Mary Fran Bontempo, Author at DreamLife Recovery
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Author: Mary Fran Bontempo

Questions

So many questions. When dealing with a loved one’s addiction, particularly if the addict is your child, the list of questions is endless. How did this happen? Can’t he see what he’s doing? Why won’t she stop? What did I do wrong? If I had done (xyz), would this have happened? When did this start? What did I miss? And perhaps the worst, most misleading question of all: How can I fix...

Finding Peace in Service

What does peace look like? When you’re trying to support someone in active addiction, it’s a question that’s impossible to answer. There is no peace, either for the addict or the loved one trying desperately to help. There is more than enough pain, sorrow, frustration, and anger. But peace? That’s nowhere to be found. There is also little happiness or joy, especially when you have a front-row seat to the suffering endured...

The Blessing of Forgetfulness

What a luxury. This past week, I was blessed to spend several days at the Jersey shore. But that wasn’t the luxury. At the week’s end, I realized with a start that I had completely forgotten to write my column on dealing with addiction for this coming week. And while the R & R at the beach was amazing, it was the forgetfulness that was truly a gift. I had forgotten to...

Summertime, But is the Living Easy?

Isn’t summer wonderful? Long, warm, light-filled days meant for relaxing and recharging after a dark, cold winter. There’s little more delightful than a summer day spent on a beach or by a pool, with nothing more on your mind than what you might want to eat for dinner. Rules don’t seem to matter much. It’s summertime, and the living is easy. Unless you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse. Addiction...

The Risks of Freedom

As I write this post, it is the day before July 4th, our nation’s Independence Day. On Independence Day of 2020, freedom is a hot topic across the country. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic, one that has significantly stifled our freedoms as individuals and as a society. The simplest of experiences has become a strategic event. If you go to the grocery store, do you have your mask?...

Three Little Words

Words are kind of my thing. As a writer, teacher, and English major, I love playing around with language, finding just the right word to bring life to an idea or thought. I especially love when I use a word my kids don’t know—I’ll admit, I hang onto every bit of superiority I can muster now that they’re all adults.  Yet, as with most things, sometimes my love of words has...

Letting Go of Dreams

My friend, Kristin, has two blind sons. Both boys were born blind due to a rare genetic defect.  Kristin often tells the story of how she always dreamed of becoming a mother. While she was expecting her first child, she allowed herself to dream of what her baby might become. When her son, Michael, was born, Kristin envisioned what his future would be. She saw him becoming a star athlete, his class valedictorian—she...

Cellular Memory in Addiction

I’m not sure cellular memory is a thing. At least not a scientific, documented thing. It is a Hollywood thing, however. I’ve seen horror movies in which some unsuspecting everyman receives a necessary transplant—either an arm, a leg, or maybe even a heart—only to learn too late that the transplant came from a lunatic and the now offending part has a mind of its own. A mind that makes its...

Rebuilding the Trust Factor

Lies. Theft. Manipulation.  How do you trust someone who has embodied not just one of those elements, but all of them?  It’s a question faced by every person asked to trust a loved one struggling with addiction.  When dealing with active addiction, the answer is simple: you don’t.  Addicts have one thing on their minds—their next fix. It is the overriding force in their lives, something over which they have little or...

Simple Wisdom: It is What it is

It is what it is.   What a simple, yet infuriating statement. It expresses the obvious—of course something is what it is; how could it be anything else? —and also attempts to boil down even the most complicated situation into a five-word mantra.  I’m pretty sure my dislike of the phrase began during my son’s active addiction. My son was a drug addict. How was I supposed to understand that, let alone accept it?...

Refusing to Reflect

I never really imagined one of the blessings/curses of the current pandemic would be time to think. Given our isolation, as well as a 24-hour bad news cycle, it’s hard not to think, unendingly, about the current state of the world and what may lie ahead. It’s almost mandatory reflection, whether you like it or not, and most of us would agree—NOT. Ordinarily, I think of reflection, whether it’s self-reflection or more...

Mary Fran Bontempo Just Visiting Crisis

“Just Visiting” Crisis

With every crisis, you’ve got a decision to make: Are you going to live there, or are you just visiting?  Since the descent upon us of the modern plague, aka, COVID 19, we may all feel as though we’re living there—in the thick of the crisis, with no escape. And to an extent, we are, at least as long as the virus continues its grip on society.  However, there is still a way...

A hand writing on a journal: Text: When the rules bind too tightly

When Rules Bind Too Tightly

These days, it seems like we’re all just making up the rules as we go along.   During this global pandemic, virtually every aspect of life has changed. No one really seems to be in charge, with different factions making different rules, and everyone rolling the dice, hoping their decisions are the right ones. And no matter who says what, no one really knows how any of this will play out.   The simplest of acts (at...