Recovering from an addiction is tough enough, and when you throw in the tremendous responsibilities of motherhood, it can seem like an impossible challenge. When I finally sought help for my alcohol addiction, I was a single mom with three young children. I didn't want to stop drinking, but I was afraid I would lose my kids. I didn’t have the luxury of going to a treatment program, so I detoxed at home. I never knew how dangerous it was to detox without any help or how going to a treatment program would have been so much easier for my kids and me.
For the first ninety days, I craved alcohol every day. When I wanted to drink, I white-knuckled it and told myself I had two choices - the alcohol or the kids. My children were the most precious gifts in my life, and I figured I owed it to them to do whatever it takes to stay sober.
I watched like a hawk what the moms with long-term sobriety were doing. I paid careful attention to the moms who were relapsing and took copious...
“To love an addict is to run out of tears.” ~ Sandy Swenson
I was visiting my daughter who was going to school in Paris, and we decided to take a couple of days and head down the south of France. It was Mother’s Day, and we were sitting in a café in Monaco enjoying the most exquisite French pastries and espresso. I thought to myself, “Wow, pinch me! I’m in Monaco for Mother’s Day with my beautiful daughter. Life doesn’t get much better than this!” Well, that sweet moment suddenly collided with my cell phone ringing with a call from my former husband. I figured it couldn’t be good news because it was about 2:00 a.m. California time. I answered the call with trepidation to hear him tell me our 17-year-old son had totaled the car and had gotten a DUI. I had just spent two years of sleepless nights, cried buckets of tears, and drained every bank account I had to pay for him to go to the best therapists and residential...
RUTA STERNBERGS, Ed. D., Psy. D., CADC-II
What is compassion in recovery?
The dictionary defines compassion as the “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” In recovery, it is the extension of that same empathy and concern towards oneself, which means treating oneself with the same level of kindness and respect that one would show others in their time of need. As individuals come out of their drug and alcohol addiction and realize the full impact of their past mistakes, it’s tempting for them to feel guilt and shame for the harm they have caused others while they were addicted. Compassion in recovery, a vital skill that people learn in dual diagnosis treatment, helps promote healing by removing obstacles of shame and guilt that often cripple an individual’s progress to full recovery.
Where does self-compassion come from if you’ve never had it in the first...
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