Project THANK YOU
This year I launched the second annual Christmas Wish Project with my fingers crossed. There are many worthy causes demanding our attention and funding, and I worried that the project may not be received as well as it was last year.
I was so wrong.
We all know Christmas isn’t about presents. It’s not about how many toys are under the tree. Personally, I believe it’s about celebrating family and somewhat watching someone you love smile that warm, someone loves/gets me smile after opening a gift they really wanted; even if it’s a macaroni necklace covered in glitter.
When I started the project last year, I was so nervous. This year was not different. The week the post goes out, I hit Publish with sweaty palms, hoping that we will fulfill the promise I have made to our mom. I hope that she won’t stress as much as I am, and that she’ll believe me when I tell her that it’s okay to trust people. That’s not an easy thing to do; especially when you’ve been seen as a less than stellar mother because of who you were in active addiction.
I understand those fears.
I remember feeling like I was never going to make up for all that I’d said and done and understanding that no one would ever forgive me. I didn’t feel worthy of forgiveness or a new life. I was so beaten down. I am forever grateful for the women who helped me to believe again; first in them and then in myself.
I think my favorite part of this project is getting to step inside the lives of our moms for a spell during all the phases and meetings. I love that when I first make the call, it is assumed that I’m joking. Then come tears of joy and gratitude, followed by the fear that it won’t pan out – that no one will care or believe they are worth this gift. My first year of sobriety was much like that, too. I wasn’t sure I’d make it — that I’d be able to stay sober given all the feelings of guilt and shame that popped up when I stopped medicating them with alcohol.
People showed up when I need them to, and assured me that it was going to be okay. I would be taken care of. Faith was slowly, but surely restored.
Maybe I was worth it. Maybe people do care.
The honor of being trusted in this process is a really big deal, and I take it very seriously. I have not always been the girl who shows up, and I still struggle some days with my depression. I know what it’s like to feel it safer to hide out in my house and avoid the world rather than expose my broken parts and ask for help.
Because of your help and generosity, Sober Mommies was able to provide Cassie and her family with not only everything on their list, but much more. She was able to experience those smiles and let her kids know that she’s been listening.
Here is a message I received from Cassie.
“I want to thank everyone that donated and shared the Christmas wish for my children and me to have a beautiful Christmas. My 4 children, Richie, Erin, Shannon, and Mackenzie deserve so much, and it is because of all of you amazing people that my children could wake up on Christmas morning to all the awesome things they asked for. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.
My children and I have been through a lot over the past few years and have fought super hard to be together again, and being a single parent trying to go to school so that I can give my children a better life is really hard! My kids have been through so much and are some of the strongest people I know, and because of the kind hearts and loving souls of all you wonderful people in and outside of sober mommies me and my children were able to have the most amazing Christmas ever! I am so truly blessed & beyond grateful for the outpouring of love and compassion for me and my family! Thank you all so much from the bottom of our hearts. You made Christmas so special this year and one that we will never forget! Cassie”
Thank you for making this possible. Every one of you who shared this post and helped us spread the word, or donated so generously made this a huge success, helped restore some of Cassi’s faith.
Please tell us what the holidays mean to you! Which holidays do you celebrate? Do you find them as stressful as I do even in recovery? What do you do to combat any anxiety you might experience?
Julie Maida has been in abstinence-based recovery since May 2, 2000. She is fiercely determined to advocate for and connect ALL women with the appropriate support and resources necessary to achieve their personal recovery goals. She writes about mothering with mental illness at juliemaida.me.