36 Comments
Dec 17, 2022Liked by Holly Rabalais

A beautiful read this fine morning. I know the perils of addiction and everyone's path so different. Years ago drugs much less lethal but addiction is the same. I worked in mental health for a span while fighting my own battles so I get it. Listening your biggest support. He's so handsome, may he grow to love himself more and more for his strength and move mtns or anything in his way into all his dreams. It's so hard to find our way especially these days. ODAT is truth! And that Chloe! A Wow smile! A ginger. So adorable and a favorite song. Hope you had kleenex! I'll have this tune in my head all day. 🎄❤️🦌

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Holly, I usually save your post to read on a Saturday evening, but in my e-mail preview line I read 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel' and knew I had to read it right away - even though it's only 3.15pm over here! It's my favourite Advent hymn, you see. In fact I'm humming the tune right now.

I love everything you've written here, and how beautifully you've related it to the words of the hymn. That beautiful picture of Jonah and Chloe is heartwarming, the concert sounded amazing, and so did Jonah's birthday. I've followed his story since I joined Substack back in the summer, and it's fantastic to read this latest part.

Thank you for the call to arms. YES to talking about all of these things. And yes to strength and love and hope to guide us all.

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Beautiful words, Holly. What a gift you have. This is my favorite advent hymn and you brought so much personal resonance to it that I’m in tears. I’m reminded of the time in my life many many years ago when I worked at a residential treatment home in the Hudson Valley of New York. It was a beautiful rural area about an hour outside NYC. Your essay recalls a memory I have of a young woman shooting hoops in the courtyard, all alone. It was the middle of the day and everyone else was in their respective programming, but there she was shooting hoops, allowed to do her own thing because she was new and still detoxing and needed to keep her body moving. I don’t know why this visual of her body elongated in a jump shot and the sounds of the basketball on concrete and her feet shuffling on gravel have stuck with me for so many years, but now I’m hearing this beautiful hymn in the background of my memory. It was the beginning of her journey with the anticipation of so much to come.

Thank you for sharing your story. I have a complicated relationship with the church right now, which spills over a bit into faith in general, which I didn’t really notice until I started writing about advent a couple weeks ago and I found some of the usual words difficult to write. I appreciate how difficult the journey has been for you as a mom and I’m thankful you and Jonah are willing to share it. Some of us need reminders to help keep us tethered.

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I hope Jonah knows how many of us are rooting for him. 7 months is a great marker. Every day is a victory.

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You and your family continue to inspire.

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Such a beautiful photo of Chloe and Jonah! Rejoice indeed! And yes, we DO need to talk about these things.

The challenge in my family was that once the child turns 18, a parent's hands are legally tied. Even when the kid is still in high school! My brother could not access my niece's records, could not check her in or apply for treatment, could not talk to the dr., etc. That's a huge burden to put on an 18 or 19 y/o who is already struggling with addiction. I have so much admiration for my brother and sister-in-law for continuing to show up, for never giving up, and going the extra mile. On top of the addiction, my niece has struggled with personality disorder and trauma. Honestly, I wasn't sure she'd make it. And now, she has her own apartment and a FT job working with kids. Every day is a blessing, yes, and every day requires a renewed commitment. Blessings to you and your family!

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Thank you for being so open with Jonah's story and the victory he has won and continues to fight to win each day. God be near.

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Beautiful post, Holly. Thanks for sharing hope, it's a rare commodity as many are not comfortable enough to share their stories. Know that Jonah and your family are doing God's work. I hope you get to ride the rollercoaster over the remainder of the holidays!! 💟

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Dec 18, 2022Liked by Holly Rabalais

Gorgeous, powerful post, Holly! I love how you interwove Chloe’s song with Jonah’s story. There’s so much hope here. But also so much sadness for the ways that drugs have infiltrated our communities. I would guess almost all of us have watched a loved one struggle with some sort of addiction. It’s lovely to know that happy endings are possible.

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Thank you for sharing Jonah’s journey. Your writing is so honest and courageous. I wish him well on his recovery. I know somewhere down the road his life will touch someone else and inspire them in their own journey.

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Thank you Holly for sharing your family's story in order to get this message out. You are right, it is everywhere, and it's not just opioids--there are so many types of addiction, and they all ruin lives. I know, I've seen it up close and personal. The hardest part is keeping anger and judgement in check--it's natural to be angry but it only makes things worse. Thanks again.

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Keep up the good work.

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Dec 17, 2022Liked by Holly Rabalais

Thanks for sharing; I appreciate your story about your difficulties with a family member with an opioid use disorder. I just wrote a piece highlighting a book a friend and neighbor wrote called Two Hearts on a Rocky Road by Rosalind Katz. Her book talks about her stress and challenges with their son, that develops schizophrenia. One of the areas of my work has been with opioid substance use disorder, having worked at the state medical and psychiatric hospital treating addictions and as a medical director running a couple of opioid treatment programs here in the Asheville area. My latest Substack article discusses the difficulties of being a parent or caregiver when an expected family mental health crisis develops. My heart goes out to you and my admiration for your family in facing the realities of the situation with love, taking the steps, and finding the resources you need. Reaching out and finding help where you need it is essential, including your faith and support system.

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What a beautiful picture and song! (one of my favorites) Happy Birthday to Jonah! Thank you Holly for sharing what you and your family have walked through and continue to walk through. As a mom of two children I need to continue to have these conversations. Thank you. You and your family our a blessing.

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Having the courage to be honest about Jonah's journey (and yours) could certainly help others. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post full of good will, hope, and faith.

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So happy to see Jonah has come so far.

I continue to marvel at the things you talk about. Most of us probably couldn’t bring ourselves to talk about hard subjects or talk about the pressures we face on a daily basis.

We have to keep praying that God will help us, even though sometimes our prayers aren't answered. I wish I knew why they weren't answered. There must be a reason.

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