After a much needed short hiatus, I am returning to review and comment on yet another book. This time we are looking at Rosemary O’Connor’s book called A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery: Taking Care of Yourself to Take Care of Your Kids. Nicky (Editor-In-Chief of iloverecovery.com) made me aware of this book and my reading partner and I have decided to use it as our next project.
I’m excited to see how we each react to Rosemary’s discussions. She covers many topics, from guilt associated with trying to make up for how we did or didn’t raise our children while still using and trying to be a supermom in recovery, to trying to live and have fun as a Mom in recovery, including dating, love and co-dependence, to very weighty issues such as spirituality, forgiveness and self-care.
In each section, Rosemary talks a bit about her story and how she learned to live one day at a time as both a Mom and a woman in recovery. In each of her topics, she also offers useful tools to help the reader focus on finding her way to be present for her family and also for herself.
As was the case for the last book I reviewed, I will take the discussions my reading partner and I have had, along with the author’s text, and my own story of being a mother both in addiction and in recovery, and share my experience, strength and hope with those of you who find it useful.
Rosemary starts her book with a brief description of hitting her bottom, having been out all night, leaving her kids with an eleven year old babysitter (she would only be gone a couple of hours she assured her) and coming home after a particularly colorful debauch, to find her children, her babysitter, her babysitter’s mother and her estranged husband sitting in the living room.
It was not a particularly pleasant moment. Even after this heart-wrenching experience and with the possibility of losing custody of her kids in the back of her mind, she still questioned if she was really an alcoholic. Whether she could come to terms with that or not, she realized that this was not the type of mother she had intended to be.
My first reaction is to think that I was not that bad. After all, I had never neglected my kids like that. Then I put on the brakes in my brain – full stop. Exactly how does neglect of my kids span a spectrum? Is it okay to be a little bit neglectful? Well, I was always at home with my kids when I drank. What if I drink myself to a stupor while in the house? What if I’m passed out on the basement stairs and can’t hear them? What if something happens like a fire or a piece of furniture falls onto someone or someone (other than me) falls down a flight of stairs? Am I any better than she was – in the house but still so sotted that I am useless to be of any assistance in a crisis?
Rosemary provides us with some valuable suggested tools to help us in this early stage…
- Take the first step…admit we have a problem. This is a great time to start a journal. Write down your own bottom experience. Write about the last 10 times you drank to excess (Hint…the fact that you have 10 episodes should be an indication that something is not quite right).
- Ask for help…we don’t have to do recovery alone. Whether you seek out a 12 step program, therapy, a clergy person, a trusted friend…it is much easier to face our fears when someone has our back.
- If you still think you are okay on your own, get help for the whole family as a group. Addiction is a family disease and it affects everyone not just the addict. Even if you think you can do this on your own, don’t continue to neglect your kids in recovery.
Next week’s topic will be guilt, and if we read that far, exhaustion
Rosemary O’Connor founded ROC Recovery Services, which provides recovery coaching, life coaching, consulting, and treatment placement. Rosemary has a B.A. in psychology, is a Certified Professional Coach, a Certified Addiction Recovery Coach, published many articles on addiction recovery, appeared on TV and numerous radio shows.
In 2015, Hazelden Publishing released her new book, A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery
Read a chapter of “A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery” on dating here