We have a Chance in Life With Hope

I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 106, 450 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.


We are starting a new promotion tonight. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don‘t miss out. 


Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more updates about the new book.


Hope’s Chances

The British mother, straight blond hair across her eyes, couldn’t look at the TV camera. As she and her partner stood in front of the media, they released what was left of their hopes. Their infant son Charlie, born with a rare genetic condition, had suffered massive brain damage. The parents fought hard for his life, but in the end, no doctor could help him. Now Charlie would be allowed to die in peace.*

Hope’s last thin wisp disappeared like morning mist. For them, all that was left was a sky with a hole in the shape of their baby boy.

We grasp for and cling to a crazy kind of hope when a child gets a terminal illness, when the cancer comes back, when nobody leaves the light on in your personal tunnel of woe. It’s hard to keep hoping in the face of a death sentence, yet we often rise to the occasion. “I’m hoping against hope,” we say, and smile to prove it—even when we know we don’t stand a chance.

But is hope sometimes foolish, setting us up for certain disappointment?

In my journey with my adult children, hoping they’ll recover from drug and alcohol abuse, I’ve sometimes wondered how far my hope can stretch. After decades of dealing with one son’s meth addiction as well as his two brothers’ alcoholism, lately I hear myself using words like “intractable.” It sounds a little like incurable, and a whole lot like hopeless.

The first time I said this aloud, I was interviewing a man who’d recently lost his son to the opioid epidemic. I was referring to my middle son’s meth addiction, which experts claim is harder than heroin to kick. “At this point,” I said, “my son has been a meth user for more than half his life.”

The man said he was sorry to hear it, but in my mind, I was suddenly standing mere inches from a speeding train. With a racing locomotive’s hot breath on me, only a fool would give me or my son a snowball’s chance. I waited for impact.

Until I remembered.

Hope isn’t always about odds. Often, it’s a way to keep going when you’re falling apart. Mostly, it’s about love.

My son has said and done things to his family that could make your whiskers curl. He’s called his dad and me names, cursed us blue and has stolen and destroyed property. In a meth-fueled rage when he was barely out of middle school, he attacked his Marine Corps veteran father.  My son’s been through inpatient treatment at least three times and outpatient rehab even more. We’ve gone to family and personal counseling, twelve-step meetings and educational programs on his behalf. So far, recovery hasn’t really stuck.

Some days, I catch myself thinking this addiction nightmare will never end. After all, meth is very hard to beat, and studies show that addicts’ chances dry up if the user doesn’t have much to lose. My son has no job, no spouse, no kids and no home except with us. There’s no parole officer or even a driver’s license to hang over his head. If he continues to abuse drugs, he’ll eventually also give up his youthful vigor, handsome looks and even his teeth.

But I try to remember that my son is not meth. What he does isn’t right or healthy or even tolerable, but he is much more than the sum of his sins. Much more. He’s a part of me, and I cannot stop loving him, encouraging him, and yes, hoping for him.

Some would say the hope expressed by baby Charlie’s parents was not only unrealistic, but cruel. Where’s the upside of an infant who can’t breathe on his own, see, hear or swallow? If meth addiction is indeed intractable, why not throw out my son and be done with it?

The answer I always seem to find is simple—love. Nestled inside a cocoon of love—foolish or not—a fragile hope can push back at the ugliest of prognoses.  We hope because we love—our families, friends, statesmen. And my kind of love always includes a Presence bigger and more mysterious than anything I can imagine.

The circumstances may still suck. Babies may slip away to be angels, senators may succumb and addicts may never stop using. Life is beautiful and frequently terrible, as Frederick Buechner says. Hope knows this all too well but still says, “Sure, life is awful. But I love you and I’m not giving up on you.” And our hearts get lighter for a while, just knowing someone is pulling for us.

When common sense says cut loose, hope keeps me from crumbling into a soggy mess. From time to time, hope even scolds me for using words such as intractable.

The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes—not to mention the Byrds of sixties’ rock and roll—says there is a time for everything: sowing, reaping, birth, death, you-name-it. Yet throughout scripture, we’re reassured that if we place our hope in God, we’ll never be disappointed. Even old Job, whose life was an absolute train wreck, didn’t stop hoping in God.

The parents who hoped for their terminally ill son’s cure may as well have tried to catch the wind. They gazed at his tiny face and saw more beauty than anything, even with his grave condition and a feeding tube shoved up his nose. They probably sensed Charlie didn’t have a chance, but their love for a son outweighed the sorry odds.

Their experience has shown me how small and limited I can be about my hopes for my own son. Where graphs and charts and polls show meth addiction to be like a cancer that keeps coming back, I search for the good in my son’s still beautiful wide smile.  I’ll keep my slightly crazy hopes on display, partly to keep from strangling him, mostly to keep loving him. Will he ever stop using drugs and live a clean and sober life?

“It’s a long shot,” said the man who’d lost his son to a heroin overdose. “But don’t you ever give up hope.”

“Not a chance,” I said. “Not a chance.”

*Charlie Gard passed away one month short of his first birthday. May he rest in peace.

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Rediscovering the Heart of Mercy

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 104,550 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are in a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. We are only 450 away from our next goal . It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 


Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more updates about the new book. 


+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor recently. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂

There will be some incredible interviews with veterans in this book. Up to twenty different veterans agreed to let me ask them some very personal questions. Some answers will have you in tears.  Some are actually humorous. 


Glad to have back Linda Clare. She speaks from the heart, and sometime it is gut wrenching such as today’s post. Learn from a mother who has addicted children. 



Rediscovering the Heart of Mercy

Linda S. Clare

When my son, who’s been a meth-addict most of his adult life, burst into the kitchen, the pot of water for spaghetti noodles was already at a rolling boil. He was boiling mad. Only a kitchen island lay between him and his younger and shirtless brother as they traded insults. The kitchen knives gleamed ominously in their block, as if waiting for one of the boys to snap. It was the hottest day of the year and the most violent behavior I’d ever witnessed from my meth-addicted son.

What they were fighting about, I didn’t know.

I kept my gaze on the boiling water, as my middle child threw food, shoved the toaster off the counter and ranted at his brother. We’d had trouble with fist fights before—mostly late at night when younger bro was drunk and his older sib was high—but this time was different. Meth can induce psychosis, but in the past, he’d always stopped short of attacking me. This time, if he pushed the pot of water off the burner, his brother and I would have serious burns. I prayed the knives would stay in their slots. I was petrified of my own son.

The cords of his neck bulged as he literally foamed at the mouth. We each told him to leave several times, but he wouldn’t back down as he screamed obscenities. No amount of pleading or negotiating seemed to help. My husband finally locked himself in the bathroom and called the sheriff. It was a pretty bad day.

For decades now, I’ve been astounding my friends and relatives by my repeated failures to use Tough Love effectively to drive my three grown sons to recovery. I know I can’t change their minds, and believe me, I’ve tried. Pros call me an enabler and codependent and it’s true. I can’t seem to “kick them out to the streets” so that they can hit bottom, any more than I can take my misbehaving pet to the pound. If I’m responsible for “crippling them” as one friend put it, I am guilty of lots of other no-nos too.

Part of my reasoning has always been that my addicts/alcoholics also have mental health issues, which complicates everything. But more importantly, until now their violence stayed in the realm of sibling rivalry. This time, psychosis and violence teamed up like the New Testament demon who caused that poor guy to fall into the fire. To keep calm, I tried to remember Bible verses.

Over and over again, Jesus asks us to love. To forgive seventy-times-seven. To turn the other cheek. Show mercy and we will receive mercy.  No condemnation. Love not punishment.

How do you show love, forgiveness, or mercy to someone who is psychotic? He wasn’t even making sense. He ran out as the law arrived.

The policeman who responded was courteous but emphatic. We were to toss both these guys out on their ears—today—and go to court for a restraining order in case they weren’t happy about leaving. The cop advised my husband and I to go live our lives and to let our sons go work on their problems any way they could.

I objected, citing their clear need for mental health services, next to impossible to get without a pot of money at the end of the rainbow. Social services strained beyond belief are why so many mentally ill wander the streets unless they go to jail. Self-medication is often the result of untreated mental illness. But this cop insisted the mental problems would go away if my sons got clean.

I wasn’t so sure. Questions rolled through me: What would happen to him on the street? He has little in the way of education, job skills or ways to take care of himself. But if he stayed, what about the feud with his brother? More violence? I couldn’t let that happen.

My psychotic son finally left with nothing except the clothes on his back. He needs help desperately. The system has failed him and millions like him, abandoning sick people to die a slow death from drugs, alcohol, unemployment, homelessness, hopelessness. That day, I felt pretty hopeless too.

But my stance on Tough Love also got an education. I’m pretty sure God’s plan for my life doesn’t include getting scalded by boiling water thrown by a psychotic meth addict. If he is this violent, he cannot stay. If he refuses or cannot gain access to drug treatment and mental health treatment, I can’t trust that another episode won’t happen. I am so sorry. For now, this may have to be the only love, forgiveness and mercy I can offer to him.

This side of heaven we may never know why such things happen. Evil wants to scare the love right out of me and you and anyone who tries to thwart its agenda. I have to stay safe but I won’t stop loving my sons. Or praying for their healing. I pray for wisdom yes, and courage. Courage to do the right thing, courage to stick to my decisions. Courage to keep loving my sons and my God, when a pot of boiling water or a butcher knife might be the last straw.

Today, as far as I know, my son is still alive. The situation breaks my heart but it could lead him to seek help at last. I have no optimism of my own—down here in the pits, everything seems miserable. My heart is a gaping wound.

But a broken heart is tender, fertile ground, where God’s mercy can take root. Mercy then picks up the shattered hope I’ve dropped and lovingly pieces it together again. Pieces me together again. Because He lives, as the old song goes, I can face tomorrow.  Yesterday, hope took quite a beating. But thanks to the toughest kind of love I’ve ever had to give, today it’s coming back strong.


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Lives out of control, lost, decimated, bludgeoned beyond recognition

We want to thank all the people who have been subscribing to our RSS feed on this site. It has been awesome! We just passed 20,000 subscribers. We are averaging over 60 new subscribers a day for January. Why is this happening? Because we offer quality posts of encouragement daily. Many people who come here are searching for hope. We provide this.

The latest exciting news is that we passed the one million mark in total hits for our site since it started. That is impressive, and you are the ones that did it.

We have been on the first page of the Google Search Rankings for over two years.  As a matter of fact we are # 2 this week. Help us stay on that page by subscribing today if you haven’t already. Just click on the icon right after the title to do that.


We would like to let you know that the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” is now out in eBook form at all of the eBook outlets. Be sure to check it out. You can actually order it right off of this site by clicking on the Amazon icon on the right. It is only $4.99 compared to $19.99 for the hard copy in the bookstores.

This book has words of hope, not only from this site, but personal thoughts from Doug Bolton the author, and administrator of this site.


If you want an autographed hard copy of “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” you just need to click on the “bookstore,” tab here, and order one.


We are so excited that Michael Clark is back! he did his first post in several months last Sunday, and the response was incredible. We had a record amount of new subscribers, and the hit count was out of site. It is obvious that you are telling us you are excited to see him back as well.

His post tonight is very inspiring and full of hope.



Drug addiction destroys – not just the addict, but everyone surrounding the addict. Drug addiction washes over everything it touches, impacting not only the addict but also his family members, and friends. While drug addiction often leads to chaos and unpredictable behavior, it does offer one promise: things will go from bad to worse. A true addict is completely powerless over the drug of choice, and suffers tremendous physical, spiritual and emotional consequences as a result.

An addict has crossed a line, and can no longer be considered normal in many capacities of his life. We are hyper sensitive in almost all area of our lives. We are generally over responsive to everything. Unlike a casual substance user, a drug addict cannot just take a reasonable amount of a substance.Nor can impending doom, such as the loss of a job or spouse, lead an addict to give up the drug. In fact, an addict will go to all means, even illegal ones, to get what he wants?

It is difficult for a non-addict to understand, but those who are addicted to drugs have one thing in common. They have lost the ability to control themselves when using. To further complicate matters, they cannot stop using for any length of time regardless of how much they want to quit.No matter how much willpower or self-knowledge an addict has, the substance has taken over his ability to fight off the obsession around it or get enough of it into his system.A hardcore drug addict is on the path to insanity or death. Drug addiction is that debilitating. Regardless of the failed relationships or lost jobs that fall by the wayside along the way, the definitive end will be terrible indeed unless the addict gets clean.

Those who know addicts cannot help but be impacted by this affliction. Family members will learn that they can no longer trust the addict because addicts lie all of the time. Friends and all who care about the addict will no doubt be saddened and frustrated. They will feel helpless and angry as they see the person they once knew and loved slip away.

Children are not left out either. They will come to view chaotic life as a normal one.Sadly, all who know addicts will live in disappointment. No matter how much they hope that things will change, an addict still on drugs will constantly disappoint themselves and others.They will lose their friends, family and most likely their job. The people that care about them and love them will hang on as long as they can, but a person with a drug addiction doesn’t just hurt themselves, they hurt everyone around them. It is at this point that most people find themselves finally in rehab either by their own choice or by physical force. If they do not have friends and family that are still around that care enough to force help on a person, it is usually at this point that an addict will either die of a drug overdose, at the hands of another or be spending a term in prison.

Lives out of control, lost, decimated, some are bludgeoned beyond recognition. Loved ones are left to grieve and wonder what went so wrong in the life of loved ones. These are a few of the destructive and overwhelming effects of drug addiction. Each day, drug addiction stories are being played out in homes, in churches, and in individual lives, it is very real and can become very personal.

I believe that almost everyone, at some point in time, has heard of the ripple effect. You throw a pebble into calm water and watch the ripples until they reach the shore. It’s the same with our choices, which are the pebbles of our lives. Life is a series of events; pebbles thrown into the water. Each event is our lives will bring with it thoughts and emotions. Every decision we make, statistically, directly affects at least seven others and an untold amount of others indirectly. For every decision you make, there will be consequences. Just because i don’t see them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. There were pebbles thrown and ripples on the water, before I was born, that have impacted my life.

I am not trying to justify or excuse anything I’ve done. I simply want other others to understand that even though you may have the best of intentions, sometimes there are unintended consequences. There will be a point in every person’s life when he or she will be faced with the decisions made, the consequences, and the unintended consequences. For some, unfortunately it may not come until the point of death, but the time will come. For others like me, the truth will come home to visit before it’s too late. I am grateful to be one of the lucky ones, although it didn’t feel like luck at the time.
How do you avoid unintended consequences?

By paying attention to the ripples, by stepping outside yourself long enough to understand that the choices you make today could affect not only you, but also others for years, and even generations to come. By throwing new pebbles in the pond, by helping others, we create a whole new set of ripples. Each pebble has the capability of starting a whole new cycle of ripples. Helping others when you may never know where the ripples will end.
When you simply do the next right thing, you will stop worrying about the consequences, and when you no longer have to worry about consequences, there is no longer a need to worry about unintended consequences.It means taking a risk. The risk of getting involved in life – especially in the lives of others and your own. What I understand now is that we all begin life with generations of ripples, choices made before we were even born, that can affect our lives. But we can wade into the waters of life and stop the ripples. We can make a stand, and stop making excuses for why we do the things we do.

Before you toss that pebble into the pond, or rock into the ocean, stop and think about the consequences. The ripple you cause today could last for generations. Your children are watching you and every choice you make.
Whether you see the results of your choices are not, you are responsible. Once you are aware of that, there is no excuse left to continue along the same path. People have already made choices that have affected your life to this point, some good, and some bad. Today you have a choice. You can change things, one pebble at a time.
I know all of the above from personal experience; see I was the source of all my problems. I damaged everyone that came into contact with me. I not only lost love ones, family members, and friends, somewhere along the way I lost me. I no longer knew who I was, I lost all drive, all caring, and all will.

Then one day a friend of mine stopped enabling and started confronting me with the truth. It was hard to hear, and I had heard it before, but this time it was different. It wasn’t done out of anger or disappointment, it was done out of love and general concern for me. It was a very humbling experience to realize, he had no hidden agenda, it wasn’t done to benefit him, but to benefit me. He didn’t try to force me to the truth, he gently guided me towards it. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it was a Train headed straight for me, waiting for another wreck to happen. I am not a quitter by nature, but I had enough senses left to know it was time to step of the tracks. For the first time, in a long time, I realized how far down the path I had traveled, and the truth broke through barriers that the enabling, done in the name of love, ever could.

I had family members who were literally loving me to death by enabling me, if your an enabler, please stop, let your loved one hit bottom, there they have a chance for survival, they have a chance to regain a sense of reality. There they may finally seek the help from the only one they have left to turn to. God.

God is faithful; He is there to be found by those who seek Him. But they will have to seek Him with their heart, and then He will appear in their life. They will finally know the way out, but they must choose for themselves, you cannot make the choice for them, as much as you would like to.



You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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What if you Had a Pity Party and no one Came?

What are you looking for?

What is your future hope?

What are you dreaming about?

How often do you let the world disappoint you?

Many people wonder about the  answers to these questions.  They go to work, and put in there time. They come home, and turn on the TV, and plant themselves on the couch. Many have a dream, but they don’t think they are capable of doing it.

We all have a dream that we have been clinging to. What is your dream? Do you want to be a business owner that has a business that reaches out and helps others? How about a type of job that you can work at home and be with your children? Maybe a job that is actually fun, rewarding, and pays good.

I would guess most of you would be excited about these jobs, but what if God has other plans for you? He may want you to be a servant to others like your thought of a business that reaches out to others, but the job He as in mind is to go to another country and be a missionary.

He may have a opening in a rehab center for addicts that he thinks you would do well at.

God provides doors for us, but we don’t always open them. We may ignore His call, and choose our own path.

We all with like to have riches, and a good living, but sometimes it doesn’t deliver what it is supposed to. I have read about every wealthy people that are very sad. How could that be? They have all the money they need to buy happiness. It is because they have a void. They are missing something. They don’t have the love of God, and they a very alone because they don’t know about His loving ways.

I know there are some of you who are in hard times. You amy have lost your job. You may be behind in your house payments. You may not have any health insurance. These are hard to deal with. I feel your pain, and I pray for all those who are hurting in this respect.

So, either rich or poor what can we do to fulfill our dreams, and have some hope?

Think on this:

  • Money can only buy “things.” It can’t buy happiness.
  • It is always darkest just before the dawn of a new day.
  • Never give up! Never let Satan knock you down, and make you feel unworthy. That is just where he wants you.
  • Take God’s hand and let Him lead you through the storms of life. He feels your pain. He has felt His own pain when His only Son was dying on the cross.
  • Get up off of that couch, and look to the future. Look for the hope that God already knows you have. He has a plan for you, and with His help you can do some life changing projects for others.

Don’t let the world pull you down like a huge magnet. Life is tough enough without you allowing it to get the best of you through your pity parties.

Think of what you would really want to do and just go for it. God will help you win the race, and when you do, your whole outlook will grow tremendously.


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