(An excerpt from my book, A Sober Mom's Guide to Recovery (Hazelden 2015)
HAVE YOU EVER REACHED THE POINT OF COMPLETE EXHAUSTION?
Of course you have—you’re a woman. And as a mother you are an expert in the exhaustion department. Add to that being a mother trying to recover from addiction, and exhaustion becomes a way of life.
One day when I was newly sober and working full time, going through a divorce, and raising three kids, I was complaining to my therapist about how tired I was. He suggested I take a twenty-minute nap in the afternoon, between work and picking up the kids. I truly thought this man was from Mars: he might as well suggest I fly to the moon.
I rarely took time to go to the doctor because I always said I didn’t have enough time. I had been feeling ill for about two weeks but I had promised my boys I’d take them to the Giants game that night. I told myself I’d go to the doctor tomorrow; tonight I’d just grin and bear the pain.
“AT FIVE IN THE MORNING I WOKE UP WITH MY ENTIRE BODY SHAKING UNCONTROLLABLY.”
Scared, I had no idea what was happening. In no time at all I looked up to three handsome firemen and two paramedics surrounding me in my tiny little bedroom. Boy, I wished I’d worn cuter pajamas. The next thing I knew I was whisked away on a stretcher as my children’s eyes filled with fear.
At the hospital the nurses hooked me up to several beeping machines, and when the doctor showed up he asked me all sorts of questions. After he was done, I asked him how long all of this would take, explaining that I had to get home because I had a lot of things to do. The doctor looked at me quite sternly and said, “Ma’am, your kidneys are shutting down. I’m going to have to admit you to the hospital for a few days if you don’t promise me that you’ll lie down and rest for a few days at home.” I made a pledge then to start taking better care of myself and to put my needs right up there with the children’s needs. I realized how important it was to take care of myself so I could take care of my kids.
SOBER MOM’S TOOLS FOR OVERCOMING EXHAUSTION:
1. Beg a friend to take your kids for an hour, and then move.
2. Post on Facebook that you’ve left the country indefinitely.
3. Serve cereal for dinner.
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