The Special Challenges of Mothers in Addiction Recovery

By The Valor Team
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at 1:12 pm in
mother holding toddler at face painting event

Recovering from an addiction is tough. When you are responsible for the care of your children, it certainly adds to the challenge. Often for mothers, there are two choices—the alcohol and/or drugs, or the kids. Mothers who choose the kids need to do whatever it takes to maintain their sobriety and thrive in life.

Mothers who have attained continual sobriety are doing these things:

Building a Strong Support System
Building a supportive community with other moms who are healing from drug abuse and alcohol addiction is an important component to building a solid support system. Only another mom can understand the challenges of being a sober mother.

Moms with long-standing sobriety from alcohol and drug addiction have built this strong foundation by learning to give and receive help. People suffering from drug abuse and alcohol addiction don't come into recovery feeling great about themselves. Unresolved shame is a significant issue for moms suffering from substance abuse. Mothers think they should have everything together and are afraid of letting others know their insecurities and failures.

Other moms in long-standing sobriety can set the example of how to ask for help, how to be vulnerable and share hidden secrets of shame. Socializing with other moms on the same path creates long-lasting friendships, and moms never have to feel or be alone.

Letting Go of Anger and Resentment
Resentment is the number one killer of most alcoholics and drug addicts. Clinging to bitterness holds us hostage and keeps us stuck in the victim mode. We drink the poison and expect the person we are angry at to die. There is a high rate of relapse when someone is in this place.

Letting go of resentment and learning healthy ways to deal with anger is a critical part of healing from addiction. Moms with long-term recovery have learned how to process anger constructively. They don't blame others or play the victim. They've found their voice and learned how to be assertive without being aggressive.

Taking the Time for a Daily Meditation or Spiritual Practice
Spirituality means many different things to different people. Here are some ways to develop a spiritual practice.             
-    Unplug from the world and take time for reflection (See Mindful Practices in Recovery)
-    Spend time enjoying nature
-    Meditate
-    Pray
-    Sing and dance
-    Volunteer
-    Join a spiritual community
-    Read inspirational literature
-    Do things you enjoy and fully immerse yourself in the activity

Taking Care of Themselves
A crucial part of healing for moms is to learn to take care of themselves. The moms with life-long sobriety have discovered ways to slow down, take time for themselves, and cut their never-ending 'to do' list.

Allowing themselves to take a nap when exhausted, exercise, spend time with a friend or family members, or do favorite things that bring joy, all without feeling guilty. They have learned to treat themselves with respect, compassion and self-love.

Never Drinking or Taking Drugs - No Matter What
Life throws us many curve balls. We suffer from heartache, divorce, mental health issues, and chronic pain. Many are also recovering from trauma, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
All of these can be triggers for relapse. However, people with long-term sobriety know the key to success is, DON'T PICK UP A DRINK OR A DRUG, NO MATTER WHAT. They hang on, and reach out for help, relying on the strong support system they have built of people who understand and will be there at these crucial times.