A Mother’s Road to Recovery

Posted on Posted in HER Blog

A Mother's Road to Recovery

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Last night I had a dream that I was waiting tables in a restaurant when a large group of people came in that I definitely recognized. The large group of people included my children and their foster family. They obviously were not expecting to see me there at their family celebration and I was not expecting to run into my children. I remember feeling tension in the air. They did not want me there and were very clearly uncomfortable with my presence. My children were on the other side of the room from me as I sat alone at a table watching the group enjoying themselves. Not wanting to disappoint anyone they came with, they stayed on the opposite side of the room from me. Words I do not remember were exchanged and I decided it was best for me to leave since I was clearly making everyone uncomfortable.

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Next thing I know I’m walking through some woods, I turn around to find my eight year old son is following behind me. I stop and tell him to go back to the group he came with. I explain to him that I have nothing to offer him, I say they can provide him with a life of luxury he deserves. He tells me he doesn't care what I have or do not have, he wants to stay with me. So we walk together. We walk through woods and streets, we seemed to walk forever. It was as if we were one person. I remember feeling a closeness with him that I haven't felt in a long time. I woke up feeling loved and saddened at the same time. For when I woke I realized it was just a dream and we are still apart.

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That dream has been stuck in my head all day.
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I replay the part where he tells me he wants to stay with me over and over in my mind. My friend tells me I’m dreaming his feelings. He misses me and is ready to be home. That brought tears to my eyes. Actually, I cry over my children more nights than I can count. Sometimes I wonder if they miss me. Sometimes I wonder if I deserve to have them back.
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They have been gone 10 months now. They are in foster care and were removed due to my drinking. I relapsed and it only takes a day for me to destroy all that I had worked so hard for. The foster parents and I have had our differences. They are living a life that they believe is best for them. Their family has a mom, dad, brother and a sister. The “perfect” family my mind tells me, why would my children want to come home? My mind can make me believe things that simply aren't true.

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I’m sure most parents struggle with some sort of guilt as a parent. But, As a mother who has abused alcohol in the past, it’s difficult to deal with the feelings of guilt. I struggle with the guilt daily and if I don’t take proper care of myself, the guilt will eat me alive. My home is quiet and lonely sometimes, it’s a daily reminder that my alcohol use caused it to be this way. The loneliness gets the best of me at times and the questions begin racing through my mind. Do they still love me? Will they ever forgive me? Am I enough? Are they better off without me?
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This isn't the first time I have gotten sober. Nor is this the first time my children have been removed from my care. That’s a difficult thing to admit. When you look at me I seem like a typical soccer mom. Everything on the outside looks great. Home, job, car, friends and family who love me. I have perfected the “I am fine, life is perfect” appearance. But, on the inside I am an insecure little girl who is looking for your approval. Up until my last hangover that is. Something inside me clicked on May 19th, 2015. I don't know how to explain it except to say that I experienced an “entire psychic change”. Things on the outside were the same, still had the job and the house and the car, but something on the inside changed. Something clicked.
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As I stood in there in the court room I finally understood, this will is how it will continue to be if I continue to drink. This is how it has always been!! How is it that I’m just getting it? Like i’ve heard many times “it takes what it takes” This disease is progressive. NO amount of time sober will ever make it safe for me to drink. I get it now! Life will always have it’s ups and downs, it will be difficult and I will want to throw in the towel at times. But I’m here to tell you that NOTHING is so bad that it’s worth losing your sobriety over. I’ve learned so much in so little time. I’ve learned more in this past 10 months than I did the year I got sober the first time.
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Here are a couple of things that I have to keep in mind as a parent in recovery:

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Recovery Comes Before My Children

And anyone else in my life. This might sound selfish to some. But, I feel that if I had been put my recovery before my children, they would still be here. Like the saying goes, when the plane starts going down we put the mask on ourselves first otherwise we are of little to no use to our children. They deserve us at our best. I know I personally am not my best when I’m not going to my meetings, doing my yoga, spending time alone, fellowshipping with girlfriends, and journaling. These are all things that play a part in my recovery today. I wasn't doing these things when I relapsed. I also have to make sure I’m surrounding myself with people that make me feel good about myself. Today I surround myself with positive people that only want the best for me.
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Forgive Yourself

Forgiveness is so important in recovery. This is a tough one. Beating myself up for my past mistakes is pointless. I can’t change what I’ve done. I can only forgive myself and move forward. Dwelling on the past prevents me from being completely in the present.

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My Kids Will Always Love Me
How can I let my mind convince me otherwise?!?!? It’s silly to let myself think that my kids would want to be with anyone else but me. I may have screwed up. But I’m still mom. If anything I’m showing them that I’m human, I screw up, but I picked myself up and put myself back together even better than before.
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Kids Deserve The Right To Their Own Recovery and Healing
It’s important to remember that just because we’re sober doesn't mean that they are healed. They don't have the ability to say “hey mom, I”m having a rough day and I need a meeting ASAP” It’s our job to make sure that they feel safe to express their feelings. They will need therapy, fellowship of their own, and will need to learn healthy ways to express their anger. Me and my son will be attending a camp this week for children with parents that struggle or have struggled in the past with addiction. It will help him to understand that this is not his fault, and that he is not the only one with a parent who struggles. I can’t wait to begin healing together. I feel this will be a huge part in our coming back together as a family.
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I’m not proud of so many things that I have done but I am proud of the woman I am becoming. Everything that I have been through has brought me to where I am today and today I’m grateful for my sobriety. I know that my children will be coming home to the mom they deserve.
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1melissajohnson

   Melissa Johnson, Tiger Mountain Recovery, Guest Blogger

http://www.mytruthstartshere.org

Melissa Johnson is a dedicated member of the recovery community. She is a mother in recovery who is inspiring others with her personal accounts of addiction and recovery through blogging. 

You can find me on Facebook

One thought on “A Mother’s Road to Recovery

  1. Wow..tears. That was so heartfelt. I just want to hug you so tight. My sister is going through the same thing and my heart and prayers are with you Melissa. Thank you for your honesty. I will be sharing this with my sister.

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