My Bottom Line

Recovery Corner: Red Letter Days

This article was originally written and featured on

This time last year, I had shared with readers some stories about my son Matt, his history of addiction and the pain that a family suffers because of it.

I’m writing this on Sunday morning, May 26, facing Tuesday, May 28 – my son’s 30th birthday. He is still in prison in Connecticut, finishing a sentence from his last set of arrests/convictions. Tuesday hangs like a heavy weight on my heart. Another life marker spent in prison/rehab/homeless – it’s consistently been one or the other for the better part of the last 15 years.

Life markers hurt. What other people revel in – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays – I dread. I wake up on those days, having years of experience designing busyness to keep my mind and heart occupied. My go-to is major housecleaning. And God bless work…it allows me the most effective escape. Thankfully I have an insanely busy workday on Tuesday; funny how all the important meetings this coming week HAPPEN to be set for the 28th. I truly didn’t do it consciously. Freud would be proud of my deliberate accidental sub-conscious planning.

I’m not alone in my pain. I have so many people in my life – clients, friends, business associates – who live my “no markers” life. We have learned to avoid these special days in order to survive. Because we are pretending to live, without our hearts, without the person – that wonderful/terrible broken person – who has been kidnapped by addiction and held… in the abyss.

We started this series last year, “RECOVERY CORNER.” In one of those articles, I referred to the TAKING that addiction profusely provides. Seemingly unending. Let’s add this particular pain to the list– the families of addicts have 365 equal days, “black letter days” let’s call them. We’ll let the rest of the world remember, recall and commemorate their “red letter days.”

Do I dream!? Yes, I do…that someday, some little square on my desk calendar (yes, I keep a REAL paper calendar) will be red lettered/highlighted/lots of stars ***** – Matt is sober, safe, mentally sound. That’s about as beautiful as an example of hope that I could ever give. HOPE – “A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”

Matt gets out of prison likely the end of July. Beginning of the end… or a new beginning… time will tell. I will continue to love my son and hate addiction, both every day. And I will continue to hope, AND PRAY, that he will find his way out…of the abyss.

I woke this morning with this article writing itself in my head, before I even left the bed. By the time you see this, Tuesday will be done and gone. I will update readers very soon about how my Tuesday went. And what does the end of July look like….!!?? I am so very thankful for these opportunities to share with readers, many of whom are suffering a loved one’s addiction as well. These writings are very cathartic for me, and my HOPE is that by sharing, I can touch another who needs to be touched – to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. “LET YOUR FAITH BE BIGGER THAN YOUR FEAR”