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Finding Balance in Recovery Isn’t Easy

Balance was a foreign concept for Rose before she got sober. Practice doesn't always make perfect in recovery.

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!

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  1. Thank you for sharing your story Rose. Today I have been sober for 6 days. The longest I’ve gone since being pregnant with my 3 year old son. Great things happened today that I know without a doubt wouldn’t have had a been hungover. In pain physically and mentally all day dealing with grief and guilt which are my mortal enemies. I look forward to many more days of actually being present with my children and husband who have put up with and loved me all the while. No more taking things for granted. My new motto is “sober is sexy” as I look and feel so much better after only 6 days. I’m excited for many more years of emotional freedom from the alcohol demon.

  2. Hi Racheal thank you for sharing with me!!! I am so happy you found my story helpful and please keep going it will pay off. Life in recovery is such a blessing because you live a full life. What I find today is that without feeling the difficult emotions I could not really appreciate the beautiful emotions like joy, happiness and peace these are the gifts I get to feel today!! If you ever need encouragement you can find me on Facebook at Rose Lockinger. Keep up the work it gets better!!

    1. Rose, thank you. I can relate to your story so much. Just please know how thankful I am to have read this tonite. I also left my husband of 10 years, and spun back out of control. So much pain and regret, however it’s time to finally say no more. I’ve been a binge drinker since I was 14. Blackouts, fighting, wrecks, risky sex, etc. But so much denial, it’s scary! Your story though has touched me deeply and gives hope in such a seemingly hopeless battle. Thank you. Means so much.

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