I Want to Start a Family and Get Pregnant at Six Months. Is it a Bad Idea? – Ask A Sober Mom

Ask A Sober Mom-How to Rebuild Trust

“I am 72 days sober, first time, no relapses, and I am feeling good. I want to start a family and get pregnant at 6 months. Is it a bad idea? I have a wonderful marriage and amazingly supportive husband, but my sponsor said I should wait my first year. I am already 31 and don’t want to wait any longer. Any advice?”

Signed, Lillie




Congrats on your sobriety! 72 days is AMAZING! I am so happy that you are living life without a substance and enjoying it!

Upon reading your question, my first thought is – what is the role of a sponsor? I was always taught that the ONE and ONLY job of a sponsor is to “put your hand into the hand of your higher power.” How is that done? They GUIDE you through the 12 steps. That’s it. The intention of a sponsor is not for them to tell you what to do, give relationship advice, give medical advice or define what your life should look like.

If you decide to continue on with the 12 steps, you will discover that in the text (the Big Book for Alcoholics Anonymous, the Basic Text for Narcotics Anonymous) NOWHERE are there defined timelines for when life events become acceptable (having a child, getting into a relationship, etc.) These are suggestions that people in the program have come up with over time and passed along through the fellowship. And while sometimes these suggestions may be on point – your sobriety is not contingent on them.

With all that being said, let’s talk baby.

Pregnancy is HARD. Babies are HARD. Don’t get me wrong – motherhood has been the most beautiful and rewarding experience of my life. But there are times where it has almost broken me.

I had two years of sobriety when I was pregnant, and I can remember times where the hormones had me out of control. Pregnancy brought up a lot of unresolved trauma that I had NO idea was inside of me. It was one of the most painful and difficult times in my life. Looking back, I wish that I had given myself more time to heal before I got pregnant. I did not have the experience that I had always wanted.

I also would advise that you explore what led you to reach out to us and ask if we thought this was a good idea. I have learned that if I have to ask someone else – my gut is telling me something. If I need someone else to validate that my decision is okay, it’s usually not a good idea – or maybe I just need more time to process before making a choice. I have learned to trust and to honor those instincts.

With all that being said – no matter what you decide to do – you can ABSOLUTELY maintain your recovery through it. And we will be here to help you along the way! We wish you the best Lillie and please stay in touch!

Sending positive vibes,


Eight 12Step Slogans Useful to Any Recovery Path

Whether your recovery includes a 12step program, Smart Recovery, Harm Reduction, Moderation or another path, here are some helpful slogans to help anyone gain perspective when struggling!
“Addiction doesn’t discriminate.”
Society has stigmatize substance use disorder and painted a common picture of “addicts” and “alcoholics.” This picture commonly includes a brown paper bag, unsightly tattoos, and a negative attitude. But the way you look, feel, and behave will not make anyone less likely to suffer with an addiction. We are mothers and daughters, friends and wives. We are teachers, managers, doctors and nurses.
You can wear a business suit or yoga pants; addiction doesn’t care.
“Look For The Similarities, Rather Than The Differences”
I love this one. Being so involved in the online sober community, I’ve begun to realize different things work for different people. There isn’t just one way to find or maintain recovery. Furthermore, there isn’t just one way to live. People in recovery practice different cultures, have different experiences, and different ways of life. That is beautiful. I can find value and inspiration from all different backgrounds. Although I may not agree or relate with everything, I can learn something from everyone.
Find the similarities, move past the differences and celebrate the victories, together.
“Easy does it”
I’ve been sober four four years, and I still practice this in my daily life. ‘Easy does it’ means many different things to me. I actively aim to take it easy on myself, but I’m my toughest critic. Easy does it. My life doesn’t need to be complicated. On days when I’m trying to be everything; a mom, a wife, a student, a friend, and it feels like I just may explode or pass out, I remind myself. Easy does it.
“(H-O-W recovery works) Honesty, Open-mindedness and Willingness”
We can be honest with ourselves about our problem, come to terms with it, and make the decision to change. We can be open-minded to suggestions. If meetings aren’t for you, there are so many other resources. Try to remain open-minded and take suggestions from like-minded people. We must be willing to change, put in the necessary foot work, and look at ourselves in and honest light.
I try to implement HOW into my life on a daily basis. I try to be honest about my feelings and expectations. I try to remain open-minded, and I am almost always willing to hear people out, take a break, and help when I am needed. By exercising HOW, I’ve been led down some pretty beautiful paths. 
“(H.A.L.T.) Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired”
Whether you’re feeling like you want to do that thing you know isn’t the best for you, overly agitated, or wanting to isolate, it’s always a good idea to HALT. Stop, and ask yourself; Have I eaten today? Could I be angry about something completely unrelated? Am I feeling alone, or do I need support? Did I get enough sleep?
These are feeling we ALL experience. They are completely normal and (more importantly) fixable! I don’t want to throw away all I have worked for just because I need a snack and a nap! I’ve learned to breathe. I’ve learned to take a moment to assess my emotional state; I decide what I can change about my environment, and do just that.
This cliche acronym may not prevent relapse, a breakdown, or brighten every dark moment, but it’s a useful place to start.
“Progress Not Perfection”
One of my absolute faves. Such an uncomplicated thought. A simple reminder to be kind to myself. A way to lessen that the ominous pressure we’re feeling. I personally use this phrase in all aspects of my life; not just in recovery. In motherhood, school, fitness, working on my credit score, housework… It’s all about progress not perfection.
“Just For today” and “One Day At A Time”
I can do anything for one day. I can deal with my cranky toddler for one day. When I’m exhausted, I can make it through one day. When I hate myself, when I’m battling a head full of self-loathing, I can make it through one day without self harm. And, if I desperately want to pick up I can absolutely go one day without doing so. After I make it through that one day, I can go to bed and wake up to a new day. Reset my perspective. One day at a time we can continue to fight.
“Let Go And Let God”
I’ve never been a fan of this slogan, because the “God”  part makes me uncomfortable. Although I’m not enthusiastic about the words, I do appreciate the idea itself. My ‘god’ is the Universe, and whatever god we believe in, even if it’s none at all, we can let go. We can let go of our negative thoughts and we can let go of our failed expectations. We can release fear of the unknown and choose to trust in the universe, trust in god, or just trust in ourselves, that it’s all going to be alright.



The Weight of Surviving

“You are so strong.”

“You are such a survivor.”

“You must be so thankful to have come through so much.”

It was an innocent enough start to a conversation with a family member this week and yet those were the three sentences that broke me.  

You see, I am a survivor. I’ve had cancer; twice actually. I’m a person in long-term recovery from alcohol and substance misuse. I’m the surviving sister of my younger sibling’s tragic and sudden death.  And those are just the biggies. My challenges and traumatic experiences certainly do not make me unique, but they have made me tough. But now I find myself facing some new challenges, and I don’t feel so strong or thankful. Not even a little bit. I’m just mad.

The Weight of Being Wonder Woman Alone

And you know what? That’s ok. That’s more than ok. I’m not sure tough or strong is what I want to be. Because those have not served me well in the past.

In the past, carrying the burden of being the “resilient” one broke me, and I turned to all kinds of unhealthy things to help me cope and pretend that I was okay with feeling that way. “Strong” became a label that suffocated me, because I didn’t leave a space in my life for pain and hurt. When they showed up at my door, I pushed them away in the name of being the survivor. I numbed away the anxiety of having a medically fragile daughter, my brother’s death, my failing marriage, the return of my cancer in a different area. I couldn’t cope with feeling all that pain. So I numbed.

Glennon Melton, one of my recovery (s)heroes says “Lives are like glo-sticks. They don’t really glow until they’ve been busted up a bit.” The longer I live, the more I believe this truth. We hear a lot about surviving and recovering and rising, but what I forget is, first comes the breaking. The breaking isn’t fun; the breaking is messy and ugly. The breaking is where the pain is. It’s also where the fire is. The fire that burns away all that we are not so that in the end, we can see who we are.

So friends, here’s my breaking. I have an illness that is requiring more chemo treatments as I wait on a bone marrow match. And lately I find myself thinking things like “you should be thankful, at least your hair isn’t falling out too bad this time” or “at least you aren’t as sick as some people.” And that’s true; I am thankful. But that doesn’t mean I have to feel only that. If I heard a friend say this, I would scoop her up in the biggest hug and remind her that her pain is real and it’s valid and pain doesn’t fall on a continuum of “bad” vs. “not so bad.” Life is hard because it’s hard. It’s not a competition.

Thankfully, I had a friend remind me of that today. That my pain is valid and it gets to be felt, just like all the other things. There’s no numbing and that means I get to feel what I feel. I say get to feel instead of have to very intentionally here. I’ve worked hard in recovery for the right to feel all the things.  When you numb the bad, you numb the good; I’m learning there’s lots of good to be felt. Feeling all the things doesn’t have to be a burden.

I’m going to choose to keep feeling. Even if that means I’m mad as hell right now. Those labels and feelings aren’t too heavy anymore, because I’m not carrying them alone. I’m sharing them with you, my recovery sisters, and I bet that there are things you might be tired of carrying too. You can walk with me. We will carry it together.



I Found Myself on a Yoga Mat

“One of the lessons Yoga gives us is acceptance. It teaches that you can improve, but you first have to find acceptance with where you are now.”

It took me a really long time to admit to myself that I had a problem with alcohol.

I grew up seeing wine on the table with dinner, and spending happy summer evenings outside the bar with my brother while my parents had a couple of drinks inside. I rarely saw my parents drunk, but seeing alcohol was normal. Family gatherings always had alcohol present, and one of my earliest, and most frightening memories, is of my beloved grandmother in a drunken rage.. Later I learned it was a regular occurrence, and eventually lead to her death.

I found my ‘tribe’ at age 19. I felt instant connection after a lifetime of feeling separated from my peers. Alcohol and recreational drugs were central to all our fun.

When my life exploded a year later, I fell into a swirling pit of self loathing and shame. I sought refuge in those friends, and my new best friend — alcohol. Alcohol kept me safe from the endless mental torture I put myself through. With vodka and cider, and a hefty amount of weed, speed, and LSD, I no longer cared enough about my life to hate myself. I could forget my darkness and have fun.

Most evenings seemed to involve at least ten minutes of inconsolable crying in the toilets, grieving over the car crash my life had become. Days were spent watching the clock until it was an “acceptable time” to start drinking.

As life moved on, I became a mother, got a teaching degree, and became – on the outside – quite successful, in a modest way, lurching from one catastrophe to the next. I never felt like a success, and a large part of my earnings went to the alcohol and weed I needed to get me through my days.

I surrounded myself with friends who helped me through my roller coaster ride of a life. They supporting me through heartbreak, bereavement, stress, illness, family drama and more — always with a bottle of wine.

Booze was one of my friends, and I loved him very much.

The cracks started to show in the relationship in 2013, when I had a full emotional breakdown after a hellish eight months. During that time, I realised my life wasn’t working, and I needed to do something different. I hadn’t considered that drinking was a problem yet.

Enrolling in a training course to teach Yoga was the fulfilment of a long held dream. I didn’t see it at the time, but it was also the ‘treatment program’ I didn’t even know I needed.

We were given three ‘rules’ to live by; which became something of a mantra for me as I learned to become who I was meant to be.

  1. Don’t judge.
  2. Don’t compare. 
  3. Don’t beat yourself up.

Powerful words to carry with you as you move through life and recovery!

Yoga is all about bringing you face to face with yourself. It is not about how bendy your body is, but about becoming true to yourself. I was guided gently but forcefully to look at myself with compassion and honesty, to drop the stories I had been telling myself about who and what I was, and to see the truth of my life. Gradually it started to be painfully obvious that my drinking was far from normal, and that it had never helped me to solve one single problem.Sober Mommies - I Found Myself on a Yoga MatI reduced my alcohol consumption considerably, cutting back on my smoking in the process as I learned to breathe better. As I did this, and deepened my practice and my self study, I noticed I was calmer, sleeping better, and seemed to have less problems to confront. This was quite a revelation, as it became clear that, far from solving my problems, alcohol had been the cause of many of them. I had never considered that before. it was a shock!

One of the lessons Yoga gives us is acceptance. It teaches that you can improve, but you first have to find acceptance of where you are now. There is a great deal of compassion and truth in that kind of acceptance. It can be very difficult to get to.

I had my moment of clarity one day during a class. There was a long list of people I could blame for my problems. The ex lovers who had caused me so much harm, the school peers who had made my life difficult, my parents, the government. The list went on.

Within the space of compassionate honesty, I realised beyond doubt that ultimately, it was my life. I was responsible for it. It felt like a light suddenly turned on in me – I had got myself into this situation and no one but me was going to get me out of it.

The previous year I would have fought against that fact like my life depended on it. I didn’t like taking responsibility, and always preferred to find someone to blame. With my yoga practice strengthening me on a daily basis, I found it more motivating and empowering than I would have ever imagined. I don’t remember how long it took before I stopped drinking completely, but I think it was a matter of weeks. I stopped drinking on October 12, 2014.

Yoga gave me all the tools I needed to get sober, and to stay sober. It has made me a better, more content, more forgiving and happier person. I surrendered my life to yoga, and realised that in doing so, I was able to finally see and love me. Once I was able to do that, I no longer needed to hide from myself in wine and drugs.

I owe my life, my sanity and so much more to Yoga, and am forever grateful to the breakdown that led me to the training course that saved me.



Guess What? I’m Still Faking It – Waiting to Make It.

She’s to be admired and respected.

Her inspiring story, confidence, and surety. She’s financially secure, emotionally stable, and seemingly ready for anything. She is well read and well rounded, non-judgemental, and spilling over with wisdom. Always ready with a kind word, or funny anecdote. Always put together, she’s in a healthy relationship — she doesn’t take any shit. She’s got a job she’s happy with, a safe place to live, and friends.

This woman has purpose. She is someone I want to be friends with, in hopes I might absorb some of her awesomeness by osmosis.

The problem is — I am this woman; except I’m not.

I’m a faker — exposed. A phony. A fraud. I am all things and also none of them. The fear that you will find me out keeps me from being me. It also allows me to be whatever – whoever – you need. The ability to exude confidence, availability, kindness, and love just helps masks the fact that I have no fucking idea what I’m doing.

I can be all the good things — as needed, but I don’t feel them in my heart; not all the time. The effects of trauma – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – low self esteem – self-image and abandonment issues – financial insecurity – they all sit on a hair trigger, waiting for just a twitch before unloading a full-blown assault of self hatred. My own mind attacks me, daily.


I am fortunate to have many tools to combat this, but my mind often overrides sensibilities. Some days I can’t leave the house. I can’t pick up the phone. I’m choosing abstinence based recovery, so picking up any substances to change how I feel at any given time is not an option for me.

“Fake it ’til you make it.”

I can’t let you in and I can’t let me out. I have several close friends who know the real me, but still I feel like a fraud. Women talk to me, look up to me, ask for suggestions, and tell me I’ve helped them. I love being available to other women in recovery. I love spreading hope. I just don’t love feeling like I’m just pretending.

I will probably never be 100% satisfied with my outside appearance, but I usually seem that I am. Faker alert. All that junk running around my insides prevents me from thinking I’m worthy enough to invest the time and energy into the physical appearance I desire.

The inside stuff is much harder. Therapy, 12 step recovery, non 12 step recovery, family life, being a stay at home mom, going back to work, exercise (or lack of exercise) — the list goes on. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever be fully satisfied with my station in life. Other days, I wonder how my life could get any better. Most of this directly correlates to how well I’m taking care of myself. Making my therapy appts – taking time for me – doing all the stuff I often suggest others do.

It’s so hard to put all this good for me stuff into action, but I can’t tell anyone that because they’ll know I’m not perfect; that I have only 24 hours in a day.

I totally embrace who I am. That has been an amazing experience for me. I’m still chubby and occasionally bite my nails. I abhor the hair dresser. I live in patchwork skirts and band t-shirts. I’m a work in progress, but not changing what I love about me is freeing.

Being a mom sucks sometimes. I love my kids more than life, but some days I just want to quit momming. Raising humans is hard! Being a SAHM was the hardest four years of my life! It’s not always a fucking Pinterest party or a trip to the zoo. It’s potty training picky eaters. It’s preemies and doctors visits, and – and – and. Sometimes I feel like I’m not built for all that stuff. I know I’m built for loving them the best.

I’m grateful for my amazing fiancé, who is a far calmer parent than I. But I feel like I have to foster a perfect relationship where we never fight and agree on everything and sex happens regularly (whatever the fuck that means).

We often disagree. Sex happens if we’re not too tired; occasionally. I work graveyard and he’s on days, so that adds an interesting dilemma.

I often wonder how I got from where I was to where I am and why I deserve this life. Maybe it’s all in my head. If I am a phony, than I am a pretty lucky one. I built this glorious life, after all. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel exactly how I want to feel, but I keep thinking if I continue all this inside work, I’ll get there.