Someone Cares: A Much-Needed Hug

This addiction recovery community sends comforting, blessed shawls to those in need.

Posted in , Feb 26, 2021

A woman finding comfort in a Serenity Shawl; Illustration by Coco Masuda

As the executive director of SpiritWorks, an addiction recovery community in Williamsburg, Virginia, I know the important role that hugs play in recovery. At 12-step meetings, we always hold hands and give hugs, but the pandemic curtailed physical contact. So many times, I’ve heard someone say, “I need a hug.” It’s been difficult not to be able to comfort them.

This need for touch gave me an idea. A shawl would feel like a hug around someone’s shoulders. “What if we gave out shawls?” I suggested to my colleagues. A women’s support group asked their members to knit or crochet shawls. Soon other groups got involved, and people around the country started sending us the shawls they’d made. We call them Serenity Shawls, after the Serenity Prayer.

Lauren McDonald, our spiritual director, says a blessing over the shawls before we send them out. We include a card printed with the Serenity Prayer with each shawl.

The first two shawls went to mothers who’d lost children to drug overdoses. Another went to a woman in recovery whose husband had just entered hospice. We want to give everyone in recovery who needs a hug a Serenity Shawl.

This has even inspired me to take up crocheting again. If you’d like to help, visit

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