By Mary Cucarola, 7/15/23

“When we awaken to this fundamental truth, we begin to understand that a benevolent force of energy is available to guide and direct our lives. I call this energy the unmistakable touch of grace. ~ Cheryl Richardson

Healing is about taking what you need and then leaving the pain place. What allows you to depart from the pain place?

Meeting your needs left by the loss.

There is a chance to see pain from a spiritual point of view; deeply caring about one another and discovering the power of love. Showing up for others and letting others show up for you. That’s the touch of grace, which is free to all of us, even if we don’t ask for it.

Grace brought Cody’s Fresh Start into my life and helped me turn my pain into purpose when I needed it most.

But I needed to reset at the end of last year. I called it a sabbatical, a reboot break, a pause, a practice at retirement or what it needed to be called for me to rest. But, after six months, I believe it has been more of a reflection of milestones – the milestones of entering the 10th year of losing my son to an overdose, and the 7th decade of my life.  Taking stock, so to speak.

Maybe what this break is about is showing up for myself and meeting my needs by pausing and coming up for air. I miss Cody’s Fresh Start (how could I not?), so how can I make it more manageable for myself?  I am looking at several ideas to make it work.

  • Making a “playbook” for the charity golf event so others who want could do most of it with my help.
  • Creating a grant program for treatment centers and sober living homes to replace individual scholarships.
  • Implementing a repeatable family program series using our program as a blueprint for anyone else who would want to facilitate it.

I may come up with others that are better, like hiring an assistant. When I lost Hayley, it was hard for me to keep up with it all, and I didn’t replace her.  She is hard to replace, so I just didn’t do it.  So, that may be something I need to fundraise for first, so I don’t wear myself out again. Being in my 7th decade limits my former boundless energy levels, something I hate to admit.

In May, I applied to The Book Project at Lighthouse Writers in Denver for a 2-year mentorship to help me with finishing my book, improve my writing skills and write on a more consistent basis, but I found out last week that I did not get accepted into the program. Part of what they said word for word in the rejection letter.

This had nothing to do with your writing or potential, but the limited number of spots our six mentors had to fill, the connection each mentor felt to the subject matter, and other considerations having to do with genre and forming a cohesive group.” 

In other words, they didn’t connect to the subject matter of addiction, and neither would the group. I am surprised as I am disappointed and am reminded that the stigma of addiction is alive and well. So, as I take this disappointment and consider a different path for the next two years, I may realize that I am meant to continue to talk and write about addiction, whether people like it or not or whether they connect to it or not.

Everything we experience and every person we meet has been put in our path to help us live more fulfilled lives, according to Cheryl Richardson in her wonderful 2005 book The Unmistakable Touch of Grace.  Hidden miracles occur every day that are blessings in disguise, gifts that make you stronger, more aware, and ultimately more alive.  Disappointments can be gifts, too.

Grace is the recognition that everything is connected and sacred. I tend to get motivated when I am rejected or told no, the rebellious comes out in me, so maybe this is a blessing in disguise.

A touch of grace.

Mary Cucarola, 7/15/23

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *