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Photo Credit: Mikele Roselli-Cecconi

A recovering addict told me, You know, you can’t force sobriety on anybody. Cause Mum tried everything. She gave me money, didn’t give me money, made me go to rehab, didn’t make me go to rehab, drove down four or five hours to pick me up, and on the other hand left me somewhere. Nothing worked. No matter how many rehabs I’ve done or how many counselors or meetings I went to, I never got it, until one day I was just sick of it and had enough. 

My reflection: Over the years, I tried countless ways to force sobriety on Jeff. I threatened him that if he didn’t go to rehab I would never give him another cent or allow him to come home again. One time, I told him that I would cut him out of my will. I cried, yelled and bargained. I would have sold my soul if that would have made the difference.

Today’s Promise to consider: We can try to force our loved ones into sobriety, and it might work for some. For my son, it never did. I learned that it didn’t matter if the treatment center had a swimming pool, horseback riding or massages. I learned that my son had to be ready to change, and that happened when the pain of his using became too much for him to bear. I thank God every day that he came back home to himself and us.



IMG_TM (1)Jeff gave me a book for Christmas and this morning I read, If you are unable to take care of yourself, how can you take care of anyone else? How can you take care of the person you love? When you are here for yourself, when you have reestablished some basic order and peace within yourself, then you can take care of your son, your daughter, your partner, or your friend. But if you are not able to be here for yourself, it will not be possible for you to be here for them. That’s why you must come back to yourself.

(You are Here, Thich Nhat Hanh, pg. 58) 

My reflection: When Jeff was in the throes of his addiction, I was not present for myself, nor was I present for anyone else – not Jeremy, not Tim, not my parents, not even Jeff. How could I be there for someone else when I was drowning in my own pain and confusion, and choking on my own anger and resentment. On the rare occasion that I did something for myself, I felt guilty.

Today’s Promise to consider: We, parents of addicted children, invariably lose ourselves in the endless string of negative consequences addiction brings with it. As a result, we are not present for ourselves, our struggling loved ones or our family members. Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that taking care of ourselves must be a priority so that we are able to take care of those around us. Today, I will do something kind for myself.



Photo Credit: Mikele Roselli-Cecconi

A recovering addict told me, When you’re an addict, you don’t think about anybody else. No one. The only thing you think about is drugs and getting high. And I didn’t realize until getting healthy how much the families of addicts suffer. They have emotions. We’re addicts, we’re numb to everything, we’re medicated away from society, away from emotions. I don’t know how my mum and sister lived with those kinds of emotions for so long. 

My reflection: When Jeff was sick with addiction, I couldn’t understand how this child of mine – so elegant and cultured – could be living in his car, shooting heroin into his neck and getting arrested time and time again. He went into the same detox center so often the intake officer told him, “Get out of here. We’re not a hotel.” He hit countless bottoms. I couldn’t imagine it getting worse. It always did. 

Today’s promise to consider: Our loved ones don’t think about us when they’re on the chase for the high. They are totally focused on getting and using drugs. We, as family, don’t enter their minds, and on the rare occasions that we do, the pursuit of drugs silences our voices. I’ll stay close and wait for him to remember that he is loved.





DSC02685.JPGA mother wrote to me: My son earned his college degree in May, but a few months later his life was spiraling out of control. He ended up in his first rehab in September. Soon after entering, he walked out even though we begged him to stay. A few months later, he entered his second rehab and walked out again, saying that he would try outpatient group. Then he was on suboxone and had to report to a group once a week. He entered another rehab last summer for a month, trying to get clean again. He came out of rehab his old self. When he is sober, he has a heart of pure gold!

My reflection: Our children are alive under the drugs, but the chaos of their using inevitably fogs all that is good, turning their best qualities against them. It is hard to remember their gentleness, especially when our loved one has been using for a long time. Addiction steals our child’s soul and gobbles his heart.

Today’s Promise to consider: I will not allow addiction to win. My child is alive under the drugs and I will not give up hope. I know my son’s heart is compassionate, loving and kind. I will stay close, pray and wait until he throws off the chains of his addiction and comes home to himself and to us.