Never enough

Never enough

The tall, dark blond-haired young man stepped into my path.
I was rounding a cobblestone corner in an ancient Italian village in Umbria, winding my way up to the Duomo (don’t all Italian streets lead to a Duomo?).
It was a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon in late summer, the town teeming with tourists.

I had strayed away from my friends, savoring the freedom of strolling alone through this stunning city high atop a hill.

The young man forced a flyer into my hand.
When I paused, he pointed to a space on his arm where a small puncture wound told a far darker story.  Another young man stood at a nearby table handing out glossy flyers and accepting donations from passers-by.

Like any American corner. Two clean and sober young men, trying to earn what they could for their treatment program.

The government, it does not support us, he said in halting English. I do not use 6 months.

My son is in recovery too, I said, hoping he understood.
Yes? You are mother?
I nodded and held up ten fingers – then one more.
Months? he asked.
No, years, I replied.
Ahhh. You are mother. So you know, and he smiled broadly.

Into the small bucket he carried I dropped a few euros.

Despite his faltering English, and my appalling Italian, we understood each other.
Addiction and recovery – a universal language.

Later, a Canadian woman at our villa shared that she had been stopped by this same pair. She also gave euros – far more than I. Even though her story was more personal than mine, it didn’t matter. I admired her generosity.

Thinking of my son, I wished I had given more, too.
I always wish I had given more.



10 Replies to “Never enough”

  1. This is a great story. A few weeks before Evan passed I asked him for the upteenth time what I could’ve done differently to have prevented both he and Harrison‘s spiral into addiction. He asked me to pull the car over and he looked me straight in Yahtzee said look at me, mom and he said I’ve told you this before and I’m gonna say it again. There’s absolutely nothing you and dad could have done differently. Absolutely nothing. And for the first time I made some progress coming closer to believing him, it’s so hard not to think we contributed but like the saying in Al Anon you he didn’t cause it you can’t short you can’t control it the three C’s. Love you Lisa glad you had that opportunity to travel.

    1. Hi Diane. Yes…I am glad Evan told you this. Jacob has said the same to me, too, and many times.

      Thank you. We are grateful we could travel. And I am always touched to see young people with addiction fighting to be healthy. Anywhere!

  2. Your story makes me feel so blessed that I have never been cursed with a child’s addiction.

    1. David, yes. Of course. But there also are untold blessings which you also will never know.
      Thank you for reading – and pass along to someone else.

  3. Every contribution helps and we always want to give more. Your sharing is your more.
    I was at a local eatery a few weeks ago and a young man was struggling to stay woke at an outside table. I purchased his lunch and invited him to come inside to eat. I left with tears and went back the next day to thank the owner and patronize the establishment again. It warmed my heart when he said “I understand “. It was enough for that day. I so appreciate you and your willingness to share. Thank you.

    1. Michelle, of course you would do this. It is who you are.
      Thank you for sharing with me.

  4. I am endlessly grateful for my son’s recovery – and to his supportive sponsors and to people like you who continue to share stories of your experiences and inspire us to persevere. love who you are, mlb