some days ago I read a Raymond Carver poem:

And did you get what

you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself

beloved on the earth. 

I hope that all our suffering with addiction, for our family and for my brother, will let him know how much we love him and will push him to love himself – just as he is, without masks and without hating his fragilities and his fears. I hope he will be comforted by our love.

My reflection: What a beautiful gift this young woman wants to give to her brother, the gift of feeling beloved. We, who love those struggling with addiction, have the opportunity to comfort them and provide a safe emotional space in a world that often shames and punishes them.

Today’s Promise to consider: It is undeniable that addiction causes pain and suffering to all of us, both the addict and those of us who love them. From across the ocean, in a message from a friend in Italy, I am reminded today to pray that my loved one feels beloved and that, one day, he will love himself even with his fragilities and fears.




IMG_0787 copyWhen you meet a clean drug addict

You meet a hero.

Their mortal enemy slumbers within them:

They can never outrun their disability.

They make their way through a world of drug abuse,

In an environment that does not understand them.

Society, puffed up with shameful ignorance,

Looks on them with contempt,

As if they were a second-class citizen

Because they dare to swim against the stream of drugs

But you must know:

No better people are made than this.

~Friedrich von Bodelschwingh 1831-1910

My reflection: Addicts are often considered second-class citizens, junkies, losers and scourges in the community. While it’s true that our loved ones in active addiction are not contributing to society, it’s also true that when they find the strength to live in sobriety, they return to life with a commitment to service, to help others and to make a difference.

Today’s Promise to consider: It takes courage for someone addicted to drugs to pick himself up and to change his life. It takes strength for him to live a life of abstinence. It takes grace for him to serve others and to give back. Today, when I meet a person in recovery, I’ll tip my hat in honor of his journey.