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Sober Moms: Motherhood and The Social Stigma

Hanging out with mom!

I don’t think there is enough written about moms in recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). I know there is a whole bunch of us out there, but this subject seems to be beyond the social stigma of alcoholism, it seems absolutely unthinkable. We as mothers are the rocks of the family, we are the nurtures and the peacekeepers, and the tear wipers, and the scrape healers. We are not supposed to be addicted to alcohol!
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Many people continue to believe that addiction is a character flaw or a weakness in a person. They may believe that the person simply cannot hold their booze and should just stop, but there are many factors as to why a person continues to use a drug despite the negative consequences.

The idea of possibly being addicted to alcohol was extremely difficult to accept for me, especially since my biological mom was also addicted and my family disowned her when I was only four years old. Not understanding the disease of alcoholism and confused about what made my mom chose drinking over taking care of me, I held the same ignorant hatred towards her as my family did.

In the beginning I did not worry much about my drinking. I thought that drinking helped me cope with the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting and taking care of an infant. I though I was more relaxed and fun and not so completely worn out all the time. I thought that at the end of the day I needed to just relax and have all the stress and worry just melt away. Instead I found myself  drunk and often in blackouts, and not capable of taking care of my daughter.

Me, oldest son daughter and mom.

And yet, with a huge amount of denial, and not wanting to be like my mom, I tried in any way possible to be a responsible drinker; there were rules, and times, and amounts, all to be considered in a sneaky plot against my insidious tyrant – alcohol! But even with all this maddening planing, I was never able to drink like a normal person.

I wish I could say that I was able to get sober for my kids, but I wasn’t.  I was then stuck in a vicious cycle of beating myself up and not understanding my disease – my disease didn’t have any limits, my disease didn’t care who I was, or what I did, or who I hurt – my disease just wanted me drunk at all costs.

After a massive battle with my ego, I finally surrendered, and I get sober! I do know that the need for me to be a mom to my little girl was an enormous determining factor, yet it took me hitting my absolute bottom to finally accept my alcoholism. I was fortunate enough, to go to a women only rehab where I learned how to be a sober parent and how to live a sober life. I am so very grateful for all that, I have gone through in my journey to sobriety; it has made me a stronger woman and a better mom.

Today, one of the most amazing things about being sober is that I now get to be a sober mom! I have a daughter who was born when I was still drinking and two boys who I had when I was sober. The difference between being a sober parent and a parent in the midst of alcoholism is immeasurable. Truly, I cannot even put it into a comparison. When I was drinking, the drink was the most important and nothing would stand in my way of it. I was constantly rushing to get things done so I could drink. I was not present for anything. I was not there for my daughter, or her needs, neither for any of my needs. I was unfit as a mother.

“No, mom! No pictures!”

I have also found that sobriety alone is my biggest strength in parenting. Parenting is hard. It is non-stop, and it is demanding. However, being sober keeps my mind completely clear to take on the day-to-day challenges. It also allows me to have some amazing moments with my kids, moments that I will remember and cherish forever. Moments that if I were still drinking, I would not be able to ever experience.

For other Sober Moms posts click HERE.




If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)*, please check out the Sober Courage menu at the top of this page for an extensive list of support groups and recovery related articles. You may also find some great inspiration, support and resources at the bottom of this page.

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*Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using. (Ref: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders)

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2 Comments »

  1. yup – there are lots and lots of sober moms out there. And many of them are blogging, and some do touch on the fact that they are moms, first and foremost (or maybe not first and foremost). I think that the challenge of parenting while intoxicated or in the depths of self-pity and selfishness is almost too much to overcome. Ignoring, hiding, passing the children on….common things when we’re too much in the grips of the grape. I think the best part is that we parents are present…something that we couldn’t be when we were too much in our own heads and bottles.

    But what you said about moms – the emotional center, etc. – is true in many ways. I say “parenting”, but we all know that the kiddies want mommy 98% of the time, so there is an additional challenge of being a (sober, drunk) mom. I look forward to reading more about this!

    Blessings,
    Paul

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    • Hi Paul! Thanks for the comment, you are so right, it is too much to overcome! And I just feel like that isn’t being discussed enough; or how to get help – there are women/mothers only rehabs, or even disusing how to cope with the pressures of motherhood, or drinking spouse or what to tell your kids about going to rehab or meetings or being sober! There is alot! I think, for me it was is so hard to come out and admit that I was an alcoholic mom. I have even experienced discrimination from my a friend, who told me that she wanted nothing to do with me, because she could not understand how I was still drinking and not able to stop for my daughter. But I couldn’t understand why I was not able to stop for my daughter either! I also I think that the shame of being an alcoholic mom can be truly paralyzing – not to say that the shame of an alcoholic dad is any less, but I think as moms we are viewed like we must be perfect; the expectations are extreme high, and both placed on ourselves and by others! Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

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