Just for Today Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 423

In the past, I’ve shared our family’s personal story about our son’s addiction to heroin. It’s a story that we are not ashamed of, actually, it is the opposite. On this path we have met and befriended so many people that had we had “ordinary” lives; we would never have met.

Sitting in recovery clinics or jail visiting areas and waiting rooms, we have learned that we are all the same, loving our children when they themselves were so hard to love. We’ve grown to understand more about the illness of addiction and how it robs the victim of a livable life and decimates families financially and otherwise.

We’ve learned not to judge, but to accept that which we were powerless to change. We’ve had our ups and downs that mirrored his challenges, successes and failures. His good days were cause for our elation only to have the bubble burst in the blink of an eye.

Today, after many years, we have come to a moment where we can take one deep breath, exhale, and hope. All it is, is one hour in this day. We can own it, and can revel in it, but are aware that it is fleeting, and tomorrow is never promised.

With that in mind, I share with you today’s moment which I posted for friends and family, filled with dreams and hopes for a better tomorrow for our son, our family and for all those who yet remain hostage to the disease of addiction.

Today was an incredibly special day for our family. Surrounded by us, baby Bentley, Courtney, and his sister, Sharon, Hillel and the “big kid” cousins via zoom, our son Yoni made a huge step in his recovery. Thank you to the judges, attorneys, counselors, officers and associates at Cleveland drug court and all those on his journey who stood by and supported him.

This 15-year journey has been a very tough, challenging road toward graduation and the daily work must never end. It’s a struggle that all afflicted with this disease understand much better than I and while today was one of celebration and hope for our family, we know the pain, sorrow and brokenness of so many families whose loved ones didn’t live to experience a day like today.

Each graduate received a watch to remind him of how precious each moment is, and that recovery sometimes comes just a minute at a time. We’re so proud and continue to pray for him and all those who struggle to find their way to wholeness, health and peace.

A prayer of shehecheyanu from our tradition: Thank you, God, creator of the universe, who has kept us in life, sustained us, and brought us to this special time.

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