As an addict, I must learn to deal with my emotions in healthier ways. The emotional struggle of the day is guilt. I should feel happy and complete sitting here, feeding my six-month-old breakfast; watching her play between bites – all gooey from the banana bites that haven’t quite made it into her mouth. This moment should fill me with joy, and yet I can’t shake an overwhelming feeling of guilt.
I also have a handsome, fun-loving, four-year-old. Today he too is enjoying our day together, eating dry cereal and running to see what his sister and I are up to every few minutes. He is so happy.
I should just be enjoying this beautiful spring morning at home with my babies, but I cannot.
I see their happy faces, and I know in my heart I am a good mother today. My children are healthy and beautiful, and a huge part of my recovery. But the guilt is always there.
When my son was my daughter’s age, my attention was split between him and my addiction. My addiction consumed nearly the entire day. If I wasn’t chasing, I was pill sick. If I wasn’t pill sick, I was feeling “good.” It was only then, after I got my “fix,” that I could parent properly. Only then did I have the energy and ability to focus on and enjoy little moments like gooey banana faces.
He was denied my full attention for so long. I was there and he had all he needed, but not much more. So, when I look back and remember those little moments—the ones he will never remember—those moments I more or less sucked at, I feel guilty.
I feel guilty because my addiction took the enjoyment out of parenting my first child.
I feel guilty because I feel like even though I have it together, it took too long for me to get to this place. I feel guilty for taking the time to enjoy my youngest child, and give her the attention I couldn’t give my son. No matter how much I take the time to savor every single delicious moment with my two amazing gifts from God, I can never get back those early days of my son’s life.
He will never remember our life during my active addiction, but I will never forget. Most days I’m happy with my life and recovery, but on days like today I feel sad.
In recovery, I have learned to deal and cope with these emotions. Even as I sit here wallowing in guilt, thinking of the bad parenting choices I made during my active addiction, I feel a glimmer of happiness because today I can enjoy this time with my kids.
Today I can be here with and for them in every way. When I think of how lucky I truly am, my guilt fades into the background and I remember—I cannot change the past, but I can offer one hell of a future.
I am able to be a good mom today, and make wonderful new memories.
Just for today, I can push my guilt aside and enjoy the little things. Just for today, I am going to be the best mother I can be for both of my babies. Just for today, guilt will not consume me. I control my emotions, not the other way around!
Because these happy, healthy babies need a healthy, happy mommy.
This post was submitted by Carla.