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Sober Moms: The Importance of Self-Care

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?”

Pre-Flight Instructions

Pre-Flight Instructions

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.

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at

You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.



  1. Absolutely true. That’s the one thing I tell others – do it for yourself. My treatment centre was full of guys who were there to get the heat off. They were there because of their wives, girlfriends, work, court, etc. and the moment they left, most of them drank again at some point. Resentments build when we do it for someone else. And we have to get off the ego trip that others are helpless without us. they will be fine until we get well. I had to take time away from my family (6 months in fact) to focus on me. I felt selfish at times, guilty at times, but deep down I knew it had to be done, or I was cooked. And my family would suffer even more.

    There is much truth in this post, and I am glad you shared this. We wouldn’t feel bad if we were lying in a hospital bed after getting run over by a bus or anything. We have to heal and get better before we can be of service to others. So why feel bad about getting well for us?

    Great stuff, Maggie.



    • I totally agree Paul! I had to take a lot of time for me too, getting sober is hard and it’s not just putting the plug in the jug, it’s cleaning up all that other crap too. Oh and the physical part too. But I like what you said about being run over by a bus, I bet no one would blink an eye if you were out for six months, right? Yeah, it all takes some time, but really what’s six months or a year compared to, for me, 15 years of drinking – nothing, and so well worth it. Thanks Paul!


  2. This idea of caring for self first is so foreign to so many of us. In our inability to take care of self we end up imploding … drinking. Drinking to cope with the feelings. Then drinking to feel whatever we think we aren’t feeling sober. xox Lisa


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