This Could Be The Year
I spent my very first sober holidays away from my daughter. It broke my heart into a million pieces and made me feel like a terrible mother.
I remember having a fit when the counselor at my program told me I would not be allowed to go home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s. She said the holidays were a time they held the reigns a little tighter because of the high relapse rate. They had let women go in the past who never returned.
I understood, in my head, that my sobriety had to come first, but it still sucked beyond words and made my heart hurt.
I had been absent for so long. Even though I had been physically present for some, I was often emotionally absent or mentally somewhere else. Once I got sober, I actually wanted to be there and I couldn’t that year.
It is because I spent those first holidays away from my daughter, that I have been able to be present for the last eighteen. Because I took the time away to work on myself and build my sober foundation, I have had the opportunity to also build beautiful sober memories with her. It wasn’t easy to accept then because I couldn’t see the future or understand how valuable that first year would turn out to be.
If you are in treatment this year, away from your children, I hope you will allow my experience to give you hope.
I hope you’ll give yourself a chance to experience all the incredible things to come. I hope you will reach out to us and let us assure you that you are not alone; that’s it’s okay to feel sad or angry or whatever you’re feeling. I hope you will share these feelings with us, and let us share our experiences with you.
Regardless of what your head or heart may be screaming, you don’t have to drink and/or use over the feelings or situations you may face this new year…if you don’t want to.
We will love you through whatever you’re going through…without judgment. Even if you cannot imagine getting through this holiday without a drink in your hand or a drug in your system, we are here to support you wherever you’re at.
There are no conditions for membership in the Sober Mommies community.
Whether you’ve been sober/clean for less than a minute or decades, we look forward to connecting with you this year.
We are here to listen to you, and make sure you know that you never have to be alone with your addiction and/or recovery ever again. We will tell you that we love and understand you. We will ask that you be gentle with yourself. We will point out the positive actions you are taking for yourself and family when it seems you can’t give yourself that credit. We will celebrate you…all of you, even the parts you may think are completely unlovable. We will love you unconditionally and help you any way we can…if you let us.
I hope you will let us.
If you are in need of support in your area, please feel free to visit our resources page to find an organization (12-step or non-12-step) to help. If you do not find what you’re looking for or have other suggestions for us, please contact us via email or on our Facebook Page.
On behalf of the Sober Mommies family, I want to wish you a very happy new year!!
Julie Maida lives in Massachusetts with her amazing husband and three children. She has been in abstinence-based recovery since May 2, 2000.
Julie is eternally grateful for all the gifts of recovery and 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.