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“Just One More Time”

Sober Mommies Just One More TimeWe have a bedtime routine in our house that we rarely stray from. It involves me rocking our four year old son while singing a string of three songs; songs my mother sang to me when I was young.

Rarely has there been an evening in four years that I could not be found in a rocking chair with my little man at 7:45.

Every night, I sing those three songs to him as we rock in our favorite chair, then I sing them again once he’s comfy in his bed. Every now and then, if he’s not fully asleep, I’ll hear from under his blanket, “Just one more time?” And I’ll sing them again.

While I sit there stroking his hair and singing our songs, just one more time, my heart breaks for a little girl I used to know.

This ritual is not a new one.

It started with my daughter when she was a baby. As she got older, she too would ask me to sing, “just one more time.” Unfortunately, there were very few nights that I stayed to sing. If I did, I’m sure it was with agitation because it was cutting into “MY time.”

My daughter has never seen me drink. I wish this was because I was sober when she was born, but it is not. She was born four years before I sobered up.

It’s because I was “out.”

When I drank, I justified “my time” with just about anything. This time was devoted to drinking. I got sober at 22, so most of my alcoholic years fell below legal. Luckily, I was crafty.

If you had asked me why I was drinking so much on any given night, I would have told you the truth. It had been a rough day… my car had broken down… my father was a total asshole… my mother, a bitch. The list was endless…and true. I believed that I drank for all of these reasons.

Today I know that I drank because I liked the feeling produced by alcohol. I loved being drunk and forgetting that I hated myself, even for just a few hours.

I’d like to tell you that “MY time” became less necessary the second I got sober. It did not. I simply adapted this time to suit my need for substitutes. Within the first five years of my sobriety, there were many nights that I couldn’t stay for even “just one more time.” Perhaps there was a man waiting for me in the living room, or by the phone, or maybe I couldn’t wait one second longer to go smoke a cigarette. Whatever the reason, there was always something more important that couldn’t wait.

By the time I took action to change my behavior and the woman I was, my daughter had long outgrown the desire to have me sing her to sleep. I can never make up for that time with her, and she will never fully understand how much it kills me.

When I sit with my son and sing those three songs “just one more time,” I try hard to forgive myself for all the time I robbed from my daughter. I try to believe that I did the best I could with the tools that I had then. I try to be as gentle and compassionate as I would be of someone else. I know that I was sick and selfish, and didn’t know it then; I didn’t understand. If I could go back and give her that time, I would. I have made amends to my daughter, and although she voiced the words “I forgive you,” I can’t imagine how she could.

So, every night I sing to my son with that memory, and thank God I am not that woman anymore.

These are the actions that keep me sober;  NOT the morbid reflection of the mother I used to be, or wish I had been, but rather gratitude for the mother I get to be for all of my children today.

Hearing, “just one more time” no longer causes anxiety and agitation. I hope to hear them every night; because even if I have other things to do, there’s no place I’d rather be.

 

photo credit: atelier de betty via photopin

11 Comments on ““Just One More Time”

  1. Absolutely beautiful!! You are an amazing writer and have reminded me what a gift the monotony of motherhood is. I get to be here and be present with them and show then patience and love. Thank you so much…I love you

  2. I wasn’t prepared for all the lessons motherhood had to teach me. I read this post – ashamed that some nights I rush my daughter to bed so I can sip my wine and go to sleep a little numb. It’s not everynight, so sometimes I think it’s ok. But it’s not. I’m not setting a good example. Being a single mom I am stressed to do every little thing, there is no support, no break and I always let the stress of my life consume me and I don’t ever deal with it well. I don’t crave alcohol but I do look for it for comfort and I know I’m headed down a scary road. Thank you for sharing your story…we live and we learn as parents, and I think it’s how we become better women and mothers.

    • Alexandra,

      You are doing the best you can. I’m so glad that you feel safe sharing honestly here. Keep doing that. Being a mom is stressful, you’re SO right, but there is support. We support you. I support you. You are not alone anymore, unless you shut us out. I hope you will continue to share with us, and let us comfort you. Please be gentle with yourself. You are an amazing woman and mother and your daughter is SO lucky to have you!! XO

  3. Oh how this hits home. My older 3 have seen me and at my worst . My 3 year old I missed the first year of her life in and out of hospitals and rehab only worried about myself . I was sober with my now youngest and the amount of guilt I feel at times when I watch my youngest do something and think wow I dont rember when my 3 year old did these things. I am so greatful for sobermommies and woman like you.

  4. Oh wow. Lots of tears of identification here. My daughter was 22 when I sobered up. Her little brother was 2 1/2. My youngest was born when I had almost 1 year of sobriety. My younger boys will never have to remember me drunk if I continue to recover. I also made amends to my daughter, and continue with living amends. We have healed so much, and will continue that process. We are closer than ever and trust has been reestablished. But my gosh, the memories.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience here. xo

  5. Thank you for sharing, My daughter is 9 and my son is 2, and I often feel guilty that I wasn’t there/don’t remember a lot of her childhood. I was focused on me, my relationships, and my drink. I’m just beginning my journey to sobriety with plans to be a better, more present mother for them both. I’m grateful for the second chance, but I still ache at the thought of so much wasted time with my daughter.

  6. So happy I found this site. I will have 3months sober in a few days. I have a 13 yr old daughter and she has seen me at my worst. The guilt I feel about the precious time that I have robbed her of and embarrassment I have caused her is tremendous. I am determined to stay sober and go to any lengths for myself and my daughter so she can have a sober mom and we can have good memories going forward. Thank you for sharing and helping me to realize I am not alone

  7. I put off reading this because the second I saw it I knew I was going to end up a blubbering mess of emotion. But I’m glad I made myself grow the balls to read it. I need a reminder sometimes of the importance of cherishing the little things and setting my priorities. <3

  8. Wow very powerful and I think a lot of us can relate to this.Thank you!!!!

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