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“Changed Attitudes Can Aid Recovery”

Memoir Excerpt: “’Recovery is when fun becomes fun; love becomes love; and life becomes worth living.’” (Melody Beattie) “Now I tune into the life that is going on all around me. My sadness around Angie doesn’t weigh me down anymore. It’s there, of course, but I elevate myself when I remember to count my blessings and be grateful. Like a snake that has shed its skin, I feel fresher and more ready for life and its daily renewable force. My son now has a wife whom I adore and two beautiful little girls whom I visit often. They, along with Caroline, Gene, and my wonderful friends and extended family, are the flowers in my garden. They are, along with my work and my other passions, my happiness. Every day that I let myself embrace life, I find contentment. I just have to keep my heart open. “Agape” is one of the Greek words for love. Agape—open—ready to receive.”...

One Recovery Tool

Naranon’s daily reader: There is a lot of great literature in the 12-Step programs, and this is one of my favorite books. Its focus is on the family and friends of addicts, and it passes on many of the tools of the program to manage and cope with loving an addict. It’s a very slippery slope we’re on, trying to remain loving and supportive without being destroyed by manipulation, abuse and, often, guilt. Page after page in this resource I feel as if I’m reading my own story, reminding me once again that I am not alone in this battle, that there are millions of warrior mothers like me out there. There is strength in our growing numbers, putting an end to our feelings of isolation and giving us hope for the recovery...

The Mystery Of Recovery

Memoir Excerpt:  “I know addiction is a brain disease, and I’m certainly no expert on how or why some people are afflicted with it. Why do certain people abuse substances? Why did I depend on amphetamines for ten years? And how could I stop and never start again? Why did I smoke all those years and why was it easy for me to stop? Why have I been a food addict all my life and why am I just one bulimic episode away from relapsing? I have no answers to these questions. But I do know that learning to love and value myself through my work in all the Twelve-Step Programs I attend has made it easier for me live well and put an end to my self-abuse.  “Expectations, when dealing with loving an addict, can be killers. We want our loved one to seek recovery and remain there, of course—for the rest of his life. We want the nightmare to end and to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. As my friend Michael said at an Al-Anon meeting: “We all live in this forest. We can remodel our house, add to it, and greatly improve its value. But we’re always going to live in the forest.” Philip Seymour Hoffman’s recent death reminds us that “once an addict, always an addict.” We may stop abusing substances at last—and forever if we’re truly blessed. But we always carry within us the addictive gene/tendency to pull us back into that dark world of relapse and—in the case of this brilliant actor—destroy us.” Of course, there is always the possibility...

Food For Thought

  I’ve been talking a lot about detachment lately—and how the practice of it has given me much well deserved peace. But it sure gets me thinking about the topic of “attachment” to our loved ones, and what that has entailed. That, to me, is what much of our healing journey is all about. Shedding light on one helps us attain the other....