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?