Maintaining long-term sobriety particularly in early recovery
This is a challenge for anyone struggling with alcohol and/or substance abuse. As addiction spreads rampant across the globe, many renowned scientists and psychologists have been huge advocates in identifying the illness as a disease of the brain rather than an issue of morality. For seemingly hopeless addicts such as myself, this discovery has proven to be vital in relinquishing the stigmas and promoting recovery rather than disciplinary responses to the epidemic. From experiences in my own recovery, I’ve learned that each addict has their own journey, ultimately leading to the preservation of their own sobriety. As a single mother in recovery, I’ve come to the realisation that sustaining abstinence takes discipline rather than “will-power” and a simple 12 step program. I’m going to share my tips for single Moms in early recovery, with you.
When it first came to light that I was struggling with substance abuse, as a single mother, I was overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and shame. How could I continue to indulge in my vices when I had a child to protect and provide for? This concept kept me sick and running from the truth. Without hesitation, my father offered to take care of my son and gave me the opportunity to attend treatment for my addiction. It wasn’t until someone explained that if I was not well mentally, physically, and spiritually then I could be of no use to my son, that I willingly accepted the help I was offered. One of my last, most painful memories was kissing my son goodbye before I left on a plane to start my recovery. Little did I know, this would be the hardest but the best decision of my life.
Take Full Advantage of Rehabilitation
This idea seemed impossible and insane at first. When I arrived at the treatment centre, I remember every fibre of my being fighting the rules. I thought the limited “three minute phone calls… twice a week” to my son were inhumane. Looking back I realise how necessary this was to focusing on myself and healing from the pain I had been self medicating. As a mother, it’s so easy for us to wrap our identities into “single mom” or “so and so’s mom”. The idea that I was nothing more than a mother raising a child, on her own, had to be smashed. Getting down to the root of who I really was became the foundation for becoming the woman I was truly created to be. When I started to submit to the process, I dove head first into taking advantage of every second I was away from my son, taking any and all suggestions I was given and turning them into requirements for the process. I spent most of my time journaling, being as vulnerable as possible in my therapy, and surrendering to prayer and meditation.
Acting As If
Leaving treatment is when application becomes a priority. Taking everything I learned in treatment and living it. I personally think this is “what separates the men from the boys” or “women from the girls” if you will. in my early recovery period I instantly got caught up in making friends and running towards this newfound freedom without the responsibilities of being a mother. I noticed my friends and family growing concerned with my lack of effort in reuniting with my son. I was making up for lost time and felt completely justified in not setting up a home for my child to return to. This was short lived and unfulfilling. “You need to act as if your son is with you, maintain a schedule and provide structure and a safe place to be reunited with him. He needs you.” This hit me like a ton of bricks, I never provided any of those things to him in active addiction. I found myself in women’s meetings, avoiding going out during weeknights, and dedicating my free time to building a life for me and my son. Eventually “acting as if” became second nature and I was finally reunited with my son.
Get Connected to Strong Women
Coming from a place of complete mistrust of other women, due to my lack of self love and deep resentments, I gravitated towards the boys constantly seeking validation and running on empty. It wasn’t until I started connecting with strong women, that I got a taste of early recovery and the promises started to come true. I began finding women that had common goals, responsibilities, and displayed the characteristics of the woman I desperately wanted to be. Naturally the grace, compassion, and loyalty these women shared with me restored my faith in real friendships with other women. When I come across challenges and I feel discouraged, these women literally carry me when I cannot carry myself.
Find Discipline in a Schedule and Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help
Over the last year, I have found myself grounded in planning out my week and asking for help when needed. For as long as I can remember, I would pride myself on “doing it all on my own.” Little did I know this was a mirage, shackling me to the bondage of victimization and unnecessary stress. I have a list of friends that don’t chastise me when I ask for help with the kids to make a meeting or meet with my sponsor. They rise to the occasion and I get to suit up and show up to do the same for them. Early recovery , indeed all recovery is all about extending a hand to help the next addict. I sit down Sunday nights and plan out my week. I find that making a to-do list and executing it weekly encourages a deep sense of accomplishment and eliminates chaos. Studies have proven that children thrive in discipline and structure. I get to make living amends to those that matter most and myself when I continue to do the things that harvest peace and ultimately long-term sobriety.
For more information on getting yourself into rehab to start a new life for yourself and your child or children, call Houghton House now:
office hours: 011 787 9142
24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532
Alternatively you can click on the envelope bellow and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you either via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.