by libbycataldi under family

I remember well the Christmas when my son didn’t come home:
During the holidays of 2006, when Jeff didn’t come home for our large Italian family gatherings, no one knew what to do or say. Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends didn’t know whether to ask about my addicted son or whether it would kinder to leave him out of the conversation. At Christmas Eve Mass, my older brother bent toward me and asked softly, “How’s Jeff?” I swelled with tears, tried to speak, but no words came. He nodded and turned toward the altar. I kept my head down and prayed.

My reflection: The holidays put the addict on center stage when the accumulated chaos of his or her life, and ours, is excruciatingly public. It is during these gatherings of joy that addiction taunts and mocks us most.

Today’s Promise to consider: During the holidays, addiction can severely isolate us. We come face-to-face, over and over again, with the reality that our lives are not as joyful as Hallmark’s greeting cards tell us they should be. I will avoid this toxic place by being compassionate with myself, with others and my loved ones. I will find my serenity in honesty and prayer. I will not allow addiction to rob me of my peace.

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Diane ZelenakjoyAnn Recent comment authors
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Thank you always for your stories and insight. This is the second year my son will not be home for Christmas. Last year he was in his 4th inpatient rehab and this year he is incarcerated. To add to my sadness , this year my dear mom passed away. It feels very lonely this holiday . My prayer for my son ,as he sits in jail, is that his brain begins to heal and he can look forward to having a sober life. I thank God there was a police officer nearby to administer Narcan the night he OD. I… Read more »


There is so much hope for new beginnings and miracles do happen.. I remember those Christmases- missing and incarceration — we are still recovering and always will be from days of active addiction—and yes the fall out for the past is still painful —and sometimes I am heart sick for all that cannot be undone — but that where faith enters–to go forward in hope eternal and gratitude that my son is in our ives, alive, healthier than was and doing the hard work of recovery. Think of everyone this tome of year and especially grateful for Libby— and the… Read more »

Diane Zelenak
Diane Zelenak

I really appreciated your comments about addiction and the holidays. I have to add that addiction goes well beyond the grave. My brother John died from alcoholism over a year ago and the effects are still active. There has been so much denial through the years, even my own denial that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. My brother’s son will still not admit his dad was an alcoholic. I struggle with my nephew, his wife, their 2-year-old son. I don’t even think it will bother me if I don’t see them this year after things that… Read more »