Little boy Teddy was frantic. He had something in his eye. At the emergency room they had him on his back while they flushed hosed water over his open eye. “Be all done!” he shouted over and over again. “Be all done!”
Years later, Ted at age 20 had flunked out of college for the second time, was living in a room off campus without a job, friends or money. He was doing drugs and drinking alcohol 22 hours of every day. “Be all done,” I thought constantly. “Be all done.”
When I traveled the hour to meet him at the coffeeshop I didn’t know why he seldom left his basement apartment, so depressed. I felt sick when he asked me to buy him another sandwich for later. I hated not giving him money. He looked pale and was silent. Be all done. …Read more
“As mothers, we advocate for our children. We kiss boo-boos, cheer them on from the bleachers and encourage them at the kitchen table. We celebrate their victories and console them on their failures. We defend them, brag about them to our own mothers and occasionally deliver a school assignment forgotten on the bedroom floor. When their spirits leave their connection to ours to pursue a substance, person, lifestyle or seduction, we may eventually find that there is nothing we can do to fix this situation. We learn to pray.” From Just Keep Going; Spiritual Encouragement from the Mom of a Troubled Teen. …Read more
When I am on the elliptical machine at the health club, there sometimes is a particular elderly gentleman on one of the stationary bicycles opposite me. He wears variations of a darker plaid, short sleeve, button-down shirt untucked over his pressed khaki pants. He is content to methodically push the pedals with his brown, rubber-soled street shoes over nylon dress socks. Occasionally he has a pen in his chest pocket and keeps time by the gold watch on his wrist. He does not watch TV while he bicycles and seems unconcerned with his surroundings.
He is not sad and not happy. When I smile at him he smiles back and goes slowly about his business, shuffling to the next weight-lifting machine even though his trainer Rory gently reminds him, “John, walk heel to toe”.
My book, Just Keep Going,…Read more
Why is it that the that the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous maintained that the muscle and bones of their sobriety was one alcoholic helping another alcoholic? Because, they told each other’s story as no well-intentioned physician, spouse or counselor could do. The “I am different” alcoholic’s experience was confronted by the mirrored experience of another alcoholic. I am told that the identification of one to another is cathartic; different cast of characters but same obsession, self-loathing and desperation. The solution to the problem was better received from someone who had walked in those shoes.
So it was with me as a daughter of an alcoholic and a mother of a drug addict. My friends were the best, bar none, long- suffering with me and dishing out encouragement like it was their job. …Read more
Days after we moved in our house, a woman with gorgeous skin and gray-white curly hair showed up at our door. She thrust at me a foil-wrapped loaf of pumpkin bread with nuts, and welcomed me to the neighborhood. People don’t do that very often anymore, especially if they live around the corner and two doors down. We became friends.
Edie invited me to the opera. She adores opera, but her husband Frank equated it with what hell must be like and never went with her. After an hour of The Barber of Seville I had to agree with Frank and although of course I did not say that , she got my vibe because now she invites me to plays.
She is old enough to be my mother, which works well for me because I ask her questions on how to handle various puzzling aspects of life, not because she is old, but because she is wise. Maybe a little bit because she is old. …Read more