A mother’s bond with their children is unlike any other bond. Being a mother takes a lot of energy, patience, and consistency. If you are a mother, you understand the pressure that comes with raising a child. If you are married, you might also feel like the glue that keeps the family together.
The pressure that comes with trying to be a great mother and wife is not only taxing on your physical and mental health, but also frustrating and disheartening when those around you take your efforts for granted. Perhaps you have turned to substance abuse and are self-medicating with alcohol, or maybe you have become dependent on prescription drugs.
Your addiction has taken over and become the number-one priority in your life — you rely on it to get through the day. You likely feel like a terrible mother because you have allowed yourself to get into this situation. However, you are not alone and there is help for mothers who struggle with addiction. You can get back your sobriety and be the mother you want to be.
Don’t Let Guilt or Shame Hold You Back
Many mothers feel extreme guilt about their addiction. They identify addiction with being a bad person and a bad mother. Many relentlessly view themselves as incapable, a failure, a lost cause. However, negative thoughts encourage negative behavior.
If you continue to feel like a horrible person or a helpless victim, this will ultimately bring you closer to your addiction. While your feelings are real, you must remember that you are not a bad person or a bad mother. You are a sick person who needs help to get back on track. Acknowledge your guilt head-on, accept what has happened, and choose recovery.
Seek Support From Other Mothers
You might find it difficult to ask for help, but a strong support network is essential to recovery. Sometimes asking for help is required to get the support you need. The toll that substance abuse takes on a family can be hard to recover from. You might feel judged by others who do not understand what you are dealing with, which is why seeking programs and meetings with other mothers is a good step to take.
Mothers who are going through the same situation often understand exactly how you feel. When you find a support group of moms in recovery, you can open up and share your feelings, talk about your vulnerabilities and insecurities, and not feel judged. This network will create lasting friendships that you can call upon when you need them.
Let Go of Anger and Resentment
It’s normal in recovery to experience surges of negative emotions like regret, resentment, and anger. You must first understand that you have chosen recovery, and therefore you are no longer a victim of your addiction. Learning how to respond and not react in certain situations are key to helping you beat your addiction. Likewise, finding ways to channel your emotions to be assertive instead of aggressive will also help redirect negative energy.
Activities such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and even deep breathing can help balance and regulate the frequency of emotional spikes. Most importantly, do whatever you can to let go of any resentment you have toward yourself or your substance abuse. We can’t change the past — all we can do is work to make a better future.
Make Time for Yourself
While being a mother is a full-time job, you need to remember to take time for yourself. Creating a schedule that allows you time each day to focus on yourself will not only serve your recovery but help you understand and appreciate your accomplishments.
Keeping a journal is a great way to help guide your thoughts and behaviors, to be in the moment, and to reflect rationally. The therapy of writing can also serve as a way to track your progress and offer you clues or solutions to any potential problems that arise from your current pattern of thinking.
Much like writing, taking time to meditate can offer you the same kind of reflection. Meditating detaches you from trivial thoughts and allows you to check-in with yourself on a deep emotional level. These kinds of practices can help bring peace back into your life, especially when family responsibilities have you feeling overwhelmed.
Be a Good Example
Your journey, through the bad times and now the better times, began because you had one goal — to be the best mother you can be. You might have made some mistakes early on, but you have learned from them. You have grown stronger and you are a better mother today. Let your perseverance teach your children about the power of sobriety.
Focus on the positives that have come from this and be a good example for your children, instead of someone who never got past their resentment of the past. The past is gone, and there’s a beautiful future waiting for you.
As mothers, caring for your children will always come first, but your recovery needs attention as well. Be open and honest with your children about how important recovery is for you, and make arrangements so you can continue attending meetings and allow time for yourself. If you are having a hard time managing your recovery along with motherhood and are reverting to old habits, it’s time to reach out for help. True Recovery offers 24/7 care and we are sensitive to the unique needs of mothers struggling with addiction. We will surround you with the support you need from others who understand what you are going through. Let us take care of you, so you can take care of the ones you love. To learn more, call us at (866)-399-6528.