22 HOURS AND 14 MINUTES

DSC02942Memorial Hermann Medical Center, Houston, Texas: Jeff and I were invited to speak at the Prevention and Recovery Center. Before our presentation, I passed through the audience as people began to fill the space, introducing myself and welcoming individually each person. I saw a young man about 24-years old, sitting alone, head down. When I approached him, he looked up skeptically, probably wondering what I wanted. I thanked him for coming and asked, “How long have you been sober?” He pulled up his shirtsleeve, looked at his watch and said, “22 hours and 14 minutes.”

My reaction: “That’s an accomplishment,” I said softly. “Jeff tells me one day is a huge effort. Congratulations. Keep coming back. We’re glad you’re here.” He smiled, looked again at his watch and never looked back at me. It didn’t matter. He was there; he came to hear us speak about hope and healing. I don’t know if he stayed sober or not, but since that day I’ve kept him in my good thoughts and prayers.

Today’s Promise to consider: The fight for sobriety takes many faces, but it is never easy. Victory is hard earned, one step at a time, one minute at a time, one day at a time or 22 hours and 14 minutes at a time. To all the recovering addicts who are continuing the fight, stay strong. We are with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jane
Jane
9 years ago

That young man was very lucky to have heard you and Jeff speak. Reading your book was very good for me at just the right time. I lend it out to all my Al Anon moms too. Let us know when you come to N Y again to speak.
Prayers for that young man and all other recovering addicts and their families
Jane

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

Thanks, Jane. Hope one day to meet you. I join you in prayer.

With love,

Libby

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

I agree with Jane. The young man was lucky to hear you and Jeff speak. If anyone can get through to an addict who is hurting, it is you and Jeff.

I remember when my son was in withdrawal after 24 hours of not getting his heroin fix. He told me that he had a migraine headache and he wanted to know how to get rid of it. He didn’t tell me he hadn’t had a fix, I just knew. Because, when an addict doesn’t get his fix, he gets headache withdrawals. And, they are severe headaches. The addict hurts all over. That’s why it’s so very difficult for them to get off of their roller coaster.

I feel so sorry for the young man in Houston. He was hurting so badly and he was looking for a pain-reliever. Libby and Jeff, you two were his pain reliever that day, and because of it, I pray he got sober.

With love,
Barbara

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Barbara, I love what you write, “He didn’t tell me…I just knew.” So many times it happens like this: They don’t tell us, but we know in our gut. My problem was that I often ignored my gut instinct, my ‘knowing,’ because I wanted to believe that he was good and telling me the truth.

Yes, I continue to pray for this young man, too. Maybe he’ll feel all our prayers.

Love to all,

L

JOY
JOY
9 years ago

This story is so ppwerful and beautiful Libby. I hope some day you write another book. There is so much healing and love in what you and Jeff and Jeremy continue to do. Those stories inspire us too.

My son has finally been arrested. We are not sure how much time he will do but it will be significant. I am worried about his withdrawal from opiates but i am relieved thinking maybe in jail he will have a chance for sobriety and methadone program and healing. If he ever asks we have found a good rehab program and made the decision we would “loan” him the money knowing there is no guarantee of program working or him repaying. But he will have to ask and he has to first do the time for what he has done. Will I ever get my son back ? Perhaps not. Will he ever be a recovering addict not ant addict that makes him guilty of criminal offence? I do not know. Will he he live? I do not know. I pray for him . All of them stlll suffering and all the brave ones who get up every day and are my heroes in their healing journey. And Barbara, Jane, anyone — any advice on what my best role would be while he is in jail would be gratefully appreciated. Do I write? Visit? I’m not sure my heart or my courage is big enough for that. I want to stay close but I’m trying to take care of us- my husband and I right now too. My dear mother who i’ve often had so many differences of opinion with over the years has been so supportive — praying for him, her grandson in a cell in jail. She is filled with love and compassion for him. That feels so good instead of the judgement he used to get which at one level I understood but used to hurt os much, It is an education for all family members and some never come round to seeing addiction as a disease . I have also reached out to friends I trust most and who’ve known about our long journey. I think we will need a lot of support. Love to you all. THX for listening as always.

Jane
Jane
9 years ago

Hello Joy. There are so many unanswered questions for many of us. I try to not ask those questions anymore but accept and deal with what is my reality for today. It has been a long journey with Al Anon to get to this place. So that is my only suggestion. Work the program and eventually you will notice your growth and healing. We make decisions day to day with the best intentions and hopefully pure motives. Self care is important. Do what You need to do to be gentle with yourself right now..
We are here for you. Trust that your son is in the right place at this point in time. Many have achieved sobriety in prison. A.A. Is there too

JOY
JOY
9 years ago

Thanks dear Jane. My answers to the endless questions are — I don’t know. And yes, the less asking the better. It is living in uncertainty always and that, I think has been the big lesson. Ever. We cannot know. After yesterday’s tragedy in Boston once again we know that life is unfair and uncertain. Praying for all of my US friends right now and families of victims. But I do try to remember love wins. Love always wins.Something someone posted on face book last night. We must all remember that. To keep loving him now is what I want to do. He called tonight and all I said is we love you and think of you and pray for you and hope that this is the start of a new beginning. That I know his basic goodness is still there, underneath the layers of pain and addiction. He said he is anxious and knows he is where he needs to be. That is a beginning. I’m trying to let go of not having support I wish I had from my sister. But just a phone call saying I love you and think of you and how is your heart. I know I have to give up that expectation. Thank God for friends and this place here. Al-anon— I might try again. Around here, we went to five different meetings and they were all wonderful we did not find any parents. We need more of a twelve step for parents of addicts. I know the steps are the same and everything but there is a fit that works and I’ll keep at it. I work my al-anon book every day and we have a new meeting to try out this Sunday. Thanks Jane. I hope the healing begins.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Dearest Joy,

You are heart-broken. Your son is in jail. I’m sorry. So very sorry. As Jane writes, “Be gentle with yourself.” What to do? Send money? Hire an attorney? When Jeff was in jail, I tormented myself with all these questions and more. I was in Italy and he couldn’t make or receive an international call. I was desperate. He stayed in jail for three weeks, until he bailed himself out (my son is very resourceful). When he got out, he was furious with me for not helping him, for not getting him out of jail, for not sending money and the list went on. I thought his time in jail would make a difference in his life. It didn’t. He went right back to heroin.

The questions remain: what to do, help or not and, above all, what does help look like? If there are concrete answers, I don’t know them. You are right – his basic goodness is still there, under the drugs. Sure he is anxious and scared; so was Jeff. But for Jeff, it wasn’t enough for him to change his life.

Although I have no answers, I agree with Jane that Al-Anon is important, talking is important, loving him is important and taking care of your soul is important. Addiction wants to isolate you. Don’t let addiction win!

You’ll soon know what are your next steps. You’ll know because you’ll know. Try to rest. Your son reached out to you and you know where he is.

We join you in prayer. With love,

L

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

Dearest Joy,

Oh, how I feel your pain, your anxiety, your fear. It’s a feeling of helplessness, but on the other hand, a feeling of peace. At least, you know where your son is. You know he’s going to get three meals a day, a bed to sleep on. When my son was arrested and put in jail, I was upset and cried. I cried, not because he was in jail, but, because I loved him so much.

It’s so difficult for us, as parents, to see our children in jail. It was so difficult for me, I only visited him one time. It was the ONLY time. I felt invaded while the guards searched me. I felt so belittled when they told me where to sit, where to stand, how to act, etc. I wasn’t the one who was in prison, so I never subjected myself to that again. I told my son how I felt about it and he totally understood.

I wrote letters all the time and I did send him goodie boxes in prison. They will send you a list of things they can and cannot have. The box which you send things in, must be a certain size or they will send it back to you (I actually had that happen to me). I don’t know why they have such strict rules on the box size, but they do.

Anyway, the best thing for you to do Joy, is what Libby has always said. Stay close but out of the way. I think there are many ways to stay close without subjecting yourself to the prison and jail systems. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to visit him. He needs to know that you are not the one who belongs in jail, even if it’s for a visit. Going to jail, whether it’s for a visit, is just that…..going to jail. And you should not have to subject yourself to the demeaning procedures set forth in our jails and prisons. It will only depress you and make you cry.

Good luck with everything, Joy. I will pray for you, your son, your family.

Love to all,
Barbara

Jane
Jane
9 years ago

Joy
I agree with everything Barbara said about her experience with jail. When my son was in jail the first time I also went once- to bail him out. It was a horrible experience for me, a punishment for me. I felt so sad and depressed afterwards and said I would never do it again. The next time he was arrested for a DUAI he was in jail again and we did not bail him out. He stayed there for a week and called every day crying. It was hard to stick to our guns but we did and he was released and mandated to court appearances and an outpatient program. The lawyer that he was assigned even called me to persuade us to bail him out. I told her no and suggested she learn something about addiction.
I found that I could not do court appearances and jail visits at all. It affected me too much. Make decisions that protect you right now while staying close. Staying close yet getting out of the way seems like contradictory statements yet they are not. You can stay close by praying for him and writing letters and telling him you love him. Getting out of the way means you let him handle his consequences without trying to insert your solutions.
As for AlAnon keep trying to find a group that feels right. My group has a good mix of parents, but the other members shares are just as helpful too.
Praying for you Joy
Jane

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Thanks, Barbara and Jane.

Jane, your words are perfect, “You can stay close by praying for him and writing letters and telling him you love him. Getting out of the way means you let him handle his consequences without trying to insert your solutions.”

Love to all. Joy, praying hard for you and your family.

L

joy
joy
9 years ago

I am so grateful for this love and support and especially your experiential wisdom .I will not visit in jail. I have made that decision thanks to your words — and that feels better. My husband says he will put his name on the list if he wants and go. I will write — I already have — he wanted pictures of his son — and of course at a whole other level that is where my true heartbreak lies. Thank you Libby once again for the perfect words –for naming my heart break and all of you knowing the fear and where I am. The sentencing is Monday — I have a work presentation to get through today — I wanted to cancel but something Libby said again –about addiction wanting to isolate us made me think no — go on — do the work —- you still can do work you do —I feel like I am fraudlent sometimes but my husband says we all have to put on brave faces and keep on keepin on and that is not fake but necessary. I will be going to communion for the first time since my brother died last year. I’ve missed it but I am so overcome in church I almost panick thinking I will wail and they’ll carry me out screaming. Anyhow, LOVe wins. Thank you all. Once more. I feel so taking here not giving. Maybe some day. JOy onwards.