VOICES OF RECOVERY, PART 2

A mother wrote to me: I’m involved with Comunità Cenacolo in Jacksonville, Florida, a community dedicated to helping young women find their way out of addiction’s grasp and into the light of sobriety.  

Here is a photo I took of the girls’ feet before they performed at the Feast of Saint Maria Goretti. I love this picture…ballet slippers representing white for innocence and a clean life. The feet tell the story, and the worn-out shoes depict the path and suffering it took to get to this dance of redemption.

My thoughts: When Jeff and Jeremy were in school, we bought new shoes every August. After several months, their shoes showed the scuffs and tears of jungle gyms, bus rides, pick-up soccer games, recess and playing in all kinds of weather. Shoes can tell a story about life.

Today’s Promise to consider: The addict wears his own shoes, and I wear mine. I can’t understand fully his walk, and he can’t understand mine. All I can do is to stay close to my loved one and pray that his shoes come home – scuffs and all.

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Pat Nichols
10 years ago

Their shoes tell a greater story. I noticed they were not wearing the shoes of their parents but their own shoes, ones that clearly identified the struggles one must endure to achieve lasting recovery.

Too often I allowed my son to wear my shoes. My shoes were too big and he kept falling out of them!

It is the acceptance of consequences and knowing that long term recovery is achievable by NOT creating resentments against the challenges but by accepting them as a pathway to healing.

Our children fail at recovery because they have their “head” in recovery but not their “heart.”

This is where the spirituality of recovery becomes the formidable force that provides the strength and courage to endure all challenges that are sent by the enemy. The enemy being the disease of addiction.

Let us pray for all our children that they will stand before the enemy and not be afraid but to look to God for all His strength and regardless of the challenges of recovery our childrens shoes will never wear out.

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear Pat,

Thanks for your powerful comment. I’m grateful for the way you see the photo as the addicts wearing their own shoes and not their parent’s. Wow, this comment hit me. During Jeff’s active addiction, I was guilty of not only allowing him to wear my shoes, but putting them on him, too. Even when he tried to walk in his own shoes, I denied him the journey. I thought that I knew better.

Thank the Lord that Jeff and I have both learned and are continuing to learn. He is walking in his shoes today and I’m grateful. I must admit that I still have a hard time letting go, but these days I do a better job at stopping myself.

God bless us all.

Libby

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear All,

A dear friend of mine responded to this week’s meditation with a very powerful comment. I asked him if I could post it here, and he gave me his blessing. He wants to help make a difference, too. Love to you all.

He wrote:
Until you have walked in my shoes, please don’t judge me… If I ask for help or need advice don’t bash me, because of the choices I have made.

You can’t judge someone until you’ve walked a thousand miles in their shoes.

You have not walked in my footsteps, danced in my shoes, or lived in my world. Do not judge me, point your fingers at me, or become experts on my life. Instead, celebrate with me in times of joy and cry with me in times of pain. Only then will we begin to understand each other.

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Libby,

I really like what you posted about “walking in their shoes”. I feel so strongly about the fact that we should never judge anyone. It is not up to us to judge. In fact, some opinions should never be spoken. They should be kept to one’s self. When my son passed away, there were too many judges and too many opinions.

I believe it’s true that you must celebrate in times of joy and cry in times of pain, before you can even begin to try and understand someone.

I agree with Pat that a lot of people who go through the recovery process, go through it with their heads and not their hearts. So many of our children are forced, by the legal system, to participate in recovery programs. If sobriety isn’t initiated from the heart, it will never work.

God Bless

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

Once again, a timely post and wise words from all of you. Thank you for heart bursts and reminders and new ways of looking….

Funny how we all see in different ways –I saw the feet inside the shoes … &

I just thought —soles, souls, may our soles hold out and our souls hold up..

love & prayers to all ….

Penny
Penny
10 years ago

Such powerful words. I can now see that I too did not allow my son to walk in his own shoes, and I too put my shoes on him. I am still struggling with this letting go thing, but it is getting easier one day at a time. Funny thing about the comments about judging, my son has a tattoo on his forearm that says only God can judge me. He was very angry at a judge who had all but called him a loser and got the tattoo out of anger, but it is now his mantra. He has not used for 5 days, I continue to hope. Thanks and love to you all for your kind words.

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Penny,

That is so great that your son has not used for 5 days. He’s over the most crucial time of detoxing. I pray he doesn’t use for 5 more days!

Love to you,
Barbar

Nanci
Nanci
10 years ago

Hi Libby…wow, this really resonated with me…and thank you for also sharing your friend’s response.
My son has worn the same (beat up, old, ugly, etc) shoes since he ‘went to war’ with addiction. It pains me to see him so dishelved, and the shoes have always been a triggor for me (purchased on our last family vacation…many years ago), ever reminding me of the start of this nightmare.
However, like your friend said,’celebrate with me in times of joy…’
Today, I will have lunch with my son. I am trying to stay close, mind my own business and celebrate his resolve to keep fighting.
Thank you and god bless all,
Love,
Nanci

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear Barbara, My love to you, always. You understand in a deep and profound way the battle of addiction, and your words always add compassion to the discussion. Thanks for staying close.

Dear Nanci, We join you in celebrating your son’s resolve to keep fighting! Dr. MacAfee says that relapse isn’t a failure. The failure is not trying again.

Love to you.

Jane
Jane
10 years ago

Hello all.Ive loved all the posts this week. Such good analogies and reminders. Shoes ….so symbolic of our journey , and our loved ones journey. Shoes can bring comfort or pain, can protect or bruise, can be open to air or can prevent aeration….all like our paths in life.

I too have forced the wearing of shoes too big. Like all of you I continually Learn and grow. Peace
Jane

Penny
Penny
10 years ago

Oh how I pray he puts his heart in it this time. I don’t know how to get rid of this fear. I just have to put him in God’s hands and get out of the way. God help me stay out of your way!

Jane
Jane
10 years ago

Dear penny
Staying out of the way is so hard for all us parents because it is not a natural thing for a parent to do. I pray for you. It does get easier over time. One day at a time. fear paralyzed us and I had been paralyzed in my past too. Somehow over time I became less fearful the more I realized I had no control over outcomes. I found strength and help with overcoming the fear in Al Anon. Please immerse yourself in it
Love jane

Daniel Beaulieu
9 years ago

I appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.