person-1140x641A mom sent me a letter from her son: Dear Mom, As I look at the past, I can only imagine the pain I’ve caused you. I’m sorry for every hurt. Today, I’m 23 days sober and there is so much I wish I could change, but I can’t do anything about it. All I can do is to try my hardest to accept where I am now, to do my best to succeed from here on out, and to be a son again to you and Dad. I’m treating this as if I am being reborn and need to learn how to live. Thank you for still believing in me and keeping faith. I choose life!

My reflection: What made this young man choose life? His mom wrote that he had been in, “10 rehabs, 12 years of addiction, PCP, heroin, opiates, Hepatitis C, STD’s, you name it, flat lined several times.” I’ve heard many recovering addicts tell me that the most dire consequences of their addiction brought them to sobriety.

Today’s Promise to consider: This young man wrote, “I’m 23 days sober and there is so much I wish I could change. Today, I choose life.” As parents, watching our child suffer is counterintuitive to everything we believe is our role. But with addiction, we need to get out of the way and allow him to feel the consequences of his addiction. For me, I will love my son, stay close and pray he chooses life.


Uncle Jeff and niece Iysa

Uncle Jeff and niece Iysa

A mother wrote to me: I am the mother of a heroin addict. He is 18 years old and living at home. We have been through a lot over the last two years, but I’m afraid that we are just at the beginning of his addiction. He has been in and out of rehab centers because we’ve forced him to go. He believes he can overcome his addiction on his own; he won’t go to AA or get any help. I fear the future. I am worn down, both emotionally and physically. 

My reflection: Can an addict get clean without help? After my son’s second recovery center, he said, “If you’re not working against addiction, it returns. It’s inevitable. The time in treatment was helpful, but it was too early for me. The consequences of my use had been minimal and I was convinced that I could control my using. I refused to accept that drugs had become bigger than I was.”

Today’s Promise: Sobriety is a choice that only our loved one can make. Addiction professionals and the Big Book of AA say that sobriety is best achieved by diligently working a program of recovery. I will encourage my loved one to get help. I pray he fights for his own sake, and ours.



Photo Credit: Patrisha Lauria

Jeff sent me a passage from a Taoist book he’s reading: Like water, we’re encouraged to follow the gentlest path through life. In the face of obstacles, let us be fluid and flow downward to bend around trees and fallen branches. And when encountering rocks, let us rise like water vapor to float across the sky. 

(paraphrased, Eva Wong, Being Taoist: Wisdom for Living a Balanced Life, 2015)

My reflection: When Jeff sent me this passage, I reflected on his fourteen years of active addiction and realized that I was anything but water flowing gently. I fought the addiction with every ounce of my being. True, it did me no good and I stopped nothing. I was neither powerful nor strong enough to stop the destruction.

Today’s Promise to consider: With addiction, is it possible to follow a gentle path? Can I be subtle as vapor and rise above such heavy obstacles? I must stop getting mired in things I can’t control. For today, I will do my best to handle adversity with grace and objectivity. I will let go of anxiety and suffering. Join me?



IMG_0222A recovering addict wrote to a friend, who had relapsed, I’m sorry you fell off the wagon. Get back in. Stop drinking and go to a meeting. Don’t show up drunk. You have to nip this in the bud because it will get worse. Go to 90 meetings in 90 days. I guarantee you that you’ll be in a much better state of mind. Ask someone to be your sponsor, someone who has time and who seems like they’re living the life you want. You’ll be surprised by how many friends you make in a short amount of time, the type of friends that will really be there for you when you need their help.

My reflection: There is help available to those suffering from addiction. AA isn’t the answer for everyone, but it is a program that has worked for millions of people. The 12 steps provide scaffolding for a way of living within a base of spirituality, and the AA community provides support from people who have walked the walk.

Today’s Promise to consider: I thought I could guide my son along his path to recovery, but no matter how hard I tried or how much I learned, I realized that I couldn’t be his ‘go to’ person. He found the help he needed from people who knew firsthand his suffering.


jeff_TMA mom wrote to me: I tried everything humanly possible to save my son. And then I let go. I have so much love and gratitude for the peace I am now experiencing. I have no illusions for tomorrow. I went to three funerals of young people in ten days.

My reflection: I, too, tried everything humanly possible to stop my son’s addiction. I paid to get him out of trouble, forced him into recovery, and tracked him down whenever he couldn’t be found. After fourteen years of trying to control my son’s addiction, I surrendered with love.

Today’s Promise to consider: It was only after acknowledging that I did everything in my power to stop Jeff’s addiction, was I able to let go. It was sobering, but crucial for me to realize that no matter how much of myself I poured into his illness, the choice to stop was his alone. When I surrendered with love, I felt peace.