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Sober Moms: My Sober Inspirations

Sometimes my motivation to stay sober comes from an unexpected collaboration of events. Events which normally would appear quite ordinary, but put together they become very powerful learning experiences.

I have spent the last week dealing with our friend’s death. I cried so much. I cried at work at my desk, and in the hallway, and in meetings. I am not sure why I have been so overcome. Maybe I haven’t truly dealt with death yet. Maybe sobriety has allowed me to feel and, oh hell, I am feeling. There were moments when I really wanted to check-out and immerse myself in something else like eating, sleeping, housework… and anger. I had a fleeting thought that a drink would be just perfect, actually I thought of it a few times. But A DRINK would not do it, it would have to be a gazillion of drinks. And then what? Well, I would still be feeling this.

Yesterday my four-year old boy asked me if we could go ice skating. My first thought was UGH. We have only gone once before, so needless to say he doesn’t know how to skate, and I really didn’t think I had the energy, or the mental strength for this; it just seemed like too much work, and way too strenuous, and it’s too wet, and too cold, and I hate sweating! But my son was quite persistent, and very cute about it, so I grabbed a few things and off we went.

Of course, being so wrapped up in my own crazy world of feelings, I have completely forgotten that ice skating was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid. So when we got to the ice rink, I was instantaneously overcome by emotions, again… and tears, again. Oh good grief!

I had to regroup quickly, I thought, so I could help my son get on the ice and attempt to skate. But to my surprise he quickly assured me that he didn’t need any help, and he could do it all by himself! He got on the ice and grabbed the rail. I watched him fall and get up and fall again. Each time shrugging it off, then trying even harder.  At one point he did seem fed up, but you could see that he wasn’t ready to give up. An hour went by… and then all of a sudden he let go of the guard rail and just went for it! Wow! He looked back and gave me a big grin and, off he went again!

I was just amazed! (And again overwhelmed with feelings) There is something so inspiring about a child taking these big leaps despite their fears. Their determination is so admirable. It’s so inspiring!

Last night I was sitting and thinking about my day’s events and how inspired I felt by my little boy.  So often as adults, we lose that spark, we get stuck, we can’t let go.  I though, wow, I have been stuck. Then I saw this commercial, for the iPad Air, which uses this poem as the narration. This poem really touched me. The last thing that the narrator says is What will your verse be?

O Me! O Life!

by Walt Whitman

O Me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

And what does this all have to do with sobriety? Everything! Because when I was drinking life didn’t really exist; all I had was my bottles. I was fear driven and paralyzed. Today, I have a life, a life full of all ups and downs. I miss my friend dearly, nothing will bring her back, I know, but at the same time her death has made me realize that I am here and that life exists!

What will your verse be?

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    • Thanks Carrie. What a journey of growth and crying? Lol! But I do feel better, I think I am finally done getting all of it out. I sure am glad to be sober and sill learning!


  1. This is profoundly beautiful to me, Maggie. I have stress swirling around me right now and I’m trying to stay grounded in what’s important. All I have to do is look at my children to be reminded. They handle life with such pure and immediate emotion and they don’t try to bury feelings that need to and should be expressed. I may not be able to get away with having a tantrum at Target but I can honor my feelings enough to give them space to exist. I can say, “This is hard. This makes me sad. This scares the crap out of me.” Doing that is so much more life affirming than having a drink to numb/relax/escape. Thank you for this reminder. My love is with you as you mourn your friend.


    • Thank you Karen. Kids are so transparent aren’t they? I think the hardest thing for me is still not being able to identify the feelings. Or the actual reason behind them. My husband asked a few times Why are you crying again? And I had no answer. And letting myself feel it anyway is quite scary too. Not enough that I am not used to feeling but I grew up believing that it was bad to feel. “You must be strong!” was the motto in our house! Oh hell that never helped! But I am ok- feel bit naked but ok. So just let yourself feel however you feel, And trust that in the end it all will work out. Hugs.

      Ps. I really would like to throw a tantrum at Target one of these days! Lol!


  2. Exactly what Karen said – we spend so much time trying to hide sad emotions from everyone, including ourselves – and I don’t always understand why. Our children need to see us exhibiting all ranges of emotions and learn that it’s ok for adults to feel and express themselves as children often do without reservation. For me, the important lesson is to realize that it’s ok to be sad because sad is not forever – it’s ok to feel angry because angry is not forever. The only forever emotion I have found has been love – and no matter what I’m feeling about anything it does not affect the love I have for everyone around me. That’s what I want to leave behind as my verse.


    • I love that! I so often forget that sad and angry are not forever. But love is. Thank you!

      And children don’t hide their feelings, hey are taught to hide them and then they grow up to be adults that have no clue how to feel. Yep I never got that either.

      I think the first time I cried openly I was in rehab. There was always a box if tissues in the middle of the circle, but we were not allowed to take the tissues or give them out when someone was crying. The counselor said that it stops people from letting their feelings out. I always think of that when someone offers me a tissue.


  3. Don’t you just love when life moments come together like that? It is truly one of the most miraculous parts of sobriety for me!

    My biggest take-away from reading this post is the value of getting out of my own head. So many times I am too overwhelmed (or so I rationalize) to help someone else, even if it as simple as honoring my child’s request to do something. And when I find the strength to fight the urge to withdraw, and actually work past my (fill in the emotion here), and connect with another… well, that is when the magic happens!

    Thanks for this inspiring message, you have given me the strength to connect! My prayers continue to be with you, Maggie!


    • Thanks Josie! You are so right! This stuck things is so overwhelming. And just doing something that I don’t normally do and being open to getting thru it and not checking out, that’s huge! Oh, I am still learning. But I see it now more clearly and I am definitely not willing to be in pain, so I go and find help, ask for help, go to a meeting, blog, whatever. I sure didn’t expect the release to come from a skating trip with my son though! Nice surprise, have to remember that one for the next time. :).


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