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Dealing with Mom Guilt in Recovery

As an addict, I must learn to deal with my emotions in healthier ways. The emotion of struggle today is guilt. I should feel happy and complete as I sit here feeding my six-month-old some bananas and formula for breakfast, watching her play in her Jumperoo between bites. She’s all gooey from the banana bites that didn’t quite make it in her mouth. And yet her happy, smiling face all covered in “naners” makes me feel an overwhelming amount of guilt.

You see, I also have a handsome, fun-loving, four-year-old. Today, he too is enjoying my day off of work. He is eating dry cereal with almond milk and running to see what his sister and I are up to in between his bites. He’s so happy. I should just be enjoying this beautiful spring morning at home with my babies but I can’t.

I see their happy faces. I know in my heart that I am a good mother today. They are happy and healthy and beautiful. They are a huge part of my recovery (nearly two years clean). Yet it wasn’t always this way.

I am fighting a hard battle because while I know I am doing things right this time, for so long I did not. My four-year-old did not get the same love and attention when he was his sister’s age, as my attention was split between my son and my addiction. It consumed me every single day. If I wasn’t chasing, I was pill sick. If I wasn’t pill sick, I was feeling  “good” but it was only after I got my fix that I could parent properly. Only then did I have the energy to enjoy the little moments, including his naner-covered face.

Yes. I was there. Yes, he had all he needed, but very little more. As I look back and remember those little moments that he will never remember, I feel great guilt.

As I look back and remember those little moments that he will never remember, I feel great guilt.

I feel guilty because my addiction took from my enjoyment of parenting my first child. I feel guilty because even though now I have it together, for so long I did not. I feel guilty for taking the time to enjoy my youngest child because even though I take the time to savor every single delicious moment, I can never get back those early days of my young son’s life. I feel like because I am doing more for him now that he was deprived of something then.

He will never remember, never know about our life during my active addiction. But I will. And for that, I feel guilty. In some weird way, I feel like his sister gets more of me then he did.

Most days I am happy with my life and my recovery, but some days, like this day, I feel guilty and sad. I love my life. I love my children. I love my job. I love everything that surrounds my recovery.

But I still have my days of shame and guilt.

As I sit wallowing in my guilt of bad parenting during my addiction, I feel a glimmer of happiness because just for today, I can and do enjoy my time with my kids. I can be here with and for them. As I think of how lucky I am, my guilt fades into the background. With gratefulness, I remember I cannot change the past, but I can offer one hell of a future.

I remember I cannot change the past, but I can offer one hell of a future.

I can make wonderful new memories, that not only I will remember, but that my four-year-old will remember as some of his earliest memories, and that makes me smile. Just for today, I can push my guilt away. Just for today, I am going to be the best mother I can to BOTH of my babies. Just for today, I will push the guilt aside so I can feel happiness in creating these new memories. Just for today. Because these hungry, happy, healthy babies need a healthy, happy, and hungry mommy.

This post was submitted by Carla.

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