mary fran bontempo Archives — DreamLife Recovery
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mary fran bontempo Tag

Always on High Alert

Every summer about this time, I find myself in a bit of a slump. I’m tired. Tired of the heat, tired of the bugs, just tired in general, as in I need rest. Even though summer is supposed to be a time for rejuvenation, I frequently find myself in need of more sleep at summer’s end. It’s almost as though the need to squeeze every moment out of summer’s waning...

When It All Falls Apart

The other day, my website crashed. All I could do was stare in horror at the jumble of words, code and images that had once been a beautiful representation of my work and now looked like a train wreck of letters and pictures. (Did you ever read your kids the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom when they were little? The one where the alphabet letters climb a tree and then fall...

The Storm of Addiction

We’ve had some wild summer storms in my area lately. Thunder, lightning, torrential rain and flooding. Frequently, they seem to come without much warning, aside from a few ominous clouds in the distance. The sky is clear with a little gray, and suddenly, WHAM! It’s a like The Wizard of Oz in real life. That’s the way it often is in summer. Heat and humidity can make things unstable. One minute...

The Codependent Trap

Codependent? Me? No way. To me, being codependent meant supporting someone else’s unhealthy habits and lifestyle—almost encouraging them. And I would never do that. Who would? Turns out, I would. I did it all, particularly during my son’s early addiction. Here’s the definition of codependent: characterized by excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one who requires support on account of an illness or addiction. But how could I be reliant...

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...

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...

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...