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Sometimes even when we win, we lose. #motherood #drugaddiction #recovery

I Thought Rehab Would Save My Marriage: I Still Lost My Family

Some people stop using and get everything back, but it doesn't happen for everyone. That was not my experience.

“You can’t come home.”

Those words shocked the heck out of me.

I had gone in an Emergency Room looking for drugs again, and had actually needed surgery. I didn’t get my drugs on the street. My “dealer” had M.D. after his name. I committed a crime every time I lied to get and fill the prescription, and then I took three times the prescribed dose.

My then husband had had enough. There is a lot more to that story, but that is for another time.

The surgeon had called him to tell him where I was, and he filled the surgeon in about my habits.

A week later, I found myself in rehab in Colorado Springs (about three hours from the home that was no longer mine). I was sure if I went to rehab he would let me come home, and we would live happily ever after, but I was wrong. Two weeks into my stay, I was served with divorce papers. I knew they were coming because he had informed my counselor he would be sending them.

From rehab, I went to a sober living house where I continued to stay clean, but still held onto the idea that I might possibly return “home.” Eventually, as my children (aged 15 and 11 at the time) gradually stopped talking to me, I realized that wasn’t going to happen.

At that point, I knew I couldn’t go home, and my marriage was over. Shortly after, I met Jeff. I knew “no relationships in the first year” was suggested, but my family wouldn’t talk to me, my divorce was final, and I moved in with Jeff. He quit drinking when he met me. I told him everything (I mean, everything), and he decided he needed to make a change in his life. He also didn’t want to chance my sobriety.

I am still clean and sober, but my family is still very sick. I still work a program; even though the recovery community I had been involved with dissolved in a bad way (that is a whole other story). I stay away from the drama. I have two jobs, and spend my free time with my boyfriend.

I continue to try and break the barrier my children have put up. It’s so easy to see the picture their father paints of me being the only problem, but that isn’t my story to tell. One day he may be honest with them, or not; that isn’t my business. I’m doing me.

During my drug use, I gave up the rights to my kids.

My parenting agreement includes visitation, but if they don’t want to see me, at ages 12 and 16, I’m not going force them or have some judge get involved. They have been through enough.

My mom still believes I’m just a bad person, but like I said, in my sobriety, I do me. I decided this year to make a list of all the hurts so I didn’t ever do them to anyone else. I’m done with getting even. I can’t do drama. All I can do is take care of me. It’s been over a year since I got clean and sober, and sometimes I see glimpses of a new “normal.”

Sometimes I still feel like I’m going crazy, but either way, I’m alive and I am beginning to love who I am. Jeff has been such a blessing. He loves me. He tells it like it is, and doesn’t pull any punches. He is genuine. He’s not perfect, but he has a kind heart and wants good things for me. That is good for me, and I hope I’m good for him.

My ex-husband is getting remarried, and my mother likes her more than she likes me. My kids seem to like her, and that’s good enough for me.

It’s about the kids, and their happiness is all I really care about.

I don’t base my sobriety on it, and I don’t let my relationships or lack there of, become part of that equation.

This post was submitted by Carol.

photo credit: Indy Charlie

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  1. The reality likely is you lost your family, got clean, and became sober enough to recognize the loss. Sadly, the title implies getting clean caused the loss. It is catchy but feels irresponsible-blaming the loss on getting clean.

    1. I don’t think she’s blaming getting clean for the loss of her family, but rather stating that both happened. We don’t always get reunification when we decide to get clean and sober. Sometimes the wreckage is too great.

      This is a great post about how we can remain on the path, even if we don’t get everything and everyone back in our lives.

    2. I thought I’ll have another chance to see my children again Didnt happen. nor did my family or friends give me a second chance.

  2. i didnt get she was blaming her losing her family on getting clean , i know when i got sober , i thought everything would fall right into place and thats far from what happened , but it all worked out in the end thats what i took from this , so glad you shared your journey with us

  3. You must go to visitation. You must do the work. You are feeding your children the story that you are still “not caring enough, you are abandoning them by NOT going, so what, they are NOT old enough to know your story… so show them, visit … smile and love and apologie for as many visits as it takes… give them the message that they can push you away one thousand times but you will be standing there telling them you love them for one thousand and one” doing you… MUST include ” doing your mom role” this is the only way they will get to meet the beutiful SOBER you!!! Do this and you will not have failed as a parent. God Bless

    1. I am in a similar situation and my 12 yr. old daughter does not want to see me. I have court ordered visitation for 3 days a week but only see her for a one hour lunch once a week. She continually tells me what a bad mother I have been, how my negative attitude ruined her life. For 8 months now I have been sober and bring all the loving energy I can each time I see her, and tell her that I love her every time. I can only hope that she will eventually realize that I am changing. It’s so important to show up and be honest and keep at it! I am so grateful that I have a choice to be the mom I want to be but it is really hard not to be liked or loved by my own child

    2. Hi Heidi,

      Welcome, and thank you so much for your comment!

      We don’t use words like “should,” “must,” or “fail” here. We listen and share our experience. It is our belief that it is not our responsibility to tell people what to do, but instead support and love other women wherever they are in their journey.

      Carol is doing the work by staying clean and accepting the fact that although her recovery may not look the way she thought it might, she doesn’t have to give up.

      There’s no one or correct way to find peace. We’re all doing the best we can. This is a safe place, and judgment-free zone.

      We’re so glad you’re here!!!!!


  4. There is no blame here. These are just facts about my life and my feelings and thoughts. I know it is kind of raw. It’s ok to get my feelings down on the paper. I also know that sometimes someone else is having those same feelings and maybe it may be the day that my feelings give them some hope too.

  5. I commend you on keeping focus of your recovery. It ain’t easy especially when dealing with trying to accept you’ve lost your kids. I have been clean for 3yrs now and there is no resolution or reconnection of a relationship with my three oldest kids. It breaks my heart on a daily, some days are worst than others. You’re so by alone. I’ve been able to keep focus as well. And it’s so important that we don’t become too lost in the guilt or else we end up back in the darkness. I know this guilt is what kept me out there in the end. Keep strong Carol. You’re not alone. I keep saying this cause sometimes because I don’t have them in my life at this time and when I’m doing so well, I single myself out and think how much of a horrible mother I am. YOU’RE NOT ALONE. STAY LIFTED.

    1. Honestly, don’t tell your story too often. Telling this one bit me in the ass. I ended up taking a deal on a felony charge because I posted this. Luckily if I keep doing the right thing, I will be ok but not everyone sees our accomplishments-they are hell bent on seeing the bad things we’ve done and considering us bad people due to that.

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