My name is Shanna.
I have been sober since September 27th, 2012 and am relatively new to sobriety. I would love to tell you that recovery has given me back all that I “lost” throughout my drinking, but that is not the case. What sobriety has given me, is the ability to be honest with myself about the fact that I didn’t really lose anything; I gave it away.
When I was 23 years old, I went to rehab for the first time. I did not wake up one day and realize that I needed help. No, it was because I had half-heartedly attempted suicide with an almost empty bottle of rum at my side, while my five-year-old twins slept down the hall. My boys were my last thought as I sat there in my drunken misery, slicing away at my wrists, and as the ambulance drove me away.
Strangers awakened my sons, and my ex-husband was called to come and get them. This would be the last time, for a long while, that my boys would be in my custody.
In an attempt to get them back, I went to rehab. When I got out, there was no happy reunion; no second chance to make things right. My ex decided that I would not be allowed to hurt our boys anymore. I raged against him, begged him to not “take my boys from me,” but he was firm and relentless in his determination to protect our boys.
I didn’t fight for them. Instead, I started drinking again.
If I couldn’t have my boys back, there was no reason to be sober. The pain was incredible. I missed my boys so much, but drinking made it tolerable. I spent years drunk, angry, bitter, and hateful; resenting the hell out my ex-husband for “taking” them from me. I blamed him for my miserable empty existence, my alcoholism, my loneliness, the despair. It was his fault that I had “lost” my boys. As long as that was true, it didn’t have to be mine. I spent those years lost in the fantasy that if I’d only gotten them back, I wouldn’t be wasting my life. I was not responsible for anything.
As a mother, it is my job to protect my children. I had not only left them confused, defenseless and scared, I LEFT THEM. I had then placed the blame for my actions and behavior at the feet of the one person that had put them first and protected them.
It didn’t take me long in my sobriety to realize that I had given my boys the greatest gift a mother struggling with active alcoholism could have. And I left them in the safe, loving, secure home in which they have been raised. Today, that is how I see the miracle in this situation.
It is because of my drinking, and my choices, that I missed out on so much of my boys’ lives. It was thanks to an incredible father that they were given a life that they deserve to have. Do I wish things could have been different? That I could have been that stable, healthy, selfless parent? Yes. But I wasn’t.
I can’t change the past. I can’t re-write it, and make myself the hero. What I can do is thank their father and my Higher Power for protecting my boys, making sure they are raised with love, and for providing for them what I was incapable of giving.
This brave and powerful post was submitted by Shanna.
Visit her facebook page, Diary of an Alcoholic: A journey of Recovery