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I Wasn’t A Good Mother

Sober Mommies I Wasn't A Good Mother

My name is Ginny and I have been sober for two years.

I have five daughters ranging in age from 13 years to 16 months: Lexi, Celia, Lilli, Peiton and Adi. I stayed sober throughout each of my pregnancies; that never seemed hard to me.

Getting sober has probably been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. However, raising five kids in sobriety has not been easy either. When I went to rehab, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “How can my girls manage without me? I have to be home with them! I can’t leave!” I soon found out that was far from the truth. I wasn’t doing my kids, let alone myself, any good by staying home and continuing to drink. As I look back now, I wonder how I ever thought I was doing a good job at managing my life and kids. The reality was the opposite. I wasn’t doing a good job at all.

The first time I got sober, I was clean for 10 months. I spent the first year of Peiton’s life in a tailspin. If I wasn’t in the hospital, I was in rehab. I was even in jail once. In the end, I did it.

I got sober.

The first year was really rough. Not only did I have to try fixing myself, but I had to fix my relationship with my kids. That was a big task for me. Each of them had different thoughts and feelings on the situation.

My oldest, Lexi, is my big helper. She has always been very protective and encouraging. The first time we sat down and really talked about what happened, I expected her to be angry and distant. Instead, she just looked at me and said, “Mom, its ok. You’re getting better and that’s what matters!” Two years later, she still feels that way. She even started bringing her friends to the house again. One of her friends even spends every weekend with us. When Lexi told me she talked to her about me being a recovering alcoholic, I was shocked. I asked her why she decided to tell her that and her response made my jaw drop.

“I’m proud of you. It’s who you are!”

Celia is my second child. She and I have never had an in depth conversation about my sobriety or my drinking. I have found that she likes to please others and pretend things didn’t happen. She has developed severe anxiety, but with extra one-on-one time, and lots of reassuring, she does just fine.

Lilli, my middle child, is the angriest of them all. When she gets upset with me, she tends to remind me of all the things I did, said, and forgot while I was drinking. She has no problem expressing how much she hates me when she’s angry. She refuses to spend the night at someone else’s house due to fear that I won’t be here when she returns. She tells me she hates me and she is still angry with me (rightfully so), but I know she loves me.

Peiton and Adi are still toddlers and I am grateful that they have no idea what our family went through as a result of my drinking and subsequent sobriety. When they’re old enough to understand, I will tell them that I am a recovering alcoholic. I don’t believe in hiding things from my kids.

My life feels chaotic quite often, which makes staying sober difficult. I don’t have an available babysitter to give me a break and my kids take up all my time. I had to give up attending meetings because I haven’t been able to find one that I can take my younger girls to. I don’t think having a toddler running and screaming in the meeting would be helpful to anyone!

I have been able to find support online that has helped to get me through the rough days. I also have a wonderful therapist that has helped me get through my first two years of sobriety. Still, I know life is not perfect. I have my bad days – sometimes I just want to scream and cry (and sometimes I do). I’ve learned to reach out for help when I have an urge to give up. There isn’t much ME time in my life, but I always make sure to find time for my recovery, even if it means checking in online at midnight.

As a mother, the guilt I carry with me because of the things I did, the things I missed, and the damage I may have caused my girls is immeasurable. They are my life. Everything I do today revolves around them and what they need. My girls are involved in sports in addition to school. I do my best to keep them busy because I believe that busy hands have no time for trouble. With five kids at different stages of development, it gets hard some days. The guilt doesn’t ever go away. I think I’ll always feel horrible about the things I did, but I can’t live in the past anymore.

Today I’m sober.

Today my kids are happy.

Today is where I have to stay.


photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

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  1. “Today is where I have to stay.”

    Such a profound statement, and so true. Thank you for sharing your story. I think your honesty with your children is beautiful. I’ve technically been sober for my 3yo son’s whole life, but I didn’t really start recovering from my compulsive behaviors until he was almost 2. When he’s ready, I’ll tell him about my alcoholism. Good luck on your journey! I saw this quote on Momastery and it really spoke to me:

    “Just do the next right thing, one thing at a time. That’ll take you all the way home.”

  2. i know where you are coming from Ginny…i was married to heavy drinker and i didnt start drinking until i was 21 and had 2 young children..i dont keep secrets from my children either..the two oldest ones now 28 and 26 and my youngest is 20..didnt have an easy life with me once i became an alcoholic..and i carry the guilt still to this day for the way i was and the paths that my children has taken at some point in time…i have been sober for 8 yrs now..and it wasnt that hard for me cause i had a very supportive new husband at the time…i also believe that my children are still angry with me at time because of their up bringing …some of them show it by throwing it in my face when they get mad..although it hurts deeply..i keep putting one foot a head of the other..and i just let it roll off my shoulders cause i cant turn back the past i can only live for the present and future..keep up the good work..and stay strong..

    1. That is key isn’t it if we live in our past we get no where. My kids all of them have a right to be angry. My oldest said to me we were talking about a friend she has that is in to more then she should be she said but mon I know what it can do . Boy smack me in the face she does I wish she didnt I really wish had a rewind button. I dont like to think im a bad person ive done awful things but im me good bad and awful . Im just glad I got a second third and fourth chance.

  3. Hi I just loved your story, I’m a mom of 3….17, 5 and 4. I’ve been struggling with addiction for the past 14 years. I too wasn’t a very good role model for my oldest daughter, the things I’ve done are unforgivable. I pray for forgiveness on the daily, here I am again treading the road to recovery still craving so bad, feel like giving up more often them not. Your story was inspirational! I to don’t get to many meetings cause of my children. But I know it’s what will help me, don’t know why I fight it so much! Thanks for your story made me feel like I wasn’t alone today

    1. Your not alone non of us our !!

  4. Beautiful piece, Ginny. It takes so much courage to say “I wasn’t a good mother” since as women, that’s exactly what we are “supposed” to do. But you for sure nailed it with WAS, and not by saying I AM NOT, because today you are a mother & woman to be proud of. I commend you

  5. Oh wow guys im so glad that you could relate !! Its not an easy road im a mom , and a recovering alcoholic . Those two things help make me me. Everyday isn’t perfect and it never will be . My drinking affected my girls in more ways then I knew when I was drinking and even now sober my lilli just said the other day why are there wine and liquor stores everywhere I dont like alcohol. This breaks my heart everytime shes stinking 7 she shouldnt think Bout this stuff . A lady a 12-step program told me one time kids are the most forgiving people they just want you. Now as a mother forgiving myself im not sure im ready to do. Its not easy getting sober and its not easy raising any amount of kids . My big hope is my kids will be better for the wear that even though they’ve been through things ..bad things that they took the good that can be learned from the situation. I think all of you women rock!! By the way you guys made me cry I always fear that look of really shes a mom and a recovering alcoholicwell yup I am but today im sober and thats what matters

  6. And one more thing before I forget I didnt get through any of this alone I have some awsomefamily and I had an awsome lady who was my council or through most of this. You cant get sober alone.

  7. I too was not a good mother.

    I drank until my daughters were 15 and 22 years old. They have seen me on life-support in hospitals & locked up in institutions; the only thing left for me while I was drinking was death and sometimes I welcomed the idea. My loving and forgiving daughters have seen me at my darkest moments of self-loathing and self-destruction. I was not “around” for many of their milestones and have let them down more than I care to admit.

    While doing my 4th step, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”, my sponsor told me to make sure I added myself to the Resentment List of ALL PEOPLE, places, things, institutions, ideas or principles with whom I was angry, resentful, felt hurt or threatened by. Surely, I was angry, resentful, hurt and threatened by myself and my addiction to alcohol; why wouldn’t I be? I allowed it to destroy my life and those around me.

    It wasn’t until I did my 8th step “Made a list of all person we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all” and my 9th step “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others” that I was able to move forward. In other words, I had to make amends to myself for all the horrible & heinous things I had done while I was drinking. I had to forgive myself for not being the Mother I had always wanted to be and swore that I would never become.

    In order for me to be the best Mother I can be today, I had to let go of my past actions and strive daily to be the best woman and mother that my higher power (GOD) meant for me to be. Today, my children are proud, elated and encouraged by the growth I have made in a 12-step program. I am diligent in my recovery; I continue to work with my sponsor and therapist, I attend meetings, support groups for newcomers and am extremely active in sober activities. I carry the message of courage, strength and hope. I have made friendships for life that have compelled by comparison to outside friendships. Today, I do not regret the past nor do I wish to shut the door on it; for it has made me who I am today. For that, I am grateful! Best wishes to you and yours. The best is yet to come!

  8. Ginny I am proud of you. I have not had the problem you have but I have been around other who have. I know what a hard fight you are going through. Keep up the good work and God Bless you and your kids.
    By the way. I am your second cousin. Your moms cousin. Your grandmother Nancy and my mom were sisters. Now knowing that we are family let me tell you the I believe drinking is in our genes. It just hits some of us and other it doesn’t.
    You have a great life ahead of you. Stay sober.

  9. Good for you, Ginny!
    I have recently gotten serious about getting sober, but only on day 2. I know I have to do it this time, but scared to death I will fall back into it…
    I have two kids and scared to death that my drinking has and continues to damage them. So much so that my 8 year old now monitors how much I drink and tells me ok, mommy…that’s your last glass. I haven’t gotten in any serious trouble and won’t drink unless their dad is home .. Thank god, but I feel like I’ve already fucked them up. My oldest keeps to herself more n very pleasing…she wouldn’t bring up my drunkeness. I’ve apologized n even cried because I was drunk n felt like I wasn’t being responsible n she said…it’s ok mommy, it’s ok, you’re a good mom.
    I hope to do it this time and plan to find strength through blogging and reading posts like yours. Thank u!!

  10. Author

    🙂 thats awsome that youve got two days , those first couple days weeks months hell year can be so rough , but there doable , you can do it , and reaching out talking is a huge step , kids are more resilent and forgiving that just want love , i was so afraid id scared my kids for life but you know what we came out on top , my addiction did and does effect them but its not all bad we are stronger family , im a more aware mom , there stronger kids , keep reaching out keep talking im so glad you found us

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