Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Domestic Enemies of the Recovering Alcoholic Mom

Welcome to the return of the Domestic Enemies series! It's our hope that these posts will make us giggle, open our eyes to what life is like for different kinds of moms and help us be the kind of people who get it. 

You may not love everything these posts have to say, but we ask that you keep any negative comments respectful. Here we go!

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Hi, I'm "Annie". I am a student/stay at home mom to four amazing kids. I have seven year old triplets (no, no in-vitro, just "Surprise, TRIPLETS", shortly following the "Surprise, your pregnant!!") and a 10 year old son. I can identify with so many of the Domestic Mommies posts of the past. With the triplets having Autism, and my oldest having ADHD, there's the special needs mommy. After their father left for parts unknown, there's the single mommy. Becoming engaged to a wonderful man with three children of his own, twins with special needs and a teenage daughter, there's the step mom. The multiple mom. The low-income mom. The large family mom.

This post has to do with one I haven't seen before, but we are out there, believe me. 

Hi, I am Annie and I am a recovering alcoholic-mommy.

Happily sober for almost a decade, I encounter some interesting scenarios. Most truly do come from a place of concern, but there are so many who seem to come from a darker place as well.

Enemy #1: The former mom friends who once they find out I am a 12 stepper just run away.
Truly, my friend and former friend, alcoholism isn't something you can catch. It's a "you are or you aren't" thing, believe me. If I was OK hanging out with you while you were drinking before you knew, what makes it different now? I would never impose a sober lifestyle on anyone who's not an alcoholic. Trust me, and for goodness sake have one for me! :) I have a program and a support network, and won't place my sobriety in jeopardy because you are having some wine. If it gets to be too tempting, I will excuse myself.
Bringing me to--

Enemy #2: The blogs.
I LOVE MOMMY BLOGS! Am quite obsessed, actually. Reading about the lives of other mommies is incredible. It reminds me I am not alone! I have been known to spit coffee on my keyboard while reading Rants From Mommyland. I had to leave a doctors office waiting room once because I was laughing so hard I thought I'd pee while reading on my phone.

That being said, there are times when I have to step away. Because most of the blogs I love are by women who are not alcoholics, and therefore can talk about T-boxes, or have titles like "Mommy Wants Vodka--Mommy drinks because you cry", and casually joke about Xanax and such. I love them. They are hysterical. But I can't lie, sometimes I get a little jealous that that's not an option for me. Most of the time I just take a break, play with my kids and it's fine. 

(Editor's note: Guilty. We do talk about drinking a lot. And Mommy Wants Vodka is written by the hilarious, amazing and supremely talented Aunt Becky, who obviously blogs about it, too.)

Enemy #3: The Watchers
I call this group the watchers. Once it comes out that I am in recovery, they are constantly on guard against any hint that I may be drinking again. They stare so long at my eyes, face, my kids that it's insulting. Trust me, if I was drinking again YOU WOULD KNOW. I like to think that today I am doing my best to love life and live a life with grace and dignity. There would be no question in your mind if I picked up again, mainly because YOU WOULDN'T LIKE ME. I would be a loud, obnoxious, slurring, falling down so and so. 

I read somewhere that one of the biggest hurdles in having people understand or empathize with alcoholism and addiction is the fact that us alcoholics and addicts are just not likeable when we are using. I would have to agree. I was not a nice, kind, caring person while drinking. I was a selfish manipulative woman doing anything to get her next drink. Thankfully, it's been a long time since that woman was around and I have done a whole lot of work to change. I understand the fear of someone you care about relapsing, because it does happen often. But there are also an AMAZING amount of people who get sober and stay sober.

Enemy #4: Those who think I am cured
Because it has been a while since I have had a drink, there are many people (mostly family, and a few friends) who have decided I am cured. I should have no problem stopping going to the occasional meeting I am able to go to (7 kids, don't get out much), or letting go of the desire I have to befriend women who are struggling with this issue and are just getting sober. 

Part of me feels flattered and it strokes my ego to think that I seem "normal". However, with everything I have learned and seen in other recovering women I have talked to, it's just not true. I know that I have a daily reprieve from drinking. That's it. I will always be an alcoholic. The question is will I be busy living, or busy dying? To not talk to others in recovery would be foolish. That is what keeps me on the right path. I also have an obligation to give back what was so freely given to me.

Ladies, I feel like every day for me is just living in grace. To be able to be a mom at all is a miracle to me. I have found some very honest mommy blogs (Momastery, anyone?) where the author is open and honest about there own recovery journey, which I am profoundly grateful for. I submitted this because it's an important topic for women to have knowledge about. Most importantly, if you are struggling with an alcohol/drug problem yourself, please know that there is help for you. There is HOPE for you. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you. 

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

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