This is a guest post by Emily Reisler.
I am an alcoholic and drug addict in recovery. And I am a mommy of a beautiful 7 month old baby girl. I state these things in that order intentionally, because in order for me to be effective in the latter role, I must never forget the former.
I have not only been blessed with a second chance at my own life, but with the gift of starting a new one with a man who I consider to be my soulmate. The crazy thing about it all is that I could have missed out on everything.
Being sober and in recovery has a profound affect on not only how I “do life,” but how I parent. And to be perfectly honest, on most days I am actually grateful that I am an alcoholic. In gaining some recovery from a seemingly hopeless state through a 12-step program, I have developed and continue to develop, the type of self-awareness that I am not sure I could have achieved otherwise. I have also gained an awareness of others, and learned about serving others, and owning my part during conflicts. Perhaps for a non-addict these things come naturally, but I can only share my experience.
I am not a religious person by any means, but I do have a strong spiritual consciousness and connection of my own understanding. I think most mommies would agree that if you didn’t believe in something greater than yourself before childbirth, you probably do now. Prior to getting in to recovery, my perception of that ‘higher power’ was not a loving one. I was in fear of being punished or having things taken away from me, probably as a result of how I was living my life. In getting sober, it became apparent to me that I was spared by the grace of something greater than me, and it couldn’t possibly be a mean or punishing entity. Though talking about God can ruffle feathers, it is a huge part of my story and how I relate to others, so to leave it out would be not telling the full truth.
The biggest challenge I face is balancing it all. I would imagine this is a common struggle, but because I view the maintenance of my recovery and spiritual condition as a life or death situation, it can get tricky. I attend 12-step meetings regularly, because the disease of alcoholism is cunning, powerful and baffling. I consider being a sober mommy an honor and a privilege, and I love the life I have today. There’s a saying, ‘Don’t let the life that recovery gave you, take you out of recovery’. This isn’t my first bout of sobriety, but I genuinely hope it is my last.
My commitment to staying sober and being part of a program is likely stronger post-baby, for the simple fact that my daughter makes me better than I am. I am excited about raising my little girl to be self-aware, helpful to others and conscious of her feelings. I want to pass along the art of identifying resentments, making proper amends to others when necessary, and developing a spiritual connection to the universe.
Most of all though, I’m looking forward to teaching her this, by example: how to show up for your life.
Emily lives in South Orange County, California. She works full-time as a Mama, and part-time as a hairstylist. Emily has been sober for 2 years, 8 months.
Are you a mom in recovery? What have been your biggest challenges and joys?
6 thoughts on “Parenting in Recovery”
Bravo, kudos, pride, love, kiss kiss. Keep up the great spirit and amazing work. My mother has been sober for five months and although I’m 26… My daughter is 8 months. There are no words to describe the alcoholic and sobriety balancing act, but I know you get it.
Absolutely! What a gift that your beautiful daughter gets a sober grandma, and that you get your mom back! This warms my heart. Recovery makes families whole, again. And yes, it is a total balancing act, but the good news is that if the person is even attempting said balancing act, they are showing real willingness, which is key in sobriety.
That was beautiful Emily.You have so much to offer to not only daughter,but to others as well. Thanks for sharing.
Good for you! What a lucky little girl to have such a self-aware, determined mama!
AWESOME piece Emmers! I always knew you were a gifted writer…Happy Mama’s Day to one phenomenal mommy! Can’t believe we are both one…nuts! While I don’t battle the alcohol side of things, I get it with other crap (i.e. food)! 🙂 Proud of who you are and who you are becoming. Ayden is a lucky little gal…hugs to you and my cutie pie niece! LOVE, Jules
What a wonderful article. I too am a recovering alcoholic and addict. I can relate to everything you wrote about. I am 14 months sober, and have lost custody of my 5-year old son to his father due to my addictions. I’m still working to get him back, and it’s a very, VERY slow process. I’m trying to stay positive and focused. I’m also expecting my second child within the next couple of weeks. Thank God for the program.