In 2009, we published Stay Close. Shortly thereafter, we launched a website and blog in order to create a community of support for all those suffering from the consequences of addiction. We started with a team of three dedicated people, who believed that we could make a difference. Jeff and I wrote weekly meditations, and Aamir Syed brought our vision to technological life.

Today, July 21, 2022, we celebrate Jeff’s 16th anniversary of sobriety. After suffering through a 14-year heroin addiction, he stands as a testament to the hope of recovery. A noble and gentle man, he is a good son, brother, and uncle; a productive businessman; and a loving friend to many.

On this significant day, with gratitude and grace, we’ve decided to close this chapter and stop writing Thursday Meditations. We thank you, our readers, for staying close all these years. You have humbled us with your outpouring of support and compassion, all the while sharing your stories of suffering and hope.

We also thank a team of talented artists, who helped us along the way with visual and technical support. We couldn’t have achieved our goals without Michele Borzoni, Mikele Roselli-Cecconi, Maria and Carolina Usbeck, Davood Madadpoor, George Burroughs and Lauren Giordano.

We thank John Boss, Jeff’s former sponsor, whose faith and wisdom continue to inspire us. Our beloved Dr. Patrick MacAfee has passed on, but not before he was able to help Jeff with compassion and love. He showed me, through his example, how to open my heart and understand the conundrum that is addiction. He taught us that only by taking addiction out of shadows and into the light can it be healed. He will be forever in our hearts, and his teachings will continue to light our way.

Our love to all of you. Stay Close.

Libby, Jeff, and Aamir


A mom wrote to me: I once read, “The worst thing for an addict is to see his/her reflection in other people’s eyes.” I know this to be true. My son was sober for almost two years, but when he relapsed he texted his girlfriend that he felt upset because he let everyone down. It proved to be fatal. I am devastated beyond belief and forever haunted.

My reflection: When I read this mother’s message, it hit me hard. Her words make total sense. Our loved ones look into our eyes and see the deep hurt in our hearts.

Today’s Promise to consider: “The eyes are the mirror of the soul and reflect everything that seems to be hidden; and like a mirror, they also reflect the person looking into them.” Our sensitive and suffering loved ones look into our eyes and see our sadness caused by their behavior, our disappointments in their progress, and our hurts with them as our children. This is sad and hard to avoid, but how could they not take this to heart? Today, I must be cognizant of the way I respond to my loved ones. I want them to see my love and hope.

  • quote, Paulo Coelho, Manuscript Found in Accra


A person in recovery wrote to me: The illness of alcoholism thrives in the dark and isolating world of silence. Let the light in and the glimmer of hope be seen. We say in AA that ‘we are as sick as our secrets.’ We are lucky to be able to talk freely to our fellow members and this helps us manage to keep the darkness at bay. I’ve found hope and inspiration in other literature like ‘The Road Less Travelled’ and ‘A New Pair of Glasses.’ In my opinion whatever works is a good thing!

My reflection: This young man’s words tell the hard facts of the illness, “Alcoholism thrives in the dark and isolating world of silence.” He knows from experience that the world of addiction lives in the unlit corners. We have so much to learn from those in recovery.

Today’s Promise to consider: When I was young, we didn’t talk about abortion, homosexuality, or even breast cancer. Today we talk about these things, and the conversations bring us closer to truth, compassion, and understanding. Dr. MacAfee often told me, “Only by bringing addiction out of the shadows and into the light can we hope to defeat it.” Today, I will learn more about addiction, go to Al-Anon or family-group meetings, and talk with professionals and those in recovery. I will not allow addiction to grow stronger in my silence.


A mother wrote to me: My son got arrested and we hired a lawyer, bailed him out, but he kept using and stealing. He got arrested again and bailed himself out. We knew he was dying so we asked the lawyer to have the judge put him back in jail. We told our son we would not bail him out, that we loved him but would no longer let his addiction destroy the family. All the love in the world was not enough to make him stop.

My reflection: Dr. MacAfee asked a young man, “What is your drug of choice?” The boy thought carefully and responded, “More.” MacAfee explained, “His answer was not an attempt at humor. Instead, the group answered with a consensus of silence, affirmative head nods. No addict ever intends to end up where he’s really going.”

Today’s Promise: Our suffering loved ones are trapped in the disease of addiction and, although it doesn’t always look like it, they loathe the life they are living. When my son started using drugs as an adolescent, he never thought about the future consequences of his use and how they would destroy his life and relationships. He never intended to ‘end up where he was going.’ I will not feel betrayed. I will not feel self-blame. I will Stay Close in love and prayer.


My son wrote this in Stay Close about getting and staying sober: I was terrified – faced with getting clean, again. With nothing but failed attempts to reference, sobriety felt impossible. It’s far easier to want to change your life than to actually do it. Following through with the process takes courage, and I was scared.

My reflection: Dr. MacAfee told me, “Your son knows how to live in addiction – in the chaos of court systems and legal problems. He knows how to lie, deceive, and manipulate. Now he needs to learn how to live a transparent life – how to live clean and honest, how to live with serenity.”

Today’s Promise to consider: It takes courage to change: Courage for our loved ones and courage for us. Dr. MacAfee explained that when the using stops a period of grief for all the lost time, the years gone by, the people hurt, the trail of destruction is inevitable. He said, “The grief will be hard, but it’s also a sweet time. Savor it.” As a parent, I, too, felt the grief of all the lost time, the years gone by, and the people hurt. Today I will have the courage to change the things I can. Instead of pointing out how others need to change, I’ll start with me.


A young man in recovery told me, 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 four or five hours to pick me up, and then left me somewhere. 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 fourteen years, I tried to force sobriety on my son in countless ways. I wept, yelled, bargained, and threatened. I would have sold my soul if that would have made the difference.

Today’s Promise: We can try to force our loved ones into sobriety, but with the majority of people coercion doesn’t work. People must be ready to change. It’s a deeply personal decision that can only be made by them. Today, I’ll encourage my loved one to attend an AA meeting or at least talk with someone in recovery. I’ve never seen coerced recovery work, but I have experienced the power of encouragement and ‘staying close.’


A young girl, with a crystal meth addiction, wrote to me: I am addicted again. It’s been two years since l relapsed. I am convinced everyone hates me. I constantly hear voices that tell me that they will kill me, I’m ugly, I’m disgusting or that l smell. Some days I have eight showers and other days it takes all day to have one. Most days, I don’t trust the water out of the tap. I can’t talk with my mom – I’m afraid the stress will kill her. My lifelong friends and family have nothing to do with me. I abuse my mom day and night, and I hate myself for this.

My reflection: What struck me most in reading this girl’s message was that, even in the midst of writing these rambling and tragic sentences, she is concerned about her mother. She loves her and doesn’t want to hurt her.

Today’s Promise: Our suffering loved ones often act in uncaring, selfish, manipulative, and abusive ways. While this might be true, as long as they are alive, they still exist underneath the disease. Their empathy and humanity are buried deep within as they grapple with their own demons.  I will remember this as I stay close, but out of the chaos of her addiction.


A mother wrote to me: It’s May 21st at 10:24 pm and about an hour ago I got a call that my daughter walked out of the rehab. Just today, I was telling my coworkers that I had such a good feeling about this rehab – a full one-year, Christian-based program. No outside contact, only immediate family. Twice I talked with her on the phone, and she loved it there. She didn’t even make it one full week.

My reflection: I lost count of how many times this happened with my son. He entered a rehab center and, after a week or two, he walked out. Hope smashed. We parents feel betrayed, and our dreams feel suffocated.

Today’s Promise to consider: Dr. MacAfee told me that that relapse is not always failure, “It can be a great stepping-stone that directs the individual toward her own understanding of loss of control of her use, and how much work yet needs to be fostered.” When our children accept help and enter rehab, we celebrate with trepidation, hoping this is the time long-term recovery will stick. Today, I will pray that if my child relapses she remains safe and is able to learn more about her illness. I will acknowledge the powerful hold that the drug has on her. I will stay close.


A young man in recovery wrote to me: Anger is a clear and abrupt signal that something is wrong. I’m learning to respond to my anger by:

1) Not reacting in the moment. When I feel “hot,” let it sit – like a baking tray coming out of the oven.

2) Examining the anger when I’ve cooled down. What about it caused me to respond so negatively? What role did I play in the situation? What insights do my sponsor and support group have?

3) Taking action. How can I respond in a wise and constructive way to the problem?

My reflection: When my son was in active addiction, there were countless times when I erupted in anger. I felt powerless and didn’t know what to do with the rage that engulfed me. My explosions helped no one – not me, my family, or my son.

Today’s Promise to consider: Anger is a normal response and, with addiction, one that seems to come easily. It can be constructive if it causes us to take good action, but it can also blind us from making smart choices. For me, I’ve learned that anger is usually a kind of fire blanket that covers up my deeper emotions of fear, insecurity, or hurt. Today, I won’t be overwhelmed by anger, but I will pause, think, and pray for clarity. Those persons in recovery have much to teach us. Let me try this young man’s three steps.


Dr. MacAfee explained: There is a difference between willingness to change and readiness to change. Many times, an individual has a moment of clarity when he becomes willing to see his situation, reaches out for help, or even stops using for a while. However, willingness doesn’t mean he is ready to stop. Moving from willingness to readiness happens when the consequences of using become more painful than the use itself. This begins the crises.

Today’s Promise to consider: This paradigm shift is made clear in my son’s words: I was done using and I knew it. Even my bones knew it. My obsession to use with control had disappeared. I saw where things were going and knew that if I didn’t stop, I was inches away from another devastating run. I’d been in the same space countless times before, and it always ended badly. Before getting out of bed, I called a friend from treatment who was still sober and active in the program. I explained my situation, and he understood. Things changed that day. 

Recovery is a painstaking process, a time of transformation when our loved one fundamentally changes from the person he was and becomes the person he wants to be. The decision to stop using is in his or her hands. Let us help, encourage, and support that decision.