603665_10100213671856819_1431101592_nHenri Nouwen, Dutch philosopher and theologist, wrote in Here and NowJoy is not the same as happiness. We can be unhappy about many things, but joy can still be there. Joy does not simply happen to us – it is a choice. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. Each day, whatever may have happened, is a day to be grateful for.

My reflection: Nouwen says that joy and unhappiness can coexist. I used to think that one excluded the other and sometimes, especially in moments of deep trauma like Jeff’s addiction, I was overwhelmed with such great unhappiness that I didn’t allow joy a space in my life. Nouwen goes on to say that joy is a choice that is ours to make, regardless of what is happening in our daily lives. Although we might be unhappy in the moment, it does not need to extinguish our joy.

Today’s Promise to consider: Bad things happen to good people. At times, I might feel deeply unhappy, but I refuse to allow it to eliminate my joy. Today, I choose to stay in gratitude. All I have is today and I choose not to waste it.


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10 years ago

I have learned from the hardships in my life that joy is a choice we make. It’s essential for our healthy well being.

I start each day with a prayer. A prayer that my day is full of good spirit and great joy.

I constantly think positive. It’s one of my essential therapies. If you think positive, positive things will happen. And, when there is a bump in the road or something that brings you down. Stop…..think positive about the situation and positive things will begin to happen.

Joy is a feeling. But, if we don’t let those feelings happen, it may bring us to a dark place, and joy cannot survive in a dark place.

I have a very strong faith. It’s what has kept me alive and healthy. And, it’s people like Libby and all who come here and share their feelings that help me more than you know. Thank you all. Thank you Libby, for yet another meaningful meditation. With much love and gratitude.

Your friend,


PS – All of you are still in my prayers

10 years ago

Hello Barbara
You are truly inspirational.
Our attitude and positive outlook does help frame our worldview. There is so much that can make us negative.
Happiness is a choice. Being grateful for all we have is helpfu to being positive.
Staying away from toxic people also helps, and this does not necessarily mean those who are our qualifiers. There are plenty of toxic people who are just poisonous to positivity.
I think after experiencing the chaos of addiction in our lives, we know firsthand about keeping it simple and that is an important reminder as we approach the holidays!
Grateful for all I have in this season of Thanksgiving

10 years ago

I guess I have always considered joy and happiness to be the same or at least go hand in hand.

I have spent many years fighting my daughters fight with the same outcomes over and over again. My happiness, and I guess joy, have always been based on how well my daughter was and whether or not she was achieving the expectations I had for her. It will probably be ten years now that we have been at this and today I still have no idea where she is. I can’t remember feeling happy or at peace.

I think I am finally realizing there is nothing more I can do for my daughter except start taking care of myself. I don’t expect happiness for a long time but I would like to find the peace and contentment that they say joy brings.

Pat Nichols
10 years ago

My gratitude and joy only returned after I went into my own recovery from codependency.

It would not have been possible to seek Joy and gratitude during my process of total insanity due to my child’s addiction.

I had to suffer greatly — for a long and extended period of time before the pain was strong enough to break me free from denial. Then and only then was I ready to reach out for support and eventually to work hard on myself to regain my lost sense of peace and serenity.

After years of struggles I now have the ability to focus on the joy and gratitude regardless of the situation. It is true, it can be done.

My experience has taught me that happiness is fleeting so I learned to look for the joy of each moment even when others could see none. This created the foundation of my peace and serenity which continues daily.

Life is good once again.

Thank you God.

My prayers for allow ho suffer from this disgusting disease.

10 years ago

I changed my name from Hope to Joy when I realized if my joy was swallowed and gone the disease of addiction had won. Kiss the Joy as it Flies wrote William Blake. We cannot live in constant despair. I do feel joy again –I even “fight” for it some days — but mostly I am joyful again because I found Stay Close and this forum. Joy to all.

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dearest Joy,

The transitions in your life are reflected in your names: from Faith to Hope to Joy. I celebrate these achievements with you. You are finding joy, and joy is worth fighting for. When our children suffer from addiction, joy is sucked out of our lives. My dad used to say, “You gotta fight the good fight, dearie.” We (all of us here) are fighting the good fight. My love to you!!