Words could not express my admiration for Maggie Fleitman and Solace For Hope. Without the tireless assistance of all of the parents and her dedication to ending the tragedies of this disease, I do not know if I would be clean and sober today. Solace For Hope provided me with a new perspective on the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol by accurately portraying the realistic picture of the family afterwards. Solace for Hope also allowed me a safe place to discuss and process my own personal traumas. This amazing group of parents are not just support for me, but a family that always has my best interest at heart. I will forever be grateful.
The meeting is meant to give hope, light, love, and compassion to people who have experienced loss because of drugs. By coming together to share their stories, Solace members help each other to grieve in an environment that is safe, healthy, and full of resources. I imagined what my mom would say if I had overdosed and died, but because I’m alive and doing well in life, it gave me great inspiration to make the most of my life and to be grateful for everything in life. The meeting really ignited a passion in my mind, body, and soul to help addicts and continue my education.
The dynamic of Solace is like nothing you could imagine. It is raw, and painful, and heartbreaking. But, it is equally as intimate, and hopeful and real. When our loss makes us feel like we are losing our minds, Solace is the family we know will always be there for us.
This meeting really put things into perspective for me on how addiction is really “a family disease” and how greatly it affects not only the addict, but all of their loved ones. As I left the meeting, I felt so much gratitude for being given a “second chance.”
I was moved by my visit to the Solace group meeting and it made me joyful to see the level of intimate caring that these members provided each other. Although they had all experienced something that had completely devastated their lives, they had also found a new home where they could begin to understand their losses and find a path back to meaning in life again. They had found Solace
It was emotionally disturbing but important for me to hear the bereaved parents speak about their losses. The enormity of their grief is matched only by their courage. My heart broke thinking about what I put my father through during my own addiction, envisioning him amongst those parents. Solace shows that together we can find strength and meaning in our suffering. It is a place where people perform a peculiar kind of alchemy, transforming grief into wisdom and pain into love.
This meeting tore my heart into pieces. I thought about my mom and dad throughout the meeting and how different their lives would be if I were not in it. I think that everyone who comes to this meeting and shares their stories are so brave. This meeting was more powerful than any 12-step meeting I have been to. What I learned from this meeting is that life is a gift. I’ve learned how truly lucky me and my family are that I survived my overdoses. I left this meeting wanting to go back again. I left this meeting grateful for my life and my family.
Attending this meeting was a deeply emotional experience for me. After some reflection, I came away from the experience with a renewed faith in humanity and the resilience of the human spirit. These parents could have easily used the painful loss of their loved ones as an excuse to give up and hide from life, however, they have made the courageous decision to go out into the world and use their experience to help others who are suffering.
Feelings of grief and anger are ones that I have learned to push away, but at Solace I learned they were accepted. Every single word spoken in that meeting resonated with me. I realized I was not alone, the feelings of grief and loss are universal. To be in a room where I knew my emotions were safe to be expressed and that they would be understood was a comforting feeling that strengthened me.
I have been to several AA and NA meetings but this was the first time I have attended a meeting where I was able to hear from people on the other side of addiction. When I left the meeting I called my mother just to tell her how much I loved and appreciated her and everything she has done for me. I am so grateful to have had this experience. I will admit I was not excited to go to this meeting but now I am so glad that I did and would definitely go back again.
This meeting changed my life. As Maggie was sharing her story, I couldn’t help but relate directly to her son. Everything she was saying flashing through my mind like a movie, but instead of Maggie, it was my mom. I’ve never experienced my own addiction through someone else’s eyes and I began to feel overwhelmed once I realized how much fear and worry I forced on my parents. I began to feel thankful that my parents never had to sit in the room like this, struggling to cope with the grief of my death. I cried because I was happy that they had an outlet like Solace to support each other. I cried because the strength and hope in that room was astounding.
When I was using heroin my biggest fear was losing my parents while I was still in my addiction, however, I never really thought about how much my death might have affected them. The message that resonated with me the most was that while we may think very little about ourselves, especially while in our addiction, we are loved unconditionally by our parents. At this meeting it was refreshing to hear people speaking from their hearts. I felt hopeful because of all the knowledge I heard in the room, primarily about Narcan, methadone treatment, and the disease of addiction. To see people taking their negative experiences and using them to educate and help others was genuinely rewarding.
The strength and bravery of each of them exhibited by not only showing up, but allowing themselves to become emotionally vulnerable in front of complete strangers was inspiring. They were there to heal. Coincidentally, I had actually lost a good friend of mine the previous week and was also dealing with my own emotional rollercoaster, so I thought I was right where I needed to be.
I’ve been to many AA and NA meetings in my life, but nothing compares to the Solace meeting. It was one of the most eye-opening, intense, emotional experiences I’ve ever had. The regular attendees of the meeting aren’t just friends with a common tragedy, they are family. I am so thankful that these families have an outlet where they can talk to others going through the same situations and have a sense of family through an incredibly hard time.
Hearing what the parents have gone through and how they are coping with the aftermath of their child’s death was extremely heart-wrenching because I could see my mother, my grandfather, and my grandmother in all of their eyes. The feeling of gratefulness I had after this meeting was unexplainable. After leaving I couldn’t help but smile knowing that I was able to live a beautiful life for my fallen brothers and sisters of addiction. I went home and hugged and kissed my family, saying thank you for loving me and never giving up.
The sensation I felt throughout the solace meeting was that I was in a very special place where these families have a community that could lead them to some peace and truly understand their pain. I began to feel the weight of a thousand worlds rest upon me as I tried to put myself in their place. I felt humble to be sitting across from these parents and just wanted to make sure I somehow expressed my gratitude for sharing in that time with them when the time was right.