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 be 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 mocks us most.

Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction can severely isolate us during this time of year. We come face-to-face, over and over again, with the reality that our lives are not as joyful as we wish they would be. Today, let us avoid this toxic place by being compassionate with ourselves, with others and our loved ones. Let us find serenity in honesty and prayer. Let us not allow addiction to rob us of our peace.

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3 years ago

My heart hurts for you, Libby, in your description of sitting in the church, and the whole “joyousness” of everyone being together. Everyone except your cherished son. I know the feeling exactly.
The sickening feeling inside, as you try your hardest to put on a good front.
I shared at my first al-anon meeting, which I still can’t believe, because I thought everyone would judge me. But I had practically crawled in, and couldn’t stop sobbing. In my share, I announced (and believed) that “I’ll never feel joy again”.
A man came up to me later and hugged me, saying, “you WILL find joy again. I promise”.
I’ll never forget that, and over the years, on the holidays like you’ve described, I’ve not gotten over the “sick” feeling, but at least I’ve gained the awareness to pay attention to, and listen to, and engage with, the loved ones who WERE here with me. They deserve that. I’ve gone off topic- sorry! But thank you for this post, Libby. You are so appreciated. There is hope!

3 years ago

Libby, your writings could not be more spot on. Thank you.
I choose to remain silent with family who are unaware of our unbelievable situation with our dear addicted and mentally ill child, now incarcerated. I simply could share the shame, grief and destruction of our family. There simply no adequate words but we cling to the belief that Emmanuel is with us.

Ki Ki DesCombes
Ki Ki DesCombes
3 years ago

This is so very true. I worried and worried if my 33AD would show up for our Christmas. I’ve been in AlaNon for 6 years now and I still worried this year. No amounts of prayers or chanting the Serenity Prayer helped. I finally on the morning of our small get together I gave it over to my God. He gladly took it from me. We had a perfect day. Thanks so much for sharing Libby. Signed Ki Ki

J. Marten
J. Marten
3 years ago

all of my life, all I ever wanted was to be a mother. I have been blessed with 3 children. My youngest is 30, and has returned from rehab 45 days ago after an ugly intervention. She blames me a lot for her alcohol addiction. She said I only want perfect. Maybe I have, I am tired, I have tried my best, I wanted to raise happy kind children, not average children, but children that were most importantly kind to others and inclusive and thoughtful. She has slipped twice. She lies, sneaks around, says she is going to meetings, but I don’t know if she is. She does not live in the same state, she has a great job and has been working from our home due to the pandemic and us getting her in to rehab. She has been fully supported by her sister, brother, her dad and me during her recovery.
‘what do I say. Do I just allow her to sneak around and deny she is drinking. Do I continue to walk on eggshells, worry her entire family? Do I drive her to meetings to be sure she is going.
I feel her true issue is she is depressed after a bad break up. She drinks to cover the pain. Is a man’s approval that important? Do you feel most alcoholics have an underlying issue and drinking is a way to dull the pain?
I have been to one al anon meeting and due to a health issue, my other daughter getting married on NYE, I have not done a great job of attending.
I try to get her to talk to me and share if she is having a hard day but she locks herself in her room and does not participate with the rest of our family. For the very first time in my life I have questioned my decision to have children, my heart is broken watching my talented stunning daughter in so very much pain. I would love your advise. We could send her back to her home, but because she has attempted suicide twice I just can’t.
Thank You for listening.