RECOVERY AS A MOTHERBritt L.
As you are reading this, you might think, this is just another testimonial on sobriety. Contrary to your thoughts, I am here to inform you about, not only the journey of recovery, but recovery as a mother. First of all, it is important to know you can not become clean and stay abstinent from substance alone. It is crucial to have a support system that works for you. What I found beneficial to me and my recovery as a mother was to lean on fellow mothers who are addicts. Depending on your community, there may be different opportunities, functions, or programs that offer you that kind of support. I live in a small town which doesn't have a lot to offer, but help and support is out there. A church in my area had a program just for mothers called, "Hurts, Habits, and Hang-ups". It gave mothers a chance to get together to talk about their lives in general, not just focused on recovery. Day Care services were provided. Great program. At the mental health center in my town they had great classes and programs to take full advantage of. I attended a Women’s Recovery class. The instructor was amazing. Every single gal in my class were mothers. Some had lost their children completely, others were fighting to keep them, and some still had custody but knew if they didn't get clean, they would eventually lose them. I was a mother who had custody, but I knew I had to become clean or I would lose my daughter for good. The last point I'm going to make about this topic is this; as adults, we can think back to when we were youth and find a lot has changed. More times than not, as a child or teenager, we tended to rebel against our parents or even grandparents. After you abstain from substances and are new to recovery, you are almost desperate for their guidance. I have found much solace and support from my mother and most importantly, my grandmother. That saying becomes so true, "I wish I would have listened to my parents." Never too late to learn from them. More importantly, if our goal is to become clean and still care for our children in ways they deserve, we have to keep our children in the forefront of our minds! This is crucial! I've talked with addicts who are single and have no children. They have the ability to focus solely on themselves and no one else. As mothers we have to go about our recovery in a different matter. Obviously the steps are the same, but we have little ones to think of also. In everything we do we have to look out for what is best for us and our babies! To some this is challenging and overwhelming. Recovery is not a walk in the park and neither is parenting. But the level of accomplishment you feel when you realize your doing both surpasses any expectations you may of had in regards to your success as both mother and recovering addict. What I found to be helpful in the beginning was to take baby steps in both directions (motherhood and recovery). It is technically impossible to make up for lost time, because once time has passed... it's gone. However, you can surely make time count. Go to class for an hour, and when you get home to your child, be all about them for an hour. Take your child to the park and have the valuable one on one time. As you reestablish a sane connection to yourself you also reestablish a connection with your child. Take your time. In most cases, if you take time to enjoy something, there is more to be had as opposed to being hasty and racing through life’s experiences. You are not on the fast track anymore. You are clean! Treat yourself by really enjoying those little moments. Lastly, after the duration of your drug use, you tend to feel lost and out of place. Like, "how the hell am I supposed to find my place in the world". Becoming clean is like being reborn in a certain sense. Everything becomes new again. You have to reteach yourself how to live. You need to have a purpose. Under the influence, all life’s responsibilities are hidden under a thick layer of substance abuse. Now that you are abstinent from drugs, it's time to get back into the full swing of responsibilities. Your children are one of those responsibilities. When I was released from the detention center after 5 long months I had to start over from scratch. I had no home, no car, no job, no money, and sadly, I couldn't have my child live with me because I had no way to care for her. Get a job. Any job will do. Stay busy and better yet, be productive. It felt so good to hold honest, earned money. After about a month, I got a job. I didn't have much hope due to now being a felon, but there are good people out there that do believe in second chances. Next, attend classes. I took parenting classes. I had missed out on so much during my days of using and I didn't want to let my daughter down. I attended relapse prevention classes and AA meetings because at the time there were no NA classes in the area. Get yourself involved. If you are not happy with yourself, how can you make your child happy? Do things that make you feel good about yourself. Do things that make you feel accomplished and successful! In conclusion, this article was meant to inform you that it is more than possible to travel the journey of recovery while becoming the best mother you were meant to be. You becoming a mother was not a mistake. You got this! There is hope. Never lose hope!