I am choosing to share my story of being a mother with a severe substance use disorder. For many years, drinking was the biggest part of my life. I wouldn't have said that when I was still in active addiction. I thought I was being a decent mom because I didn't neglect or abuse my child. I wasn't. When my son was around 8-9 he started to realize that I had a problem with drinking. My son saw many things before I finally decided to get sober when he was 13. I had put my entire family through hell for years and everyone had more or less given up on me, and rightfully so. My son, though, kept believing that I could and would get sober.
I was in treatment for five months. Being away from him was the most heartbreaking thing I had ever experienced. He and my husband visited me every Sunday for months. My son, a jeans/basketball shorts only kind of guy, wore khakis every Sunday when he came to see me. When I asked him about it, he said he wanted to look his best for me because I was doing my best for him.
Being his mother saved my life. I didn't care enough about myself to get sober for me but somewhere in my alcoholic brain I knew that I couldn't just give up for his sake. He deserved better.
I am so happy to say that I am now 5 years and 5 months sober. In sobriety, I have celebrated him graduating from high school, and just yesterday, from community college. He is transferring in the fall to finish his education at East Carolina University. Our family has healed because my son loved me enough to make me try one more time to get sober.
Two years ago, I also lost my own sweet mother. I consider it the best gift of my life, besides my child, that I was sober and present for her illness and her death. I know that even in her Alzheimer's fog, she was so proud of me.
I love the life I have today. I get to give back to the SUD community today by helping others find their path to recovery. It is only possible through God and the faith of a sweet young boy.