GRATITUDE: Remembering Thanksgiving, 2004

November 29, 2004: Jeff’s email messages to his dad and to me.

Dad, Sorry about my absence on Thanksgiving. Trying to stop this craziness on my own is impossible. 

Mom, I don’t know what I need. I’ve never felt so powerless and unable to activate change. I’m paralyzed. I’m miserable and just need to get out of this situation.

My reaction to Jeff’s words, seven years later: I would like to write that these memories are distant, faded into the recesses of my heart. But I can’t. I remember well those years of chaos and destruction. I wrote, “Jeff’s words pierced me: powerless, unable to activate change and paralyzed. In California with no support system of friends and family, Jeff was coming face-to-face with himself.”

My promise for today: After a fourteen-year addiction, I know we are blessed that Jeff is healthy and sober today. Jeff fought for his life and there was nothing I could do but Stay Close. On this Thanksgiving Day, our family is deeply grateful that Jeff is home. Where there is life, there is hope.

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Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

The holidays are difficult for me. But, if I have one thing to be thankful for this day, on Thanksgiving, I am thankful for this very special forum. Libby, thank you for your insightful book, it changed my life. For the rest of you who have touched my life, I am truly grateful. Your family, friends and loved ones can only imagine what it’s like to have a child who is dependent. Only the mothers’ who have lived through this, know how difficult it really is.

Thank you all for the support I have been given over the years. Even though I have never met any of you “in person”, I feel as though we are all best friends.

May God Bless you all on this day of Thanks. I thank God for all of you…..

My gratitude forever,
With much love,
Barbara

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

My dearest Barbara, I’m sure the holidays are difficult. A memory for me: Jeff was in rehab (again) and couldn’t come home for Christmas. Jeremy refused to come home, too, because he couldn’t face all the chaos and disappointment. I was at Christmas Eve Mass with my mom, my brothers and their families and no one asked about Jeff. What could they say? At one point, my brother leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Jeff is in my prayers.” I just looked at him and tears streamed down my face. Just Jeff’s name brought a torrent of tears. I said nothing and looked forward. No one said Jeff’s name during the rest of the holiday.

Addiction brings such pain and never goes away. Jeff has a saying I like, “Time heals all wounds, but time takes time.” Sometimes time takes a lifetime.

I don’t know if you’re on Facebook, but there is a wonderful site called The Addict’s Mom: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theaddictsmom/
It’s a forum for moms and there are almost 3,000 members.

Love you,

Libby

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Libby, I like what you said “sometimes time takes a lifetime”. You’re right, addiction brings pain that truly does last a lifetime.

Yes, I am on facebook and I would like to join the site’s forum. Thank you so much for telling me about it. Isn’t it astounding that there are 3000 members? Addiction is truly everywhere.

Love you,
Barbara

Jane
Jane
10 years ago

I am also so thankful for all of you. So much gratitude for the people I have in my life both online and in person.It is a blessing
Prayers for all of your families
Jane

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Jane, Thanks for the prayers. We all need them (I know I do). I am thankful for your sharing, trust and compassion. Blessings during this holiday season.

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Barbara, Yes, it is astounding that there are 3,000 members registered on The Addict’s Mom. And for every one member, my guess is there are 10 more moms who aren’t on the site. There are hundreds of thousands of us out there. You’re correct – addiction is everywhere! But you and I and others are working to take it out of the shadows and into the light where it can be healed! Love you.

Eileen
Eileen
10 years ago

It has been 10 months since my son overdosed and my husband found him just in time. I have been going through what I think is post traumatic stress, and now I am dreading that 1 year anniversary of the night it happened. I don’t even know how I pushed all this emotion down and carried on with my life right after it happened. He was in IOP and every night he would come home from group and we would talk, I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out if it was working, was he going to make it? That is when I picked up your book, I could only read it a little at a time, it was so painful and so real, but it also gave me hope. My son is a sophmore at college and doing well, he has a small tattoo of a shamrock that says “lucky” just above his knee – he says “so I can touch it everyday and remind myself of how lucky I am”. Sitting across the table at Thanksgiving dinner I looked at my son and thought how lucky and thankful I am to have him in my life -it was the best Thanksgiving I have ever experienced. Thank you Libby for giving all of us moms your story – thank you Jeff for being strong and “lucky”!

Victoria Derby
Victoria Derby
10 years ago

The week before Thanksgiving 2010, I found my son overdosed in a hotel room, they carried him out on a stretcher and I thought I lost him. It took me about 3 months and Al-Anon meetings to be able to cope with what I found and waiting 5 hours to see if he would live. He was diagnosed with Acute respirtory failure, kidney failure, severe sepsis, blood sugar 400. …so close to death. I still cry when I think about it!! Today he is sober, in jail. He looks better than he has in 6 yrs! I miss him, visit on fridays, through glass, but I am so grateful for his life. He is alive and I will be able to hug him in about 2 yrs!! Addiction has humbled me in such a way that I can always find something to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving to all the suffering Moms and thier addicted Children.

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Eileen,

Your words hit me, “I don’t even know how I pushed all this emotion down and carried on with my life right after it happened.” How do we moms go on? We have all suffered at addiction’s hand, yet we go on, day after day, in hope and in prayer. There is the saying, “God only gives you what you can handle.” I don’t know if it’s true, but I do know that moms love with all our beings. We go on.

Your son is good today and he is lucky. I’m happy for you and for your family. Jeff is lucky. Addiction is such a confounding disease.

We’ll celebrate today, one day at a time.

With love,

Libby

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Victoria,

Addiction humbles us – you are so right. Your son is alive and you’ll be able to hug him in two years. God bless you. We’ll stay in a space of gratitude and live in hope. My love to you and I thank you for staying close.

Libby