Just a little disclaimer, I’m doing my best not to cry while writing this. The fact of the matter is that I feel extremely blessed to be able to write about this topic. Not only because I’m grateful to be someone in recovery from addiction, but because I am beyond grateful that I get to experience motherhood in this journey. Talk about a wonderful life, man.
Now listen, recovery and motherhood are HARD sometimes, don’t get me wrong. But if there’s one thing that recovery has taught me, it’s to find gratitude in anything and everything.
I spent most of my life not only in addiction but also not really wanting children. I viewed myself as someone who would grow old by myself and not really having anyone rely on me. I love my independence, even still (when I can find some time). It wasn’t until I was about 30 (I had around 5 years clean then) that I thought about having a child with my husband.
Fast forward 2 years later, I’ll have 8 years clean on May 17th and my daughter will be 2 on the 23rd. When I found out her due date was on my clean date, I knew it was just meant to be. I remember the exact moment during my pregnancy that I knew I had to start applying the principles I’ve learned in recovery to what was to come. I was standing in my kitchen by myself, feeling completely overwhelmed, confused, unsure and stressed out. Within a few seconds my recovery tools clicked in and told me I had to pull it together and be strong, not only for myself but for my growing daughter. I remember standing there, tears covering my face, and saying out loud “we got this girl, we’re going to be alright.” I carried that with me through my whole pregnancy, and still lean on it today during the terrible 2 tantrums.
It ain’t easy, but it’s worth it
Sometimes I find myself in the same position I was in in the kitchen that day, overwhelmed, stressed out, spread too thin. In those moments I find myself relying on what I’ve learned in recovery about patience, trust and love. I also find myself leaning on the women and other parents that I’ve met in recovery, from whom I’ve learned SO many valuable lessons from their experiences. My sponsor is a mom of 3, and her grace and ease just inspire me daily. When I find myself struggling with a full-time job, a master’s degree, a family, and everything else I have going on, I look at the women in recovery all around me and pull strength from them. At the end of the day I know I’m not alone in any of this, how can I not find gratitude and hope in that?
Sometimes I imagine what it would look like if I decided to use again, and there’s not one part of my mind that makes that seem worth it. Imagining the pain that my daughter would experience without her mother, are you kidding me? Not in a million years. I continue on in my recovery not only for myself, but for her.
Something that’s really important for me as a mom and woman in recovery is to make sure that I find some time (even just 5 minutes sometimes) for myself and to practice self-care. In order to be a good mom, I have to make sure I’m taking care of myself. Whenever I talk to a mom that’s struggling, I make sure to ask her about her self-care. This is especially more challenging now during quarantine, now that my daughter is home 24/7 with me and my husband. I’ve been leaning on my recovery now more than ever to get through this and remain strong for myself and my family. “We got this girl, we’re going to be alright” means more right now than it has in the last 2 years.