The Shocking Truth About Margaritas, Martinis, and Being a Mother

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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The Secret Shame of Mental Illness - One Woman's Honest Story

 

It's tough for me to share this story with you, but if it helps just one person who is suffering from the shame of mental illness like me, I want you to know you are not alone.

When I was six years sober, I had been struggling for months to get out of bed most days.

I was exhausted and felt like I was walking around in cement army boots while sinking in quicksand. Even simple tasks seemed impossible. I felt alone and disconnected with the world.

The days grew darker and darker, and it became difficult to pretend I was okay. I only got out of bed because I was a single mom and needed to go to work to support my three small children.

I had no idea what was wrong with me.

I had many supportive people who loved me, but I didn't discuss this with anyone. My life on the outside was wonderful, and I felt like I had no reason to complain.

I went to doctors, therapists, and psychiatrist looking for help. Some looked at me and offered suggestions like, “eat more carrots and take...

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Freedom from Guilt for Moms in Recovery - 3 Quick Strategies that Work!

 

Guilt: The gift that keeps on giving.
ERMA BOMBECK

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...

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It's Not All About Sex - 3 Secrets to Building True Intimacy

intimacy moms recovery sex sober Feb 20, 2018

 Fear is the great enemy of intimacy.  Fear makes us run away from each other or
cling to each other but does not create true intimacy.
Henri Nouwen 

Intimacy is one of the greatest human needs — those longing for someone to truly deeply know and accept us for who we truly are. We all have a primal human desire to connect with another person on a deep spiritual and emotional level, a yearning to be known and understood. We want to know we matter, that our presence on this planet has a purpose.

Before I got sober, I had the false expectation that this yearning for intimacy was fulfilled through having sex. As my friend Diane said, “We go to bed with a man, and the next morning he’s planning golf while we’re shopping for the wedding dress.”

Another fallacy I believed was that if I had a man in my life, it would mean I did matter; I would never feel afraid, lost, or unsettled. I knew nothing about healthy emotional closeness. I was afraid...

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LOVE ADDICTION – A MOTHER REVEALS HER SHOCKING STORY

LOVE ADDICTION – A MOTHER REVEALS HER SHOCKING STORY

My fear of abandonment is exceeded only by my terror of intimacy.  

Ethlie Ann Vare

When I got sober in 1999 – I put down the alcohol and picked up another addiction – Men!

I was a serial dater. I don’t know how many men I dated nor do I remember many of their names. I would spot a man, beeline to him, flirt up a storm, and if he gave me even the slightest bit of attention I was hooked. The shelf lives of these relationships were one to three months. One day I’d be saying, “I love you,” and the next day, out of the blue, I was saying goodbye. I was going from man to man with an empty, bottomless cup, begging for love and attention. It was never enough because I didn’t feel enough.

What makes me cringe the most is how my serial dating affected my children. They witnessed the revolving door. I’d spend hours on the phone with the man of the moment. My five-year-old...

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5 Tips to Overcome Loneliness

5 Tips to Overcome Loneliness

An excerpt from my book “A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery” (Hazelden Publishing, 2015)

"When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death—ourselves."— EDA LESHAN

Loneliness is one of the most difficult human emotions. It can feel like a hole in the bottom of your gut, or a deep, aching longing in the heart, or both. The addict runs from loneliness in many ways: through drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, bingeing, purging, overeating, gambling, busyness, and overworking. These quick fixes do the trick at first, but as with all addictive behaviors, the high or distraction quickly wears off, and we’re back to feeling lonely and isolated. We pick it up “just one more time”—the drug, the alcohol, the lover, the credit card, the carton of ice cream— and then we’re left with that deeper hole of self-loathing and demoralization.

...

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Overcoming Exhaustion for Moms in Recovery

(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...

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Money Money Money - 3 Secrets to Let Go of Financial Stress

Money Money Money

By Rosemary O’Connor

Edited excerpt from A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery (Hazelden 2015)

A woman’s best protection is a little money of her own.

—  CLARE BOOTHE LCCE

Two of the most prominent relapse triggers I see with my clients are romance and finance. As addicts and alcoholics, most of us have money issues. Just as we learn to have healthy relationships with people, we also need to learn to have a healthy relationship with money. Most people would rather tell you their deepest, darkest secrets or about their sex life than tell you about their dysfunctional relationship with money. 

My relationship with money was definitely dysfunctional! I went mindlessly shopping for clothes, shoes, cars; you name it. I often padded the grocery bill, and I even stole money from the kids’ piggy banks.

When I was about five years sober, I hit my bottom with money. I was $60,000 in debt, and I could hardly breathe. I was a single mom trying...

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Avoiding​ ​Triggers​ ​and​ ​Relapse​ ​During​ ​the​ ​Holidays​ ​for​ ​Sober​ ​Moms

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...

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Not Every Day is a Doris Day

She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.
Elizabeth Edwards

Most days, I wake up feeling happy. Nothing out of the ordinary is happening, things are no different than usual, but for some reason, I am excited about life; I feel bright and cheery, and can’t wait to get out of bed. I am grateful for the simple things in life, like the rain outside, the green trees and the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen. Then there are those other days when I am irritable, discontent, and impatient with everyone, but I have learned how to be happy and coped with those things that might not contribute to that happiness. My days use to start out in a much different way, where I would wake up with a head full of horrible thoughts. “Oh my God is today the day the IRS will show up at my door?” My house was such a mess I was sure someone was going to report me to the show, Hoarders. My kids would be...

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