the road to change leads through grace

Mother’s Tears

Shane Paul Lohan, age 24 of Hanover entered into eternal rest on December 1, 2016, He was the middle child born to Maryann Lohan of Hanover and Mark Lohan of Milton and his brother Luke Lohan of Hanover and sister Emily Lohan of Braintree. He is also survived by Ian McGrath, Tony Costa, and a host of family, friends, aunts, uncles, and the best cousins of all.
Shane loved to a fault, always wanting to help others. He was born with beautiful blue eyes, blessed with intelligence, a caring heart for the underdog, and his wit. Shane never met a stranger that he didn’t find the ability to strike up a conversation with. He was always the life of the party, he burned the candle at both ends and to know him was to love him. Shane was a tormented spirit trying to deal with all of his passed choices and their consequences. He never seemed to get a break; always falling and having to pull himself out of one hole after another. He started experimenting with drugs in his teens and came to think that the only solution to whatever he was dealing with was drugs. They became his go to solution for every problem. He would say, “I can stop using anytime I want to stop” and there were times he did, but those times never lasted because when he was drug free he had to deal with all of the thoughts going through his head. Coping with life was not a skill that he ever acquired. He looked at everything as one whole pie and could not just take one slice out to work on it. Different treatment modalities were introduced into his life, but the pull of this drug was so strong until he always went back to what he could count on giving him the escape he needed even if it was for a short period of time. He never wanted to look at his addiction as an illness. As his mother I will miss him terribly, but as his mother I will also no longer have to witness his pain or worry about this day coming because it’s here. My one solace is that his tormented spirit has now been released from his body to return to the giver. We loved Shane with every fiber of our being, but none of that love could protect him from this world that we live in were drug are so accessible. They can be purchased online and mailed to your house or bought on the corner. Love your addict, know that they are sick, but don’t let their sickness make you ill. If they could, this is what they would tell you: Let Me Fall All By Myself “If you love me let me fall all by myself. Don’t try to spread a net out to catch me. Don’t throw a pillow under my ass to cushion the pain so I don’t have to feel it. Don’t stand in the place I am going to land so that you can break the fall (allowing yourself to get hurt instead of me) … Let me fall as far down as my addiction is going to take me, let me walk the valley alone all by myself, let me reach the bottom of the pit … trust that there is a bottom there somewhere even if you can’t see it. The sooner you stop saving me from myself, stop rescuing me, trying to fix my broken-ness, trying to understand me to a fault, enabling me … The sooner you allow me to feel the loss and consequences, the burden of my addiction on my shoulders and not yours … the sooner I will arrive … and on time … just right where I need to be … me, alone, all by myself in the rubble of the lifestyle I lead … resist the urge to pull me out because that will only put me back at square one … If I am allowed to stay at the bottom and live there for a while … I am free to get sick of it on my own, free to begin to want out, free to look for a way out, and free to plan how I will climb back up to the top. In the beginning as I start to climb out… I just might slide back down, but don’t worry I might have to hit bottom a couple more times before I make it out safe and sound … Don’t you see ?? Don’t you know?? You can’t do this for me … I have to do it for myself, but if you are always breaking the fall how am I ever supposed to feel the pain that is part of the driving force to want to get well. It is my burden to carry, not yours … I know you love me and that you mean well and a lot of what you do is because you don’t know what to do and you act from your heart not from knowledge of what is best for me … but if you truly love me let me go my own way, make my own choices be they bad or good … don’t clip my wings before I can learn to fly … Nudge me out of your safety net … trust the process and pray for me … that one day I will not only fly, but maybe even soar.” Unknown Author. I wanted to share this with you because as a mother I made so many mistakes with my son’s addiction. I wanted him to fall on me to cushion his fall, but that was not what he needed.


Wanted to share my writing for the day.

“Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think.”

Sitting here listening to Christmas music in my little space to think. Thinking about how not so long ago listening to Christmas music was difficult because of how I saw it from the lens of grief.  But even as I keep the moment of my son’s passing in the by and by all I can do is be thankful about the journey that God has so graciously led me through and how he has healed the scars and made them beautiful.

This morning my husband and I had breakfast with a lovely young lady that by looking at her you would not know she was a recovering addict.  A picture perfect young lady but with many scars from days not so long gone by. Now living sober and testifying to God’s grace and in no way taking personal credit. All glory given to God. And as we said to her, not all our scars are for everyone to see but some of our scars are for some to see as God uses them to shine beauty on them.  He is doing this with this beautiful young lady.  A gentle, humble, thankful spirit is learning to be the best version of herself that God wants her to be. She through God’s help is making choices for the changes she wants to see rejoicing at the light she is becoming for others to see.

Today she proudly brought me this picture from the ladies at the Grace House which was taken when I had the blessing of sharing my journey with them.  Grace House…. A refuge and place of healing and hope for these beautiful souls. A place that came about because of my amazing friend who listened to God’s calling in his life. Not only does he have a full-time job but he has time for this ministry. A place where some young women by the raw young ages of 18 and 19 have seen and experienced so much more in life than they ever should but come to this a place of grace to find refuge and hope. Unsung eternal heroes like my friend are all around us that live life beyond themselves and provide that kind of hope. And I think of another dear friend who is one of the busiest people I know but gives and gives to make a difference in the eternal lives of others.

So, as I am in my little space listening to melodic, sweet Christmas music that cheers and warms my soul, even if I don’t like the feel of the cold, all I can think is that I am glad I see Christmas as a time of hope.  Hope that makes our scars beautiful!

Today is my favorite day!!

A Grateful Mother and Friend


Drug Facts

Drug Facts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Revised November 2012
Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so. Through scientific advances, we know more about how drugs work in the brain than ever, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives. Drug abuse and addiction have negative consequences for individuals and for society. Estimates of the total overall costs of substance abuse in the United States, including productivity and health and crime-related costs, exceed $600 billion annually. This includes approximately $193 billion for illicit drugs,1 $193 billion for tobacco,2 and $235 billion for alcohol.3 As staggering as these numbers are, they do not fully describe the breadth of destructive public health and safety implications of drug abuse and addiction, such as family disintegration, loss of employment, failure in school, domestic violence, and child abuse.
What Is Drug Addiction? Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge an addicted person’s self-control and hamper his or her ability to resist intense impulses to take drugs. Fortunately, treatments are available to help people counter addiction’s powerful disruptive effects. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medications with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. Treatment approaches that are tailored to each patient’s drug abuse patterns and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric, and social problems can lead to sustained recovery and a life without drug abuse. Similar to other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, drug addiction can be managed successfully. And as with other chronic diseases, it is not uncommon for a person to relapse and begin abusing drugs again. Relapse, however, does not signal treatment failure—rather, it indicates that treatment should be reinstated or adjusted or that an alternative treatment is needed to help the individual regain control and recover.
What Happens to Your Brain When You Take Drugs? Drugs contain chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. There are at least two ways that drugs cause this disruption: (1) by imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers and (2) by overstimulation the “reward circuit” of the brain. Some drugs (e.g., marijuana and heroin) have a similar structure to chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, which are naturally produced by the brain. This similarity allows the drugs to “fool” the brain’s receptors and activate nerve cells to send abnormal messages. Other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, can cause the nerve cells to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) or to prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals, which is needed to shut off the signaling between neurons. The result is a brain awash in dopamine, a neurotransmitter present in brain regions that control movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this reward system, which normally responds to natural behaviors linked to survival (eating, spending time with loved ones, etc.), produces euphoric effects in response to psychoactive drugs. This reaction sets in motion a reinforcing pattern that “teaches” people to repeat the rewarding behavior of abusing drugs. As a person continues to abuse drugs, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the reward circuit. The result is a lessening of dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit, which reduces the abuser’s ability to enjoy not only the drugs but also other events in life that previously brought pleasure. This decrease compels the addicted person to keep abusing drugs in an attempt to bring the dopamine function back to normal, but now larger amounts of the drug are required to achieve the same dopamine high—an effect known as tolerance.
Long-term abuse causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that influences the reward circuit and the ability to learn. When the optimal concentration of glutamate is altered by drug abuse, the brain attempts to compensate, which can impair cognitive function. Brain imaging studies of drug-addicted individuals show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control. Together, these changes can drive an abuser to seek out and take drugs compulsively despite adverse, even devastating consequences—that is the nature of addiction. Why Do Some People Become Addicted While Others Do Not? No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to drugs. Risk for addiction is influenced by a combination of factors that include individual biology, social environment, and age or stage of development. The more risk factors an individual has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. For example: Biology. The genes that people are born with—in combination with environmental influences—account for about half of their addiction vulnerability. Additionally, gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may influence risk for drug abuse and addiction. Environment. A person’s environment includes many different influences, from family and friends to socioeconomic status and quality of life in general. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, stress, and quality of parenting can greatly influence the occurrence of drug abuse and the escalation to addiction in a person’s Development. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction vulnerability. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to more serious abuse, which poses a special challenge to adolescents. Because areas in their brains that govern decision making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, adolescents may be especially prone to risk-taking behaviors, including trying drugs of abuse.
Prevention Is the Key Drug addiction is a preventable disease. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective in reducing drug abuse. Although many events and cultural factors affect drug abuse trends, when youths perceive drug abuse as harmful, they reduce their drug taking. Thus, education and outreach are key in helping youth and the general public understand the risks of drug abuse. Teachers, parents, and medical and public health professionals must keep sending the message that drug addiction can be prevented if one never abuses drugs.

I may out date myself but there was a common saying frequently used, “I’m not gonna lie.” This was something you were going to be painfully truthful about.
I read the paper everyday and I’m not gonna lie, I read the obituaries. Occasionally I am inspired by the life lived by a simple, unassuming person. Today it was Debrorah. She died at the age of 64. She was an only child and “leaves no immediate relatives. However, Deb leaves an array of loving friends who will miss her greatly.” The article goes on to tell of the love and kindness she gave and how she suffered from Huntington’s Disease. This is a progressive neurological disease. The article continues,”It took every function away from her except her smile, her faith and feelings of appreciation for all who touched her life. Though her speech was very limited near the end, her response when asked how she was doing was always “perfect.” “She had a loving and generous heart.”
I’m not gonna lie, I get pissed at the person that was flat out rude, the person driving so slow that made me late, the lack of appreciation I was expecting, the gift I thought I deserved, the money I thought I earned and more so much more on my complaint list. Then I read an obituary like Debrorah’s and I will take out my Gratitude Jar, dust it off, and add one of many things I’m thankful for.
So Deb, you’re still touching lives and I’m not going to lie I needed to be reminded of the many things I’m grateful for.                         Thank you for reminding me,              Celeste

David Bowie was the rocker that rocked me off my feet. I went to concerts, collected CDs and named a horse after his song “Starman.” I collect and wear Bowie t-shirts and do just about anything a dedicated fan might do.

Bowie was the writer, artist, poet and vocalist that sang to my soul.


You’ve been around so long, and you’re so bittersweet
You save and you kill me in the same swift beat
You pulled me away from all that I love
But you felt so good and I couldn’t get enough
Everything that had mattered everyone I cared for
You’re now number one, you’re what I love and adore
I’m loyal to us, I’d give my life up for you
I’ll never forget that you were a true rescue
When I was broken and lost and drowning inside
You made me see light in once black skies
You pushed me so far, you kept me so strong
Baby in my eyes you could do me no wrong
You were my strength and my courage, my will and my drive
I chose to ignore that you killed me inside
Cuz the reality is in all of your glory
The feats you have conquered is only half of the story
You were once the most beautiful thing I had known
But when I saw your horns I realized I was alone
You had such a power, made me depend on your touch
I needed you to walk in this life like a crutch
See without your strength I go numb in my tracks
I go from trying to leave you to begging you back
Because even in times where I truly feel strong
I’ll never forget that we made a bond
For better or worse it has always been us
I just wish years later you still picked me up
now you fade like the sun that sets in the west
You’ve taken it all except my regret
I’m not angry at you but I hate all of me
For letting you see how weak I can be
So I’m making a choice to take it all back
As I make my life brighter I watch you fade to black
And I know there comes times where I’ll want you again
I just need to remember you were never my friend


Tears, Hope and the Pope

September was a month to increase awareness of the struggle of addiction and to acknowledge addiction as a disease. Let’s pray for hope for those feeling hopeless, continued maintenance for the sober and remembrance of the souls that lost the fight.

Pope Francis bestowing his blessing of Recovery for the world
While in Rio de Janeiro for the 2013 World Youth Day, Pope Francis visited St. Francis of Assisi Hospital to bless a new wing dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users. Here is his address to patients and staff on July 24, 2013:

Pope Francis to addicts: ‘You are never alone’
God has willed that my journey, after the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, should take me to a particular shrine of human suffering — the St. Francis of Assisi Hospital. The conversion of your patron saint is well-known: The young Francis abandoned the riches and comfort of the world in order to become a poor man among the poor. He understood that true joy and riches do not come from the idols of this world — material things and the possession of them — but are to be found only in following Christ and serving others. Less well-known, perhaps, is the moment when this understanding took concrete form in his own life. It was when Francis embraced a leper. This brother, suffering and an outcast, was the “mediator of light … for St. Francis of Assisi” (Lumen Fidei, No. 57), because in every suffering brother and sister that we embrace, we embrace the suffering Body of Christ. Today, in this place where people struggle with drug addiction, I wish to embrace each and every one of you, who are the flesh of Christ, and to ask God to renew your journey, and also mine, with purpose and steadfast hope.
To embrace — we all have to learn to embrace the one in need, as St. Francis did. There are so many situations in Brazil, and throughout the world that require attention, care and love, like the fight against chemical dependency. Often, instead, it is selfishness that prevails in our society. How many “dealers of death” there are that follow the logic of power and money at any cost! The scourge of drug trafficking, that favors violence and sows the seeds of suffering and death, requires of society as a whole an act of courage. A reduction in the spread and influence of drug addiction will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use, as is currently being proposed in various parts of Latin America. Rather, it is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future. We all need to look upon one another with the loving eyes of Christ, and to learn to embrace those in need, in order to show our closeness, affection and love.
To embrace someone is not enough, however. We must hold the hand of the one in need, of the one who has fallen into the darkness of dependency perhaps without even knowing how, and we must say to him or her: You can get up, you can stand up. It is difficult, but it is possible if you want to.
Dear friends, I wish to say to each of you, but especially to all those others who have not had the courage to embark on our journey: You have to want to stand up; this is the indispensable condition! You will find an outstretched hand ready to help you, but no one is able to stand up in your place. But you are never alone! The Church and so many people are close to you. Look ahead with confidence. Yours is a long and difficult journey, but look ahead, there is “a sure future, set against a different horizon with regard to the illusory enticements of the idols of this world, yet granting new momentum and strength to our daily lives” (Lumen Fidei, No. 57). To all of you, I repeat: Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! And not only that, but I say to us all: Let us not rob others of hope, let us become bearers of hope! In the Gospel, we read the parable of the Good Samaritan, that speaks of a man assaulted by robbers and left half dead at the side of the road. People pass by him and look at him. But they do not stop, they just continue on their journey, indifferent to him: It is none of their business! Only a Samaritan, a stranger, sees him, stops, lifts him up, takes him by the hand, and cares for him (cf. Lk 10:29-35).
Dear friends, I believe that here, in this hospital, the parable of the Good Samaritan is made tangible. Here there is no indifference, but concern. There is no apathy, but love. … Thanks are due to all the medical professionals and their associates who work here. Your service is precious; undertake it always with love. It is a service given to Christ present in our brothers and sisters. As Jesus says to us: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). And I wish to repeat to all of you who struggle against drug addiction, and to those family members who share in your difficulties: the Church is not distant from your troubles, but accompanies you with affection. The Lord is near you, and he takes you by the hand. Look to him in your most difficult moments and he will give you consolation and hope. And trust in the maternal love of his Mother Mary. This morning, in the Shrine of Aparecida, I entrusted each of you to her heart. Where there is a cross to carry, she, our Mother, is always there with us. I leave you in her hands, while with great affection I bless all of you.

May all Beings be freed

Shared by Bernard Sarkissian
May all beings be freed from their suffering, know joy, know peace!!
For all my friends, whether close or casual, just because. This is one of the longest posts I will ever make, and one of the most real too. Everyone will go through some hard times at some point. Life isn’t easy. Just something to think about. Did you know the people that are the strongest are usually the most sensitive? Did you know the people who exhibit the most kindness are the first to get mistreated? Did you know the ones who take care of others all the time are usually the ones who need it the most? Did you know the three hardest things to say are I love you, I’m sorry, and help me? Sometimes just because a person looks happy, you have to look past their smile to see how much pain they may be in. To all my friends who are going through some issues right now–let’s start an intentional avalanche. We all need positive intentions right now. If I don’t see your name, I’ll understand. May I ask my friends wherever you might be, to kindly copy and paste this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all of those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just needs to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune. I hope to see this on the walls of all my friends just for moral support. I know some will!!! I did it for a friend and you can too.

“On August 5, 1962, movie actress Marilyn Monroe is found dead in her home in Los Angeles. Los Angeles police concluded that her death was “caused by a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs and that the mode of death is probable suicide.”
“I make mistakes, I’m out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Marilyn Monroe

My Veins

I miss you and I don’t know where you are. I think I’m alone now. I don’t think I’m gone. Am I still here?
They make me feel like I’m losing my mind. Sadly my veins tell the story that I’m already gone.
I don’t want to go so I’ll hang on, at least one more time.
For Marie