Throughout my 20s, I was “in da club.” (Pause – 15 second dance break as the 50 cent song plays your head. Go, Shawty! It’s your birthday!) I was young. I was single. I worked hard. I partied hard. That is what young people do, right? I was sowing wild oats or buying them or smoking them or something. I know that my 20s took ten years to get through, but literally I blinked and they were gone.

By the time I reached my 30s, I was making more money than ever had before and my career was beginning to really move. I had finally found my niche. I was on top of my game. Life was golden. I began building my life with and around people who had the same philosophy: “You work hard so you deserve to party hard.”

What a perfect cover for this budding alcoholic. Anytime I thought I had gone too far, I could point to some success in my life and say, “I get promoted every single year,” or “my bills are paid on time,” or “my credit score is 786,” or “I wear expensive clothes,” or “my boyfriend/husband is really good looking.” Alcoholics don’t have those things happen in their lives. They are messes. I am not a mess.

(Comparing and rationalization are an alcoholic’s best (deceitful) friend!)

As my 30s came to a close, I had a small child, a failing marriage and I was drinking every single day. Not much, but I had to drink something, every single day. It was no longer a choice. I had long come to the horrifying conclusion that I could not stop. And if I did stop, how was I ever going to face my life, or as I liked to call it, “Chernobyl”?

When you think of Chernobyl you think of the explosion at the nuclear power plant, right? Well, my life was living day by day in the mistakes, the failure of containment, the explosion, the fire, and the fallout, the damage to anyone exposed to the radiation, the painfully slow announcement, and equally sluggish evacuation.

One of the primary excuses I used for “self-containing” my problem was my child. I was deathly afraid that admitting I had a problem with alcohol would automatically forfeit my rights as a mother. Not legal rights (although a divorce was looming) but my right to ever be perceived as a “good mother”. Good mothers are not drunks! Drunks are not good mothers!

I am so bad.
I am so broken.
I am so disgusting.
Poor me.
Poor me.
Pour me… another drink.

But even in the haze of my disease, I loved my daughter above anything else in my life. Anything! I thank God for giving her to me because when I finally decided to get help, it was for her. It was ONLY because I did not want her to be raised in the house with a drunk. She deserved a mother who was sober, alive, engaged, devoted, safe, and helping her to become her biggest self.

In my recovery group, there is a saying. It goes, “First you come. Then you come to. Then you come to believe.” By the grace of God that is what happened to me. I came and started to get sober. I came to get the understanding that I was a sick person not a bad person. I came to believe that not only did my child deserve a mother who was sober, alive, engaged, devoted, and safe but I deserved those things from and for myself too!

Addiction – be it alcohol or shopping or sex or drugs or toxic relationships or food or whatever – does not mean you are a bad person. It means you need to learn a new way of being in the world. You are worthy of the help that is ready and waiting for you. We can walk the path to getting well together, one day at a time.

Don’t take my word for it. Here are some other voices sharing their experience, strength, & hope.

Sobber Mommies
I am the sober mom
Can’t Keep a Sober Girl Down

If you have any questions and do not want to comment below, feel free to send me an email at bluenotebookwriter@gmail.com


Gone So Long

Where rolling over in my bed and rolling out of my sleep intersect, awareness arrives to deliver myself back to me. I am rocked awake instead of rocked to sleep and it takes a moment to realize this is not a part of some reality mocking dream. A thought, insisting upon itself, slips from beneath of the cloak of sleep and pursues me. It trails across my still darkened mind like the tail of a comet against the clear midnight sky.

“It’s almost like I never had a mother at all. She has been gone so long.”

The voice fades but the thought remains. Its effects linger the way sungazing leaves behind a tiny image of the sun. Here for 16 of my years. Now, she’s been gone for 24 of them. I wonder if we would recognize each other anymore. Wrapped in the resolution to get back to the safety found in sleeping, I wade into the warmth and weight of darkness. As my eyelids gently ease themselves closed, the thought is there like skywriting against my mind.

“It’s almost like I never had a mother at all. She has been gone so long.”

I am surprised by the calmness within me as I examine the idea. I am surprised by the lack of volatile reaction. Where is the lamenter whose eyes ever sting with tears, whose throat always burns with stifled screams of grief? Where is the daughter who martyred the memory of her mother because larger-than-life is required to hold on after death? Completely void of emotion, the thought remains suspended within the midair that is me.

“It’s almost like I never had a mother at all. She has been gone so long.”

I’m left pondering which one is the truer dream. Is it the images playing out within us as we watch inside the haven of our sleep? Or is it divine beings cloaked in corruptible vessels, a life that ends in a single heart beat and separates you from me? What if I simply dreamt her into being? Maybe she was never here. Maybe we – me and her and all that we shared – were only ever real in me.

“It’s almost like I never had a mother at all. She has been gone so long.”

I am here in a body… my body. To have this body, there must be a source. I had to have a mother. So my body is proof that she had a body too. My life stands as evidence that she was here. She was here and she was with me. She was here and she carried me. She was here and she was with me and she carried me.

And I know all of this to be undeniably true because I am here so she’s still with me. I carry on and carry her too.

“It’s ALMOST like… no, not quite… even if she has been gone so long.”