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Dr. Barbara Sinor is a retired Psychotherapist living in northern California. Sinor is the author of five inspirational books including her most recent, Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery. Sinor can be contacted through her web site:

I have learned many lessons over the past several decades about the ravages that addiction to drugs and alcohol takes from the soul. The devastation spreads from the addicted individual to outer parameters of his/her family and friends until its limits turn inward upon itself to crumble our society and ultimately our nation. While learning to quasi-cope with a loved one’s addiction, it becomes necessary to learn the ins-'n-outs of the disease, this is not an easy task. Everyone has their own viewpoint about the specifics of drug and alcohol addiction; therefore, it quickly becomes a matter of following your own inner guidance, and that is a must  for unraveling a palatable hypothesis for oneself. 

While the decades of my own family’s addiction to alcohol unraveled, I learned there is no right way to love an alcoholic…only that you must. I learned that asking for guidance from others counts, but cannot be the final tally for actions and reactions to ensue. I learned that trusting one’s Self is eminent in the face of danger, fear, and choice; and, that danger, fear, and choice comes even without our addicted loved one’s presence. I learned compassion is sometimes elusive, but always within reach and is a potent healing agent. I learned that tomorrows are in the hands of that Something More which we have all co-created from many soul journeys. 

Since the publication of Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery one year ago, I have received many letters supporting the book’s philosophy. I had not thought of my contributing words between the heartfelt addiction stories found within this book to be a philosophy, however, I can discern a common thread stitching my thoughts together. That thread is Compassion. I fast learned with my son’s addiction, without compassion there is no acceptance…without acceptance, there is no love. How can we have compassion for our addicted loved ones? How can we not.

My son’s life lessons also impacted my own. I was able to grasp an understanding of the importance of attaining compassion toward those we do not know, as well as, those we love. The hundreds of individuals who have connected with me online and off since this book’s release have given me the insight that we can generate compassion for all others throughout the globe. I quote His Holiness The Dalai Lama many times in the book--one quote I especially like is:

True world peace can only be achieved through peace of mind. And peace of mind springs from a genuine realization that all human beings are brothers and sisters. Different ideologies and different political or economic systems are only secondary; the most important point is that we are all the same human beings, living on one small planet. 

With this knowledge, compassion for all our brothers and sisters seems easy enough, right? But, what about the drug addict on the corner? What about the drunk in the neighborhood bar? Or, the kid down the street smoking pot? Do we have the same compassion for these individuals as we do our brothers and sisters across the globe? Compassion is not to be used selectively…compassion is an open heart for all--addicted or not.

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