Recently, I had a chance to talk to a mom who was just 8 days sober, again. She openly sobbed in front of me as she described her situation. She has been struggling with alcoholism for several years and she just couldn’t understand why she can’t stay sober. I tried to comfort her and suggested that she should keep her focus on getting sober and doing what she needed to take care of herself! I suggested that she may think of entering a rehab, or joining Alcoholics Anonymous, or finding a good addictions therapist. But she looked back at me with distress in her eyes, and said:
“But how can I, my kids, my husband, my job, my family… what would they do without me, I am the mom?”
Oh… I could totally relate to her feelings, my heart hurt for her. I couldn’t stop drinking for anybody either, and I just didn’t see a way that I could take the time for me to get better. I felt like a horrible mother and I felt that if I took care of myself that I was being selfish and abandoning all of my responsibilities. So, I continuously tried to get sober by myself; I swore of alcohol for a bit, until the stress was too overwhelming, then I would end up drinking, and then I would beat myself up for not being able to stay sober, and then drank again. It was a vicious cycle from which I just couldn’t see my way out. One of my friends at the time even wrote me a letter of her absolute disbelief that I kept drinking while my life was falling apart! Of course even worst part of it for me, was that I couldn’t understand that either!?
Then I finally ended up in a rehab for women only, where I started learning about the importance of self-care. Once a week we also attended parenting classes. There I learned that my alcoholism was much stronger than I believed it to be, and I ultimately needed to get sober for me and no one else! I thought this was absolutely unattainable! For me? Oh, but how could I? I felt like a complete failure, why the hell would I want to get sober for me!? Isn’t that just so self-centered?
No, it is NOT!
Taking care of ourselves seem like a foreign concept, because as women and mothers we feel that we have to take care of everyone and everything. After all we are the glue of the family, right! But I always remembered what I learned in the parenting classes when I was in rehab. The counselor used the in-flight instructions as an example to show us how important it was to take care of ourselves first. She would say, pointing to the poster on the wall:
REMEMBER when the plane is going down and the masks fall out of the ceiling, passengers are instructed to be sure to put the masks on themselves first, and then help others; you can’t help others if you die first.
That phrase hit home for me! It was definitely my truth; I was not able to get sober for anyone, until I decided to take care of myself and get sober for me! I had to realize that I was not a bad person, or a bad mother if I did so, I was a sick person and that I needed to get well! If I had a broken leg, I would have to take the time to heal, getting sober is the same. I had to take care of me, so that I was well and able to take care of others!
So today sobriety is my priority! It has to be. I go out of my way to make sure that I am diligent with my recovery and that I take care of me. I know if I don’t I will end up drinking again. If I drink again I will lose everything. But if I take the time to put the effort into working on my sobriety, every single day, I know that it ultimately will benefit everybody!
How do you take care of yourself?
For other Sober Moms posts click HERE.
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