CELEBRATING SIX YEARS SOBER

July 21, 2006: Jeff made the decision not to go back to an addicted life.

In the last chapter of Stay Close, I wrote: Jeremy once asked, “Momma, how will you end the story about Jeff?” I admitted, “I don’t know, Jer. It’s not my story to end.” His answer was clear, “But that’s the point. We don’t know what will happen to Jeff, but no one can ever take away our hope. You have to end the story in hope.” And we will.

Six years ago, Jeff made the decision to live a sober life and our family is deeply grateful. We remain humble, knowing that there is no finish line with the journey that is recovery, but we also know that gratitude and joy are essential parts of being alive. Celebrations are important.

Dear Jeff, We’re grateful you came home to yourself and to us. You had the courage to fight for your life, and your courage continues as you choose again each day. We learn from you. We learn from your strength, resolve, commitment and spirituality. You’ve accomplished much in these six years, and you have many dreams yet to achieve. Happy Anniversary, Jeff!


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Pat Nichols
10 years ago

Many of us have children who are chronically addicted to drugs. A level of addiction which has clearly become a mental illness. I am witness to this illness as I listen to my child’s unique manner of communication and mannerisms which has been slowly formed over twenty years of addiction which has had a dramatic impact on his mind, body and spirit due to the mind altering chemicals. The brain can only take so much and then parts of it die.

The chronically addicted child is no longer recognizable and therefore not understood or accepted by the culture he once resided in. This hinders and likely blocks recovery.

Acceptance of the disease of addiction as a brain disease is vital in supporting our child’s recovery attempt(s) as well as grieving the loss of the child of our dreams.

The celebration of Jeff’s sixth year of being in remission is a true miracle. I rejoice in his celebration of his new life and all that it means to his family and friends.

I pray for all those who suffer from this disease and I pray that one day our society will understand addiction and the brave battles each child and their parents fight on a dally basis.

Katherine
Katherine
10 years ago

Yes that is something to celebrate! 6 years, good for you Jeff!–What a blessing for you and your family! Libby, I am so thankful that you have shared this glorious moment on your site.

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

Libby —my heart sings reading this post of gratitude and celebration with your soulfull humility
Love love love to Jeff, admiration for such faith and courage– Jeff you are the one who has reached this healing place and your story lights up my dark nights with hope that my son might one day celebrate an anniversary like this
Gratitude for those blessed professionals who have supported you in your recovery and ongoing journey -the angels who lead us
And to your whole family who helps and heals us through a willingness to share so honestly feelings and insights —
you may never know how many lives you have touched and made better. This is indeed an anniversary of hope. Hope. Yes, hope.
Much needed this day. Every day. Always.

This post made me think of Leonard Cohen;s lines

Ring the bell that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

A lot of light getting in here— – shine on. Ring that celebration bell.

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Congratulations Jeff!! Six years of sobriety and counting! Your mother is so proud of you and even though I have never met you, I am too. It was you who made the decision to get sober, it was you who has stayed sober, it was you who has accomplished much in your life.

The most powerful thing you can do with the rest of your life is to tell your story. And, I know that you and your Mom have/are doing just that. Both of you are doing God’s work. Both of you are angels on a journey.

Jeff, I hope you have 6 more years of sobriety and then 6 more, and 6 more.

You have much more yet to accomplish.

Love,
Barbara

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Pat,

I can feel your pain as I read your posting. How I wish I could take the pain away. Addiction strangles the addict’s brain. Yes, it alters their minds because of the mind altering chemicals. This can change their personality, but once the chemicals are ceased, our minds have the ability to remember when it wasn’t on the chemicals. If the addict works very hard to stay sober, I believe, the mind that wasn’t on drugs, can dominate it once again.

My son was addicted for over 20 years. I had to actually tell my son that I had to wash my hands of him. It was my only survival. I knew I had to do that or I would surely perish, along with my marriage. We as parents have to make some really tough decisions. I knew that if I lived for my son, and not for myself, my daughter, and my husband, my life would fall apart. Telling my son that I had to let him go, was the toughest decision I ever had to make. That decision didn’t kill my son. Addiction killed him.

It is ultimately the addict’s decision to want and find sobriety. Jeff can certainly attest to that!

I’m not sure if society will ever understand addiction and how our children battle it every day. To educate society on the horrors of addiction would be a monumental task, not to mention its monetary pitfall. I wish our schools had more funding for such needed education, but that’s another problem.

We as parents, can try to make a difference any way we can, whenever we can, no matter how small it is.

Pat, I really appreciate your contributions to this forum. Your realism is in all your postings, and because of it, I learn from you.

I wish you the best of healing.

Respectfully yours,
Barbara

Jane
Jane
10 years ago

I appreciate everything that has been said here by all of you.. Congratulations to Jeff and his family. Thank you Pat for your insight.
Thank you Hope for the poem- we all have cracks of various magnitudes.
God Bless Libby and Jeff for the sharing of their journeys which brought us all here as well.
Be well all
Jane

Nanci
Nanci
10 years ago

There is very little I can say, as Barbara, Hope, Jane and Pat have so eloquently (albeit) painful, have stated. I feel so connected to you, as we continue to fight for recovery (on all levels).
Congratulations, Jeff on this tremendous feat. What a huge accomplishment. Your story, along with your family’s experience with addiction has been so helpful to so many of us. You and your family have given us hope, strength, and courage, at times when we were feeling so fragile and emotionally broken. I admire your strength and courage and will continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Today is about YOU, Jeff!
With love,
Nanci

Pat Nichols
10 years ago

Barbara,

You are a blessing to this forum. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

In fact, everyone who comments here is repected by me.

This forum is very similar to my parent support group; the moment a new parent enters the room they are immediately accepted as part of the fmmily. They are understood and loved.

I remember early last year when one of our parent’s son had overdosed and not expected to live. Numerous members of our group went to the hospital, held hands with the mom and prayed with her. Her son lived and has remained clean for over a year.

No one here is a stranger if you have a child who suffers from the disease of addiction.

Blessings to all of you.

Susan
Susan
10 years ago

Thank you for sharing the celebration of Jeff’s six year victory… Congratulations to your family – Your story is inspirational. The trials and tribulations you have been willing to share, have and will continue to lead to much good.

Susan
Susan
10 years ago

Here is a prayer that “found me” today:

Heavenly Father, walk through my house and take away all worries and illness, and please, watch over and heal my family and friends. Bring quiet where there is chaos, bring light where there is darkness and put love in our hearts. Amen.

(My son is currently in treatment – I am thankful that he is alive and hopeful that he will find peace in recovery; one day at a time.)

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

I came here this morning to read –as I often do and I read Barbara’s words of love and support for Pat. We realize we have some very hard decisions to make in the days ahead. A second relapse within a month. This is not supporting his recovery. This is enabling his addiction. We must ask him to leave. He has nowhere to go. Please send your prayers to guide us along.
Gratitude and love love to you all. Thank you Barbara and all.

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Susan,

Thank you so much for the prayer you posted. I will pray it every single day until I die. I will also pray that your son begins to heal his heart and soul while he is in treatment. He is where he needs to be, one day at a time.

Love to you,
Barbara

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear All,

As I read your comments and hear your wisdom, I cherish each of you. We’ve created a little community based on love, support, truth and hope. We share our suffering and fears, trusting that others will understand. And we do.

This entry about Jeff’s anniversary was difficult for me to write. In fact, Jeff has never given me permission to write a celebratory message before. This is the first, even though this is the sixth. When I asked him if I could write something this year, he hesitated, thought and said, “I think it would be OK. Why not, right?” I chose each word carefully, wanting to celebrate his fight and courage, but also knowing the deep trauma that is addiction. We all know that nothing is guaranteed. We all know that Jeff must choose again tomorrow. We all know that all I can do is pray he chooses well for himself. I can’t forget the everlasting pain of his 14 years or the damage done in addiction’s wake.

I reach out to each of you with love and thanks for being here. Thanks Barbara, for mighty wisdom, earned through the deepest pain a mother can know. Your words are gentle, full of love and your honesty teaches us all.

My love to you all. We’ll join hands and pray for all our children and loved ones. Yes, Jeff is a miracle and his story, today, gives us hope. I pray that tomorrow is another good day. I pray for all our children.

With love and respect,

L

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

My dear Hope,

I’ve been in your shoes. It’s not easy making any decision let alone making a decision regarding our loved one who is an addict. When I had to tell my son that I had to let him go, I had to tell him that he could no longer live with us and he needed to find another place to live. I had to tell him that I would not be giving him any money. When I had to tell him all these things, I was scared to death. But I had to do it. After he used up all of his friends and family (yes, even my own family) he ended up hopping from one homeless shelter to another. When he wasn’t in jail or prison, he was with his “so called” friends. Only his friends were also drug addicts.

My son had to learn and live life on his own. What was the end result of that, is not anyone’s fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault because all he cared about was how he was going to get his next heroin fix. I actually find solace in the fact that he doesn’t have to struggle with finding it anymore.

Libby always says to stay close but out of the way. It’s the best advice anyone can give you. If something happens while “you’re out of the way”, it’s not your fault.

I will pray rosaries for you and your son.

With love,
Barbara

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear Barbara,

My respect for you grows greater each day. My love to you, dear friend.

Your entry reminds me of something Jeff said, “An addict isn’t afraid to die. An addict is afraid to go the next day without drugs.” He also said, “I never thought about you when I was on the streets. I wanted to keep you out of the way. I was going to do what I was doing to do.”

Jeff had to get well for himself. I had to get out of the way. Only at the end when I stayed close, but didn’t give him money, didn’t give him a place to live, didn’t give him anything but my love (“Fight, Jeff. You have to find the strength inside of you.”) did HE choose. He didn’t choose for me; he chose for himself.

Nothing is easy with addiction. Prayers for all of us and our loved ones.

Nanci
Nanci
10 years ago

Dear Hope,
Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Like Libby always says, we must join hands and pray for ourselves and our loved ones.
We have all been in your shoes. There is nothing easy about what is in front of you; however, we are all here to support you and to share our experience, strength and hope.
God Bless and please try to take care of yourself.
Nanci

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

Tomorrow is the day we tell him he must go. Because he is so obviously in withdrawal, we have to be careful. We’ve rehearsed our talk. We thought we had a window and opportunity for healing. I really really REALLY had hope there. We offered him a space to heal and recover. He was so SO motivated after those two weeks in jail. I was so glad to have him back under my roof, where I could at least know where he was. I had to tell my other son what was happening tonight-he is his older brother and lives away and like Libby’s Jeremy, he has suffered much because of his brother’s disease. He cried on the phone. He is 37 and he cried like a child. Mum ,he will start doing needles next. He will die. Yes, I said, there is a very high chance of that. When you call tomorrow, just tell him you love him ,that is all. All we can do.
I can’t sleep and I came here and here were all your prayers. Thank you Libby, Thank you Jeff. Thank you Barbara for rosaries and Nanci for prayers. Barbara I do tell myself we have done everything in our power and we have to get out of the way. I have no more hope the end of the story will be healing. But God grant me the strength to live through what comes next. Love love love to you all. I’ll keep the name of Hope. Just because I am afraid if I let go of hope I will let go of me.And I have work to do and grandchildren to love and a husband, his stepfather who has been a rock. I will not let my soul be swallowed by his addiction. God but sometimes if feels like a war with a darkness that abducted my son. I will go and stand outside his door . I will pray for all of us in this house and everyone in the world who knows the pain. I will go to bed and face the week ahead. He has to get a court variance to get a change of address. If only we could say, here’s the door. Please go now. We love you .Come back if you mean it. There are so many tangled parts. Day by day.

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Hope,

I was so terrified to tell my son I had to let him go. As mothers, of course, we feel that we must nurture, care, support and love our children. But, when it comes to a drug addicted child we can love them to “death”. That’s why they need to find out, for themselves, that drugs can kill them. Heroin took the last breath from my son. That’s what drugs do. Drugs (heroin and opiates) suppressed my son’s breathing until his breathing stopped. He died in his sleep and never woke up. This happened to Jane’s son and he was on a ventilator. God (and the ventilator) saved his life. I don’t know why, but drug addicts never think this will happen to them.

You say there are so many tangled parts. Yes, there are hundreds of them, isn’t there? Just like when a fragile jewelry chain gets tangled, it sometimes takes hours to unravel it so it doesn’t break. The same goes for our loved ones who are addicted. In recovery, it may take years (or a lifetime) for the addict to unravel the parts. But, in the end, hopefully the addict can stay whole, unbroken, and most importantly, alive.

I pray that you find the strength and courage to ask your son to choose. Choose drugs that can kill him, or choose the road to recovery so he may unravel his life and reclaim a healthy, sober, life he deserves.

My heart aches for you as you go through this decision making. We’re here for you if you need us. We will be your crutch, your lifeline, and your friend.

With lots of Love and respect,
Barbara

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

O Barbara — I’m overwhelmed by your generosity wisdom and sound sane words. You all got me through the night and morning.

We had the conversation. He denied using again and then said he did not want to stop using —he said he did not wan to go to jail. And he said he was afraid of the next phase of his life. He said we thought he he was a junkie with no hope of healing so why try. He also said he understood he had to leave. It was all strangely calm. A few hour later he came and said he;d re-read his letters from jail. asked ” if I start to work at my recovery I can stay?” We said yes, that was the agreement from the beginning. Here is the work we need to see and gave the list : admit seriousness go to detox educate yourself .
He said I hate my life. I hate my self. He said i’m sorry for what I put u through. He will call addiction services and will attend meetings this week. He said you guys love me a lot. We said yes, we do. He hugged his mother. And that my dear ones, are where we are right now. He is beteen a rock and a hard place and so I really question if this will sustain. I ask myself are we being manipulated or are we closer to him making a choice for health even if by forcing ? For now, he gets a stay against homelessness and jail. Tomorrow is a day of action. No inertia allowed in this rehab/ home Call me old Crowbar. Here is my thnking–even if he is doing what he has to do to stay here and not what he wants to do– will some of the rehab education work? I’m tired. i was ready for him just to go. I hate admitting that. But I was. Until he said you gys lovem so much. It was like a question , like why would you. Why would anyone? Yes, yes ,we do. I know all the love in the world cannot stop him if he wants to use and self destruct. And I know where we could end up. And i do wonder about the peace that might bring all of us. I hate these darkest thoughts. What mother ever thought we’d think like that? Chronic stress and sorrow work on a person. I’m babbling. I need to sleep myself. xoxox love and prayers right back

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Hope,

Yes, the chronic stress and sorrow will take its toll. It drains us mentally and physically. The dark thoughts are normal when the mind gets overwhelmed. You just want it to go away. You want him to go away. You just want peace. When my son was in jail or in prison, I didn’t worry about him so much because at least I knew where he was.

I will pray that your son is not manipulating you. Drug addicts are some of the best manipulators in the world according to some therapists. I hope your son finds a good therapist soon. Since he doesn’t want to quit using, maybe it’s possible a trained therapist can help him get there.

I wish you love, peace and hope.

Nanci
Nanci
10 years ago

Dearest Hope,
You said something that resonated with me, ‘a war with a darkness that abducted my son.’ That is exactly what I have been feeling for over 9 years, just could never articulate it. I, too, understand the concept of ‘my soul being swallowed into my son’s addiction.’ How well, all of us can relate.
I offer you the following; when I found my way back to the rooms of Alanon (after resisting and rebelling the fellowship for 6 years), I made two comments…”I have lost my soul” and “I know this disease will kill my son.” A fellow Alanon member, who has years of experience, asked me if I would ‘ATLEAST, entertain the idea of POSSIBILITIES.’ I did not understand, at the time, what he meant. But as time went on, I realized that I did NOT have the power to determine anyone’s will. I could only pray to God to help me open my heart, mind, spirit and soul to receive his knowledge, and the power to carry it out…with courage and confidence. That is it. that is all I can do (very difficult, as a mother).
I am not a religious person, but have become very spiritual. I believe in the power of prayer and must not lose hope. Libby will (as she often says) ‘bombard the heavens to pray for our children.’ All of us, although we have never met, continue to share our experience, strength and hope. This is tough stuff we are dealing with, but we are pushing through by listening and supporting each other.
Barbara, bless your heart, is right. We are here for you. We are each other’s lifeline…and Libby, brought us all together.
Keeping you in thought and prayer,
Nanci

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Nanci,

Thank you so much for sharing your insight. I learned from you today. And, you are indeed a very spiritual person.

God bless you for continuing to be here for all of us.

God bless Libby for keeping us together.

Love,
Barbara

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

Nanci and Barbara I thank my God she brings me strong loving women words. So much hard earned wisdom –like flung open windows into a hot stuff room—fresh air. I’m breathing deep. So we go on. I go to Alanon and read my day by day book. I also meditate and hold on — have been a lay minister in healing prayer –( I can still give to others I told myself and empiy myself and let heaing sprit flow through me ) It is interfaith–“GoD” , Creator has many faces. I believe we are all each others healers anyhow– look here– how we can reach out and touch each other in cyber space. I meditate. I run. We go to the addictions therapist and he has one but actually lied about going to and admitted that. He saw her once. To shut us up when he first cam out of jail ? He is a master manipulator. Or rather the diseased brain of his causes drug seeking behaviour which means of course –deception and the makings of a master conniver. We are working hard wiht his partner and them other of our grandson. I love her. I really do. Proud of her, too. She is getting stronger every day. Trying to encourage Al anon for her but that is her choice and I already have to many suggestions. I needot shut up more often and listen. The sensoe f panic andurgency does that, too. Makes you feel you are in crisis mode one of the things I am learning how to do even in crisis mode, to expand my understanding of TIME. talk aoubt MInd games. Learning to live full in the NOW.
My soul is energized from a deep nap — not something I permit myself very often –and recharged by the love and prayers on this page.

I just read this : Never let a problem to be solved become more important that a person to be loved.

i’m going to go call my mother. She is alone and needs some cheering up, too.

Watch some Olympics. Hey are we not all spiritual endurance athletes ? (:

I’ll sign off for a few days, I fee like I am “hogging” this space.

Before I do

I was once the mother of a child
Now I am the mother of a man
I cannot rescue, fix, or change
I pray he heals, and feels God’s hand

HUGS to all.

Susan
Susan
10 years ago

Dear Friends…

Every day, I read every single post here and am amazed by the support and sharing, while saddened by the pain and suffering endured…

I have been in a very quiet ‘transitional mode’ from total and utter maniacal chaos, to extreme and welcomed stillness…

I’m extremely grateful that my son is currently and very willingly in (short-term) treatment. At this point, despite the odds, despite the statistics, despite the past and my son’s personal history, as well as his personality type, I am very optimistic… By choice, not delusion.

I just read this and love it: “Let us not look back in anger, nor foward in fear, but around in awareness.”

I am optimistic, but will remain cautious. I will be aware, but not accusatory. I will try harder to forgive. Even though I can not forget the past, I will try my best to stay quiet about the things that just don’t matter at this point. I will try to better understand how to walk the fine line of helping versus enabling. All of this ‘work’ that I have to do, is made easier because of the personal stories found here.

Thank you, all.

My heart aches… For my son and the inevitable challenges that lie ahead for him. My heart aches for everyone afflicted with and affected by drug addiction issues. I feel blessed to have found Libby’s site and to be a part of the conversation here. And the Love. And the support and understanding… I learn so much from the wisdom that is shared and the pain that is bared… I cherish it all. I find joy in knowing that that positive accomplishments, however small, will be celebrated here, and in knowing there will be support, understanding and friendship through the hard times as well.

Drugs are a nightmare. Addicts and those that love them live in hell. It is so sad, so destructive, such a waste. Someone that recently helped me with my son, aptly stated: “Michael’s brain has been ‘hi-jacked’ by drugs.”

The other day I had a few hours to enjoy my ‘real’ son, not the one possessed by the devil called drugs… I caught a glimpse of the true Mike for the first time in awhile… The charming, handsome, happy, witty, ‘funny as all get out’ Mike. It was wonderful. The MIke that “everbody” loves but has not seen for some time.

I don’t know how Mikes story will go, I can not control Mike’s choices. Someday, I may have to say goodbye to Mike, because of drugs – This, I have learned from the wisdom here. For now, I am immensely thankful that I can say hello to my ‘real’ son again; his soul is trying to come out into the light… The hardest part of the journey lies ahead. When my mind tells me that Mike may not have the strength and the patience to endure, to overcome, I will quietly tell my mind to “shut the hell up!”…

Love to all…

Susan

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

Susan I say alleluia to this place and time for you. hugs. Thank you. Small whispered cautious peace.

Susan
Susan
10 years ago

Thank YOU, Hope…
Love that and ‘get it’ too… “Small-whispered-cautious-peace”…
I will take what I can get right now… It may be ‘superficial peace’ at this early moment in time, but ‘positively medicinal’ – for my mental health…

Sometimes, it is not ‘One day at a time’, it is ‘One moment in time’… Again, thank you.

Love,
Susan

Tiffany
Tiffany
10 years ago

Susan,

I saw your link on Jeff’s FB page.

I’ve thanked him and want to thank you also. Thank you for sharing your side of the story. I know it wasn’t easy for you, Jeff or Jeremy. But I wanted you to know that here in Texas, I am sharing your story with many others!

I have been able to share “Stay Close” with several friends whose loved ones are in the midst of battling addiction. While I can share with them my perspective of being a drug addict – being able to share the perspective of a loved one who is dealing with a drug addict is something I cannot.

Therefore, I use “Stay Close” as a tool to help them understand and to provide them with the comfort of knowing others who have walked in their shoes. And that there IS an upside…it’s not easy… but it’s possible!!!

I last saw Jeff in DC around Christmas of 1997. I could tell he was “having fun” but I had no clue just how “deep” he had gotten. Of course, I didn’t realize just how “deep” I had gotten into drugs, either. I guess no addict really does until they hit rock bottom!

Reading “Stay Close” is a reminder of the Grace of God and how grateful I am that we and many others from that time period have been successful in staying sober. (I had 14 years in March) 🙂

Thank you again for sharing your story and your perspective!! You are a Blessing to many, many others!!!!

Susan
Susan
10 years ago

Dear Tiffany,
Your lovely message should be addressed to Libby. Congratulations to YOU! It is so good to hear of your personal success.
Susan

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

Tiffany , you make me hopeful again. Thank you.

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear Tiffany,

Thank you very much for reaching out to us. You have 14 years of sobriety!! I’m so happy for you! Your comment about Jeff having ‘fun’ during the period around Christmas 1997 makes such sense to me. In fact, I think those early years of pure craziness were important to him in many ways. Of course, as a mom, those were the early years when I was chasing him around, but the party was in full force and I was powerless. He says, “What started as a party, full of fun and excitement, ended in a sandstorm and I couldn’t find my way out.” As Dr. MacAfee says, “A kiss can disappoint, but drugs never disappoint. They work. You get the same reaction time and time again.”

Jeff agrees that it is the Grace of God that keeps him sober today. He believes today in something bigger than he is big.

Thank you, my dearest Tiffany, for your love, support and care. Here’s to 15 years for you, and 7 years for Jeff. We’ll keep believing.

Love you,

Libby

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Tiffany,

I just read your posting. Congratulations on 14 years of sobriety! I don’t know you, but I wish you 14 more years of continued sobriety and all the good health that comes with it!!

God bless you,

Barbara

Tiffany
Tiffany
10 years ago

Yikes! Please forgive my error in addressing my original message! In my head, I knew I was sending it to Ms. Libby… but not having my fill of caffeine that morning – I goofed! 🙂

I wanted to also thank you all for your sweet words of encouragement. You are so kind!! As an addict, I know that you have to reach a point where YOU make the decision that you cannot go back. Not to say there weren’t times of temptation those first few years – but it’s a decision ONLY THE ADDICT can make.

I also FIRMLY believe that it can only be done through the saving Grace of our Heavenly Father! I am now Blessed with a wonderful job, home, husband and 2 BEAUTIFUL children that are my life and heart. From the dingy, dirty, darkness of the East Coast raves all those years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be as Blessed as I am today. I’m so thankful I made that decision so many years ago! God IS SOOOO Good and there IS Hope!

As mothers/parents, I want you to firmly believe and realize that it is never anything you are doing or not doing that keeps your child battling their addiction. As helpless and guilty as you may feel – it is the addict’s choice to use again. It is not because they don’t love you or because you have/haven’t done something. Don’t beat yourselves up!

To go along with something that Hope wrote above, I once heard that when your children are still young, you are responsible for them. As they grow older, you are responsible TO them – but not FOR them. It’s up to THEM to make the CHOICE and to make the CHANGE. All you can do is love them and pray for them. It may have to be from a distance when tough choices must be made… but that’s all you can do. You have to believe that God created your child – and God is big enough to watch over them. Please rest (if only momentarily!) in that.

Thank you all for being so candid and expressing your struggles, joys, pain and victories in this Blog. Now that I have found it – I hope to use it as a tool in additon to “STAY CLOSE” to help other parent’s struggling with all that addicition brings. I have a good friend right now struggling with her adult sons addiction. I know this Blog will greatly encourage her in knowing she is not alone and that there IS hope!

Ms. Libby – thank you and your boys again for sharing this story. You are TRULY amazing and such a gift to so many people that you will never know!! Love & Hugs to you! – Tiffany

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

My dearest Tiffany,

Your words are golden and are a blessing to us. We parents, who are struggling with our loved ones who are addicted, need to hear your words. We know only one side of the addiction – ours. In fact, Stay Close could never have been written without Jeff and Jeremy. There were so many things I didn’t know that Jeff needed to teach me and the Jeremy buried into his soul. I remember when Jeff told me, “Society loathes addicts, and addicts loathe themselves.” I never knew. There was (and still is) so much I didn’t know. I remain humble.

My love to you, angel, for reaching out and sharing your story with us. Please stay close and continue to offer your wisdom. As Dr MacAfee says, “We’ve been kicked into wisdom.”

Love and hugs right back to you from Jeff and me,

L

Eileen
Eileen
10 years ago

You are a light at the end of a very dark tunnel for me – thank you for being strong and sober – your mom’s book about your story is the only thing that got me through my son’s addiction-he is 18 months + sober and every day I think to “stay close” to him – it is my daily meditation!

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Eileen,

Jeff and I thank you for reaching out to us and he is especially touched that you reached out to him. Our prayer with writing the book was to help someone. Today Jeff is strong and sober, and I pray that tomorrow he chooses well again. I’m humble in the face of addiction and I know it’s one day at a time, but for today he is the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Our love to you,

L

Tisha
Tisha
10 years ago

Sweet Libby,
Reading all of this is difficult,I have so much to say and so much that I am excited to share someday over coffee or tea! Your boys, the newly extended family!! Wow, you are so blessed! You have so much to be proud of! I have cried to think that we/ I, may have been in some way responsible for taking time, your time, from them way back in my high school days ( I have been reading your book again:)) Yet, look at them now! It just goes to say you can be a full time career mom, a stay at home mom, or even a dead – beat ( goodness no- but you see where I am going) I hope. We beat ourselves up about being that perfect parent, and in the big scheme of things its never going to happen. We can just hope that all of our love and “survival” skills, have made some differences in our “Angels” (to quote you).

My personal experience watching someone go through drugs was bad, scary bad. I do believe all things happen for a reason. There are no coincedences in life, right? ( The”Celistine Prophesy”) Your children, those amazing boys, will be amazing Daddy’s!!! I wish I could have had a mom like you, Libby! Still do.
I am at the teen end of this roller coaster now with my own daughter, My eyes are wide open. I cringe about what its like to raise a teen today and how children are overdosing on “bad “drugs as early as middle school.

I am not known for being direct or short winded but I am always heart felt. Happy Anniversary to you and the boys and The Book! Keep it up! I look forward to you.
Love Always,
Tisha

You, Your boys, I smile to watch you grow.

Sadly, I as I have said before relate to the story of addiction in a brutally, painful way. Recovery –

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

My dearest sweet Tisha,

When I think of you, I remember you in high school. You were in my advisory, and I always looked forward to your bright smile and optimistic outlook on life. In some respects, you are still fourteen even though you are now all grown up with children of your own. You’ve always been special to me.

You are correct that no matter how hard we try to be the ‘perfect’ mom, we can only do our best. All the students at Calverton were blessings to me, you included! The work was hard and unrelenting, but I never, ever regretted or regret my time with and for the children.

Jeff and I once spoke in NYC, and after I spoke a young man said to me, “It’s obviously your fault that your son is a drug addict. You said yourself how hard you worked and how you weren’t always there for him.” With that, another young man stood and said, “I was raised on a farm in Kansas. My dad and mom were always there. They never left the farm. We ate every meal together. We worked together every day. I am a heroin addict.”

Addiction is brutal, pain, full of betrayal and lies. Addiction suffocates life. One day, let’s sit down and talk. Each one of us has a story and it’s through the stories that we learn. I can learn from you.

Love you, angel. Thanks for staying close. You are tucked in my heart.

Libby

Paula
Paula
10 years ago

I read today’s blog and then I started browsing through subjects and saw the topic abstinence. I thought it might explain what it meant when an addict was clean but not working a program. It did not explain that. Instead, I read this entire blog on “six years sober” and it was such a blessing. I had read it before, but it did not resonate then. Tonight it resonated. Thank you to everyone who shared your experience, strength and hope.

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Paula, We are blessed that our entries resonated with you. There is a saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Things come to us at the right time, whenever that is. This happens to me repeatedly, and it’s always a joy. Our love to you!
Libby