My son wrote about his first recovery center: I was told that recovery required vigilance and a long-term commitment, that in order to stay sober I’d have to attend regular AA meetings and work with a sponsor. At the time I didn’t realize sobriety was an ongoing process. I wasn’t yet ready to do the work. Although my drug use was causing problems, it wasn’t devastating.

My reflection: My son saw the problems that drugs were causing, but he wrote that he wasn’t ready to do the work because the consequences of his using weren’t debilitating, yet. With an illness like cancer or diabetes, we must choose to fight and to do the work required to keep the illness under control, like eating well, taking medicine, or exercising. When I had cancer, I had to choose to fight it; when my son was in the throes of addiction, he also had to choose. He wasn’t ready.

Today’s Promise: Like treatment for any major illness, sobriety requires learning new behaviors. For the addict, attending AA meetings, working with a sponsor and cultivating a spiritual life are where it begins. My son had to choose to do this work. I couldn’t do it for him. In time, I learned how to stay close but out of the chaos of his addiction. I had to give him the dignity of his choices. 


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CarollibbycataldiPhil ColamarinoNancy Recent comment authors
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Dear Libby,
I read each of your Thursday messages. They help me remember how to be the right kind of support for me daughter who is now 11 months sober. Just want to let you know how much these messages mean to me. They are full of love and understanding and are a great addition to the book you wrote about your son’s addiction. That book gave me hope! Thank you and thank your son for me, too. His honest additions in the book really taught me the side of addiction I wasn’t privy to.
Love, Nancy

Phil Colamarino
Phil Colamarino

When we found our son using, I assumed forcing him to a 30 day program would solve the problem. Only after much discovery did I realize and come to believe I was way off the mark. The two things we all need to realize and that you point out so well, are that 1 – the addict MUST be ready to fight for his/her sobriety (and often their lives). 2- that to reach and sustain sobriety is a long term commitment not a quick fix. The weird thing is that in my son’s (our) program, the whole family was expected… Read more »


My son has been a Meth addict for around 19 years. He has had a total of 3 plus years of being clean, in 2 court ordered rehabs. Always lasts about 6 weeks, when he goes back to it. Started Self medicating in 9th grade, after years of ritalin. Tried other drugs, and drinking, but nothing worked for him but Meth. He recently had a horrific motorcycle accent, by hit and run driver. He lost his left leg, and almost his left arm. Fortunately, with 6hr surgery, they were able to save his arm. Long story short, the crime against… Read more »