A few months after I completed rehab, I came across a woman who ended up sending me some speaker CDs from a 12-step meeting. I didn’t open them right away. She told me she would be sending them so I knew what they were. I didn’t open them for a while. I’m not sure what I was waiting for. Their brightly colored packaging looked at me from my kitchen counter for at least a month. For whatever reason, I finally decided to listen to one while I was folding laundry one day.The speaker was a woman. I took in her words as I folded. I don’t recall details from her story…only one. She started talking about spiritual experiences. I scoffed a little. I hadn’t had one of those. That didn’t mean I didn’t want one, I just didn’t sit around looking for it like a winning lottery number. Having a Higher Power was still new, and I was practicing the “fake it till you make it” method. Regardless, I listened to what she had to say. I enjoy listening to people share their experiences.
She shared how she was struggling. She was scared. She cried to God she was scared and she just kept telling him over and over, desperately. Then, I remember her talking about how a calm came over her. She told of a blanket calmness accompanied by a voice she assumed to be God. The voice said something to her that I have never forgotten. I stopped and crumbled to the floor, tears streaming down each side of my face. I cried many, many times that day. I even went to a meeting and shared what had happened.That CD held something that I desperately needed to hear. I didn’t know I needed it until it fell on my lap. What she said was that she heard a voice say, “I’ve got you.” God was telling her that he had her. But that wasn’t what dropped me to my knees. It was when she said God told her, “…and I’ve got Ethan, too”, referring to her son.
I still cry when I think of it and it has been over five years. Because while I was listening to that CD and folding laundry, there was a little boy in the other room. My five year old little boy. And his name is Ethan. A beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed boy that I had left so that I could go to rehab for three months. I carried that guilt on me like a backpack full of bricks. Prior to that day, I had never had faith that maybe, just maybe, God was taking care of my little boy. I had handed a lot of things over to God. I had just never thought to hand over my son. The absolute failure I felt, I thought only I could fix, only I could make up for. There was such a huge internal need for me to try to mend what I had done to him. I needed him to know how sorry I was that I had left him. That day, I learned how important it was to not just have faith in God for myself, but also for my child.
Going to rehab wasn’t the easy thing. It was the right thing and God was there for me, and He was there for Ethan. My life is blessed beyond measure because I took that first step. Ethan is a happy, sweet ten year old, with a beautiful life. He and I have since expanded our family but we know our story starts with each other. None of that would have been possible if I didn’t take care of myself first and have faith…
…that God has him, too.
Lauren Sommerfield is 35 and has been a part of the beautiful world of recovery for over five years. She is married to a man who is also in recovery, and together they are learning to raise three kids in a small town in northern New York. Please visit Lauren at Reads and Recovery and on Twitter @sommerkarma