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It Takes a Village to Raise an Addict

Imagine my surprise when, with 60 days clean, I found out I was pregnant.

I started saying I never wanted children around age fifteen. It’s not that I didn’t like kids, I adored them, and they adored me. I was great with kids and made a great aunt and babysitter. I believed myself to be far too damaged to ever pass that DNA on to an innocent child. This was a lie I carried with me.

I was an addict long before I picked up a drug or drink. I was selfish, self-centered, dishonest, and unhealthy from an early age. I knew I couldn’t stay clean long enough to be any good to myself, let alone a baby.

Thank God I found recovery when I did.

Imagine my surprise when, with 60 days clean, I found out I was pregnant. My fiancé and I were using protection, but on my 30-day clean date (God wink!) we forgot. So, now I am a mommy in recovery. Lies shattered, dream realized. My daughter was born on my 10-month anniversary.

Being a mommy in recovery has been so emotional. Being pregnant and newly clean was really hard on me emotionally. Being sleep deprived and confessing the true nature of all your wrongs is well…interesting. A teething infant at a meeting is an experience. A toddler at a meeting is always a good time. No matter what, with some help with a team of other mommies in recovery, I’m doing it.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes one to raise an addict as well.

Many experienced mommies were happy to lend a hand or shoulder to help me, and I am happy to help other mommies today.

Staying clean does come first, but I can take it further today. By practicing the principles I’ve learned, I can be the best mommy I am capable of being every day and shed the damaged picture I’ve always had of myself.

I’m simply, beautifully flawed.

This post originally appeared in September 2013.

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  1. Rachel,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for you to have to juggle early sobriety/getting clean with all that comes along with pregnancy! You are my hero for sure. I’m so happy that everything worked out and that you found the support you needed to become the best mom you could be!! Balancing the responsibilities of motherhood and recovery can be overwhelming, but as long as we stick together, there’s nothing we can’t do. 🙂

  2. I can’t imagine how trying this must have been, hopefully it only served to enforce your decision to stay clean. Kudos to you and thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Thank you for sharing this! I’m nearly four years sober and have had similar thoughts about myself and motherhood. I’m nervous to become a mother for all of those reasons. Reading this gave me hope.

    1. Natalie, thank you for reading my story of motherhood. Being in recovery has taught me so many life tools that I can carry into parenting! Being clean doesn’t make me Supermom, and I don’t want to think I am, but those tools keep me present and able to laugh & that’s necessary with a 2 year old! If I can just give myself that break and learn to listen and ask for help, I’m ok. I’m not missing anything today, and I’m awake when she is & able to live the little stuff & that is what makes a good mom. Thank you for your support of all of us at SM!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story! What a wonderful testament to your recovery and to the process of recovery (yours and the way you’re leading others-by example).

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I got pregnant 4 months into my recovery, and so much of your story I can relate to. It’s hard to find women who got pregnant so early in their recovery. As my one year anniversary approaches, followed by my baby boy comin a month and a half later, I reflect a lot on how far I’ve come. I’m proud of you!

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