While I was still drinking I had no idea what it would be like to be sober. In the brief moments I contemplated not drinking, I thought all the fun would stop and I'd be sentenced to a life of misery without alcohol. My delusional thinking told me everything was just fine when in reality, I had a lot of shame about my behaviors while under the influence of alcohol. No one told me how incredible life in recovery would be.
Here are just a few of the many gifts of sobriety I didn't know which were waiting for me in recovery.
Guilt: The gift that keeps on giving.
Guilt is the constant companion of the alcoholic or addict, maybe even more so for a mom. Every mother feels guilt about her parenting from time to time. That’s doubly true for women who have created drama and caused distress for their children by drinking or using—possibly inflicting psychological damage. Here’s one story from my past that still makes me cringe.
Due to my drinking, I was separated from my husband but was still living in my beautiful Northern California home with my three children, ages two, five, and eight. I was the top salesperson in my company and still getting promoted. I had the perfect job for a drunk, taking clients to lunch and dinner, with lots of drinks on the company dime. Things looked good on the outside but they were rotten within.
I promised myself I was only going out for two drinks. I told the eleven-year-old babysitter I’d be home in a couple of hours—no later...
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...
Recovering from an addiction is tough enough, but when you throw in the tremendous responsibilities of motherhood, resisting cravings and remaining abstinent—much less enjoying the rewards of the holidays—can seem like an impossible challenge.
The holidays can bring up many uncomfortable feelings of stress, loneliness, financial fear and overwhelm which can often trigger a relapse. For the alcoholic or addicted mom trying to get sober or stay sober, it’s vital we know what our triggers are and step-up our recovery plan to avoid a relapse. I heard someone once say, “we are either working on our recovery or working on a relapse.”
Once we know what our danger signs are, we can watch out for them. So when we identify the triggers, we can see them as highway signs that say Danger Ahead with flashing red lights.
For many, one of the most challenging places during the holidays can be at home. I once saw a bumper sticker which read, “Good news: The...
I loved margaritas, martinis, and being a mother. I’m not sure what I liked most about the margarita. Was it was the salt, the sweet slushiness, the colossal glass, the tequila or the tequila chaser? Well let's get serious, it was the tequila I loved. How do I know this? Well, all I had to do to was to try the ‘virgin margarita,’ and that did it for me. Yuck! Add the word ‘virgin’ to anything, and I’m already turned off (pun definitely intended!)
I loved margaritas so much, that right after my first child was born, when a friend called me in the hospital and asked me if I wanted her to bring me anything, I replied, “Yes, bring me a pitcher of margaritas.” What I loved about the margarita was this: I thought it made me appear ‘lady-like’ instead of a barfly shooting shots.
I also loved martinis! I had the illusion martinis made me look classy and sophisticated. Somehow purchasing fancy expensive...
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