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Ask A Sober Mom: Help Me Find My Focus

You already have everything you need to be successful in your recovery.  You are showing up and doing the work.

I am a newly sober mom who is two weeks into her sobriety. This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been coming back countless number of times over the past eight years. My frustration today lies with my husband, who still does not believe that my alcoholism is a disease and that meetings are not merely an inconvenience, but a necessity for my recovery and survival. I rely on him to get to meetings as I am not driving.


The ride to each meeting is fraught with tension or outright arguments. I try not to engage, but this makes me feel like I have no voice. I try to calmly assert my need to attend these meetings, and he responds with derision. All I need is willpower. What are some tools, resources, or key phrases to help me focus that I can turn to when I am feeling like my work in recovery is under attack? ~ Sincerely, “Lala”

Dear “Lala,”

The best news I have is that you already have everything you need to be successful in your recovery.  You are showing up and doing the work. It is frustrating for sure when others don’t recognize our need for support. However, you are continuing to do the work in the face of his opposition, which is impressive and shows strength and commitment to your recovery.

Your journey is yours. Not his.

You know from your own struggles that no one can change any part of us and no change ever happens until we are ready. By bringing awareness to your heart and motivation you are already doing the hard work of allowing the focus to be where it needs to be—your recovery. Bravo, sister. Bravo.

We embrace all paths here at Sober Mommies, so my advice would be to stay open. You never know where the Universe might lead you for support.

My recovery path is not based on a traditional twelve-step model but there are some amazing slogans in that model to offer support.

Some people find comfort in scriptures like 1 Corinthians 10:13 from the Bible: ” No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Here are a few of the mantras and quotes that I’ve collected over the years that help me focus my awareness during those particularly frustrating times…

  • The only way out is through. Early in recovery, someone said this to me and it felt so simple and cliche. Now, years later, it comes to me as natural as breath itself. I believe that if I just keep keep putting one foot in front of the other, taking the next right step, that I will come through it. Through opposition, despair, hurt, frustration—through it all. And when I lose sight of that, this simple phrase brings my focus right back.
  • This too. This simple phrase is going to be my next tattoo. It’s engraved on the notebook I carry with me every day. I was introduced to this simple idea by Tara Brach in a retreat talk several years ago that a therapist had me listen to in a session but you can read all about it here in her amazing work on mindfulness. My interpretation of this is that whatever I am feeling—good, bad, joyful, difficult—is what it is. It’s not for me to judge, just to be aware of and sit through. So when I am going through something and I find it hard to breathe and my anxiety kicks in, I try to gently bring my awareness to what it is I’m feeling and I think, “This too.” This too is something I am experiencing and it is temporary and it will be gone. It is part of my journey.
  •  No mud, no lotus. This quote, which I use so often now my kids even say, comes from the book by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Without mud, the beautiful lotus flower cannot reach its full blooming potential. Without transforming the suffering and pain in our lives, we fail to see the depth of our own beauty and resilience. We grow through what we go through.
  • I am enough. I believe these may be the most powerful three words in the English language. I hear you say you feel like he makes you feel like you have no voice. But Lala, hear me: you are enough. His support in your recovery would be amazing. It would be helpful and would strengthen your relationship, I’m sure. But Sister, you are enough all on your own. Your voice, your needs, your recovery—they are all enough. You are enough.

You say this is not your first rodeo. I’m choosing to believe that just means you are a more experienced cowgirl this time. You hold on for that ride, Lala. You’ve got a whole crowd of us in the stands cheering for you too.  You are not alone.

Yeehaw, mama. You’ve got this.

Sincerely, Nicole

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Lala, well done for your determination in the face of such difficulties! you are, I think, already demonstrating the strength of character that will get you through this!

    some great suggestions from Nicole. I particularly like “The only way out is through.”, a great reminder that hiding from the problem isn’t going to solve it, and that we have to face the things that need to be dealt with if we are to deal with them.

    Good luck on your journey Lala, Sober Mommies has your back!

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