One of the most gracious and heart-felt gifts I have ever received was given to me by a very dear friend and fellow recovering addict, Lovisa. I have never met her face to face as she is in Iceland and I in Pennsylvania; however, I met her online through Facebook, along with quite a few other recovering addicts/alcoholics, from around the world. We support each other online and especially when it is difficult, or sometimes impossible to get to a meeting, these lovely women are always there for me, giving me strength and hope, and I try to give at least as much as I get.
During a time I was having particularly stressful difficulties with my children, I started reaching out to these women and Lovisa wrote something to me that I will never forget, giving me something I cherish. She wrote that she was sending me a hug and 1,000 more to put under my pillow for when I needed them most. For some, this may sound really silly, but I truly took that to heart and went through the motion of physically lifting my pillow and placing all those hugs there. And I have since paid it forward, giving this simple little treasure that has had and continues to have a huge effect on me.
It has been a great comfort just knowing they are there. In the many months since, when anxiety would snag me from reality and grip me in its iron clutches or when depression enveloped me in the darkest of chilly clouds, I would sit on my bed, lift my pillow and the warmth from my gifted hugs melted my anxiety and gently blew away those gloomy clouds like a summer breeze. I could almost see the light that radiates from her smile and I would close my eyes and allow myself to feel her genuine embrace. Taking a deep breath, I remembered receiving this gift and how it touched my heart. I have always felt much better afterward, even if it was only a distraction from the storm inside my head. Fortunately, I still have plenty of those hugs left, but if ever I come close to running out, I know that all I have to do is ask and she will happily replenish my supply.