Jer and Jeff - Crop.jpgDr. MacAfee quoted Carl Rogers during a recent conversation: When a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think in some real sense he is weeping for joy. It is as though he were saying, “Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it’s like to be me.”   (From: Experiences in Communication, Carl Rogers) 

My reaction to this quote: When Jeff was in active addiction, I wanted to talk, to share my wisdom because (obviously) I knew what he need to do to find his health. I prayed for the words that would change his life. How I wish I had that kind of wisdom or power. With both Jeff and Jeremy, the best gift I can give them is to be fully present and to listen, really listen, to their pain, their joy and their journey.

Today’s Promise to consider: I don’t have the answers to my sons’ problems, but I can offer them something better. I can listen, really listen, with my entire being. Today, I will stay quiet and be a witness to whatever they want to tell me.






0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10 years ago

This week’s meditation is so important. I wish I had my son to listen to, to really listen to. I’ve learned from that mistake and now I listen, and listen, and listen to my daughter. This past mothers day, she sent me a beautiful card. In it, it stated how she appreciated me always being there for her and always being there to listen to her. Sometimes her conversations are long, self centered and boring for me, but I listen, and listen, and listen. It’s what I can do for the only child have left. It’s so important to her and to me. I now cherish the long, boring conversations. I cherish her and will listen to every single word she has to say, forever, until the day I die.

Listening is truly a healing gift. I’ve learned the hard way, but my mistake (not listening to my son, like I should have) will help me heal, along with many prayers to our heavenly father, who heals us all.

My love to you all.


Pat Nichols
10 years ago

Yes Barbara, our heavenly Father listens to us. He is patient, forgiving and understanding. He doesn’t interrupt us when we seek His guidance and when we listen intently He guides us in a path that leads to our own peace and serenity.

After reading so many of your insightful posts I now take great care in focusing on every word my son says. I don’t interrupt him or pass judgement but let him know he is loved. I live in the “now” without past regrets or thoughts of future expectation. It is your sharing that gave me this new understanding and appreciation of life.

Yes, I still maintain my boundaries and do all I can do not to enable his recovery but I now focus more on the miracle of life, this incredible gift. The opportunity to hear his voice and know that recovery is still a possibility for him. I know that hidden deep within him is a scared child desperately wanting recovery.

My thanks to you and continued prayers for all of us.

10 years ago

This is so timely.

Today I wrote in my journal, about my brother who I lost last year —“how I wished I talked less and listened more.”

I meant to him but everyone else too— not just my son. But with my son I was desperate so often —I was so eager to say something that might make a light switch go on and somehow miraculously heal him.
I know better now.

And I feel like I’ve been working on listening better all my life. Like talking is a nervous habit of mine -like someone else biting their fingernails. But I am getting “better”.

I don’t know if this is useful to anyone but about seven years ago I started the practice of centering prayer or contemplative prayer which is to listen to GoD instead of beseeching God with my list of prayers for what I want- the practice is to sit in silence and come back to the breath when thoughts start running through the brain with one word – like Yes or Love or whatever. IT is like Buddhist meditation but you are opening in the silence to something beyond yourself –Higher Power.

I think it has helped me a lot –I might not be as okay under current circumstances if I did not have this as one of my strategies. A hard week imagining my son in a medium security prison. Had a few panic attacks.

But I do start and end each day with practice and looking outside and appreciating every little thing really helps.

True Listening is an art form.

I feel truly listened to here. Pat, Barbara, my prayers for you tonight.

Listening to your words has brought me so much comfort.

Thank you for this reflection Libby.

Bless our our ears so they can be channels to hearing the beating heart of everyone we meet. Still our tongues so our silence gives space for another’s voice.

10 years ago

dear friends,
15 minutes ago, i received an email from my son, who recently relapsed for the one hundreth million times. his email was heartfelt, as is always when he is sober. we made a commitment to each other that we will try to listen, be more present in the moment vs projecting in the future. as we both have learned, all the worrying, preaching, detective work, on my part, has repeatedly failed miserably.
we also had a family meeting last week, the second of many more planned, as my other two sons were given the forum to speak what is on their minds and in their hearts…so important and so long overdue.
thank all of you for your comments, support as we continue to navigate through this horrific disease together. you are all blessings in my life. <i am so grateful to you.
with love and in prayer,

10 years ago

Nanci, thank you for sharing. Your words inspire me and give me pause. Relapse happens–and we go on — may your son never give up giving up drugs. May he learn how to manage this disease and his life without drugs. He is so blessed to have you and your commitment. My prayers for you, your son and your family.

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Addiction causes so much pain. I’m sorry we travel this road of addiction, but we find strength from each other. We all understand multiple relapses, the rambling discourse of our drug-addicted children, the loss of self and the conflict in the family. There are daily lessons, and sometimes I wish the lessons would end. But we’ll continue to find the strength to go on, praying for wisdom and strength. The centering prayer (thanks for the reminder, Joy) is something I’ve started and stopped many times. I need to start again.

Dr. MacAfee quoted Robert Grant in a recent conversation, “Trauma pries loose the tyranny of the ego.”

I’m a much humbler woman. Love to all,


Margene Kennedy
Margene Kennedy
10 years ago

My son is addicted to alcohol. He wants to quit, so he says, but wants me to come supervise his own detox at his apartment. I refused and offered to take him to detox. I have listened for the past year, and he cries out but won’t accept help.No one will be around him anymore. he makes me feel his pain but 20 texts a day, how alone he is, can’t eat, etc. I just stopped listening yesterday and told him to call me when he was ready to go to Rehab. or a Detox center. I told him I was done. He was bringing both myself and his father to a slow death.
After reading the comments. I feel I may have done the wrong thing. I thought “Let go and let god.”

10 years ago

Dear Margene…bravo to you! You are far ahead of the game than i ever was when 2 out of 3 of my sons starting showing their ‘claws’ of addiction. I would like to offer you two suggestions that have literally saved my life; #1 Alanon…completely saved my life. A fellowship providing a safe forum to share our experience, strength and hope. #2 is Libby’s book, Stay Close. I am now reading it for the second time. I urge you to consider the possibility of hope, healing and recovery.
We are all in this together. You are not alone, Margene and I will pray for you and your family.