Balance can be defined as “having the right amount – not too much or too little – of any quality, which leads to harmony.” This remained a foreign concept to me until I entered recovery. Black and white – all or nothing – had always been my perception of the world. Recovery changed everything! Hopeless and broken, I sought a new way of life.
Although I always wanted children, my journey into motherhood began unexpectedly.
Regardless of the circumstances, I was thrilled to be a mom. My children’s birthdays are the two happiest days of my life.
Unfortunately, my addiction cast a dark shadow on those happy moments. It escalated rapidly after the birth of my second child, and I began to get a glimpse of the unmanageability in my life. Prior to his birth, I believed the “superwoman” lies I told myself. I worked full-time, went to school part-time, cared for two small children, and managed a busy schedule. I was convinced I was in control, but deep inside I could feel the turmoil rising to the surface.
I left my husband after six years and went to live with my parents. The relationship was toxic for both of us and the children, and the move allowed me to finally drop the superwoman facade. I fell apart. I gave up and dove headfirst into escaped reality. I could no longer keep track of all the masks I wore to pretend I was “fine.” At 5′ 8”, I weighed 126 lbs and was the skinniest I had ever been.
Addiction consumed every facet of my life. The pain I inflicted on everyone around me finally brought me to knees, and I could no longer hurt those I loved. Their faces – the looks in my children’s eyes—haunted me. My escape and only solution stopped working.
There was only one way I could avoid returning to the hell of my addiction—I had to feel. I entered a drug and alcohol rehab center.
I had to face the fear, pain, anger, and resentment head-on, and it took all the perseverance I had. Through hard work and determination, I slowly began the healing process. My higher power gave me the space and time I needed to dedicate to myself. My children stayed in Virginia while I continued the process in Florida, and after seventeen months away, I am returning home! My ex-husband and I have finalized our divorce and I will have the opportunity to spend time with my children.
In the last year, everything I thought was gone has been returned to my life and not on my terms, thank God. My higher power has blessed my quest for wholeness.
My journey has not been easy, and there were many times I wanted to give up. If not for the support of God, my chosen 12-step program, and friends I would have given up. My relationship with God has grown slowly as I have left things up to him more and more. It has provided a source of strength and courage to face my fear and walk through it.
So, how can I now apply balance to not only my recovery but also motherhood? I can pretend that I don’t know how, but in the end, I do. Recovery, for me, is all about setting boundaries and so is Motherhood. We all thrive on limits and the sense of security and stability they provide.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by seemingly dauntless tasks, I can feel grateful that I have the ability to change my perspective today. I have slowly and painfully learned the importance of boundaries, and the awareness I’ve gained through experience has been the best teacher.
Sobriety has brought peace into my life; leaving behind the confusion of my past.
This chaos is what defined my life for many years, and unfortunately, I still find myself creating it at times. The difference is awareness. Creating a schedule provided me with a sense of security, and I have also been learning to say “no” as a complete sentence. It does not need an explanation.
Speaking my truth, whether someone chooses to listen or not, is vital. I have a voice and it is heard. My emotional sobriety is also a priority. It is interesting how, in a sense, as I learn to parent the little girl inside me I also become a better parent to my children. What they always needed is a mother who was emotionally centered and present, and I am learning.
I am not perfect. I make mistakes. However, today I am conscious enough to recognize my old behaviors and work towards changing them. I thought I was destined to repeat the insane choices I made repeatedly in my addiction, but today…
I am free.
This post was submitted by Rose. She is the mother to two beautiful children. They are the light of her life and the reason she went to treatment and stayed for herself. She was born in Canada, lived in Peru for eight years, and speaks fluent Spanish. Rose just recently finished school for Massage Therapy and plans to start a new segment of her life in Charlottesville, Virginia. She works as an Outreach Director for Stodzy, an Internet Marketing site specializing in Addiction Treatment. She loves her job, because she gets to work in a field she is very passionate about. She is happy just to be alive today and have a future!