Today’s post is by Rose Lockinger, a Mother in Recovery. I feel this is such an important topic to Mothers trying to get or stay sober. As someone who isn’t a mother, I work with women that struggle to make a better life for their children and seeing their recovery unfold is magical…..
It is said that a mother’s love knows no bounds. It is a testament to what unconditional love can be, and yet it is no match for addiction. For years I struggled with my addiction and the guilt that I felt over not being able to stop for my children always haunted me. Every day I would wake up wanting to stop, believing that I could do it for them, and then the inevitable obsession would set in and my struggle would be over. In the quiet of the night when I closed my eyes I would see their faces and be overcome with guilt. How did I wind up here again? Why am I not stronger? These were all questions that would race through my mind and it wasn’t until I got sober that I finally got some answers. At the end I hated myself, I despised myself for my inability to stop.
When my first child was born I was so focused on trying to make a failing relationship work and being a mother that I got lost in the mix. It was a tumultuous relationship to say the least, and toxic in every way. I was able to keep it together for a time, welcoming a second child in this world, raising my children, working full time, going to school, but internally I was a disaster.
It was exhausting keeping up with all the masks I wore.
Addiction in its many forms finally brought me to my knees, I finally realized that I could not do this on my own and that without professional help I was headed for disaster. I chose to attend 30-day program in Pennsylvania and from there I went to a 5 month PHP program in South Florida. I learned so much during this time about myself and the disease that I faced. I knew that women face different hurdles when trying to recover and this had often been an obstacle to me prior to attending treatment.
Those first 6 months were extremely trying. All of the emotions that I had attempted to block out over the years came rushing back in a torrent of confusion, anger, and guilt. All of my unanswered questions about my character as a mother were there in the light of day and a part of me wanted to run, to find escape as I always had.
In time I began to work on myself, processing and dealing with all of these emotions and thoughts, and because of this I began to heal. I came to learn that I had an illness which caused me to have an uncontrollable obsession that would not quit unless halted with a suitable solution. I found out that because this illness was so powerful, even my love for my children never stood a chance of stopping it. This helped me in the beginning, because it allowed me to see that I was not a bad person, or even a bad mother. I was simply fighting a losing battle with all of the wrong tools, swinging wildly in the dark doing the best I could.
During my first year I also developed a relationship with God again. For years I had shut God out of my life because I blamed God for the trauma that happened to me as a young child. For me God was a faraway being that had abandoned me in my time of greatest need. During this time I found a God who embodied love, kindness, and compassion. I was able to connect with this God. In doing this I was able to experience peace and forgive myself and others.
Having spent almost 17 months in South Florida I arrived at a point where it was time to go back to Virginia and be with my children again. My divorce was finalized and I knew that I would returning on a much different footing than the one that I left on.
I found that getting sober not only gave me a new lease on life, but it also gave me a new perspective on motherhood. The lessons that I had learned during that first year and a half in sobriety were applicable to my role as a mother. For instance getting sober I learned that setting boundaries was a very important aspect of life. I also learned that just setting the boundaries was not enough but that you had to be consistent with them as well. I started to use these lessons in my parenting and I have found that my children thrive when I am able to set up consistent boundaries for them. Just as it makes me feel safer, it does the same for them, allowing them to feel comfortable and protected.
Before getting sober I was emotionally numb and out of touch with what was going on inside of me. I knew when I was angry or sad, I had no idea how to figure out my emotions. Becoming emotionally centered has allowed me to be a better mother because my children do not have to wonder how I am going to react to something or which mother is going to show up that day. They no longer need to act out in order to get my attention because they know I am present, and this in and of itself is worth more to me then the world.
Just as sobriety isn’t always easy, being a mother is the same. There are trials and tribulations, but equipped with the tools offered to me through sobriety, I am ready for these challenges when they come. I am also grateful for the good days that I have because I am able to spend them with my children, present, in the moment, and no longer bound by my addiction.
Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.