Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is tricky when you’re a newly recovering alcoholic mother.

Today is 19 days for me since my relapse. 19 days is good, braggable even. But, I’ve got a good long while to go before people start believing I can really do it this time, and before people start really trusting me again.

I say Mother’s Day is tricky, because on the one hand, I feel like I am a good mother. I take care of my children. I make sure they have food in their bellies, clothes on their backs and a roof over their head (with some help from my husband). I make sure the house gets cleaned, the laundry gets done, the homework gets done, the permission slips get signed, etc. etc. etc. My kids love me.

But, on the other hand, sometimes I would totally phone in some of that stuff I mentioned above. It was mac and cheese for dinner 3 nights in a row. Or, I haven’t done laundry yet this week, so let’s wear this ratty old pair of pants and stained shirt to school. Or, I forgot to help you study for spelling, and you didn’t do so hot on the test. Or, I got really irrationally mad at you for something small and I yelled at you and made you feel bad.

And the ultimate thing, really, the thing I’ll never stop mentally lashing myself for for the rest of my life, I drove drunk with my children in the car. Even having admitted it out loud to my husband and my counselors, even having written it here and admitted it to you, I still can’t really believe that I let my addiction take over to the point that I would do that. When I have a memory of it, it’s like I’m outside of myself, watching myself doing that. Because it couldn’t possibly really be something I did. Right?

There are a lot of moments I regret about being around my children in the throes of my addiction. Most of the time, I was functional. But very absentminded. And quick to anger. And lazy. And those are moments I won’t ever get back. Moments of their sweet childhood that I totally missed out on, and it’s all in the past. I can’t try to reclaim it. I feel a lot of guilt and shame surrounding that.

In recovery they are always reminding you that you need to let go of that guilt, shame and regret. At least most of it, however much of it you can. That’s when you’ll truly be able to move on and be happy again. So what I’m trying to do now is focus on the here and now, today. This day is all we have. We can’t get yesterday back, and we have no idea what will happen tomorrow. We can’t even be sure there will actually¬†be a tomorrow. We don’t even know what will happen five minutes from now.

It has really helped me with my anxiety to view life this way. One foot in front of the other. Enjoy the good stuff, let the bad stuff happen and respond to it, don’t react to it.

Today, in this moment, I am sober. My children love me and are safe and well cared for. That makes me a good mom.

Happy mother’s day to all the mothers out there.

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