Gabor Maté, Hungarian-born Canadian physician and author of the highly respected book, In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, posits that addiction is rooted in the pain of individual trauma and family history. He emphasizes that addiction must be met with compassion and quotes the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: “Whatever you do, don’t try and escape from your pain, but be with it. Because the attempt to escape from pain is what creates more pain, and that’s the reality with addiction.”

My reflection: Dr. MacAfee, my son’s beloved addiction therapist, said, “Shining a flashlight on Jeff and his addiction never helped. I had to work with him with candle light.” MacAfee knew that my son needed gentle understanding.

Today’s Promise to consider: Gabor Maté asserts that addiction is rooted in pain and compassion is needed to counter the suffering. Several years ago, I surveyed forty-one recovering people and asked them, “What made you choose recovery?” Thirty-eight said, “When I was ready to change, someone was there for me after all the destruction. Someone still loved me and had stayed close.” Today, let us stay close and join in prayer that our loved ones choose sobriety. We will be there.

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Pat Nichols
4 years ago

I highly recommend this book, it was quite an eye opener for me. The key for my son’s eventual long term recovery was based on our family reassuring him that he was loved, forgiven and welcomed back into the family. Libby’s book, “Stay Close” was a big help to our family in understanding this process. Eventually, the whole family went to counseling to help us form a solid recovery foundation for ourselves and learn how to be in the best position to help our son in appropriate ways. Prayers for everyone fighting this disease.

4 years ago

Thank you for all your Thursday wisdoms. This one is especially helpful to a mother of a recovering addict. I’ve heard Gabor Mate’ speak on NPR years ago. I shall read his book.

4 years ago

I must tell you that I read your blog regularly as it was shared with me from another caregiver and kindred spirit. I cannot tell you how much solace and comfort your words bring, and how validated I feel when others on this journey also believe in staying close. Thank you for your words and gifts, and many loving thoughts and well wishes to you all.