Mom Guilt – The Alcoholic Version – And how to turn it around

If I close my eyes I can still feel my twins this small. I can still see them play together. I can feel their little hands pat me on the back when they hug me.
Life moves too fast. We say and hear that all the time. But we dont really stop to realize what we are saying. Life moves TOO fast. It goes along in fast forward mode. You blink, and your kids are taller. You blink again and they’re growing facial hair and they’re taller than you.

Having another baby 12 yrs after my twins has brought up a lot of memories. It’s also brought up a lot of mom guilt.

Soon after I gave birth to the twins I drank. I believe the laughing gas during labor triggered the allergy and obsession because it made me feel stoned and I loved it. Ofcourse I didnt realize this then. Once the babies went to bed for the night I would have some drinks. For awhile it was social and it was considered normal. I functioned just fine! I still got up at night if the babies woke up, I got up in the morning and we went about our day.

However as time went on so did the progression of my alcoholism. A couple drinks turned into a few, turned into a bottle. Being tired in the morning turned into being hungover and grumpy as f*ck. You see, I was unhappy in my relationship and I also had post partum depression. I was 23 with twins and I had untreated mental health issues and alcoholism. Looking back, no wonder I drank. I had zero coping skills. I was impatient, snippy and sometimes I would cry and cry and cry. I felt like the worst mother in the world.

I won’t go into too much detail on the first 7 yrs of their lives, you can read past blog posts for those stories. But I was an active alcoholic for those first 7 yrs. My only true happiness came in a bottle. My priority was to drink. I always made sure we were home by a specific time so I could have enough time in the evening to crack open the wine. It sucks admitting that even today. But it’s the truth. The twins were always taken care of. I worked, paid my bills etc. To the outside world I had it together. But inside, I was dying and it was getting worse and worse and if I had kept going I would have lost my kids and everything I had including my family. Thank god I chose to get sober july 24th 2014.

What has having a baby 12 yrs later, and having been sober 5 yrs taught me?

I now enjoy the little things. The cuddles, even when I need to get chores done, and I wish he would nap on his own, I remind myself that he wont be little forever. In the mornings, I’m tired but I’m sober. I’m grateful to be sober tired than hung over tired. I’m patient with the baby, and I’m not in a rush for his bed time at night because of wine. I put him to bed to simply keep a routine for him. It’s all about the baby and I have no lingering thoughts in the back of my mind of wanting the day or evening to go by quick so I can drink. My baby won’t be a baby very long. The twins are nearly 13 yrs old, taller than me, shaving, and I’m pretty sure I can fit their jeans.

The mom guilt comes in when I realize how impatient and moody I was when the twins were babies compared to how patient and happy I am with their baby brother.

However I MUST remind myself that I was sick back then. I wasnt a bad mom, I was a mom who was unwell. I MUST remind myself that under the circumstances, I did a great job because the boys are extremely well behaved young men. I remind myself that we had plenty of fun days, laughs, cuddles and tickling. We made memories and all the smiles in the pictures are real. The most important thing that I MUST do is remind myself that I got sober and have been sober the last 5+ years of their lives.

I cannot sit in guilt too long or it will take me to dark places. I have to practice positive self talk.

♡I am sober.

♡I am a great mother to all 3 of my sons.

♡I am healthier now

♡I am happier now even on a bad day

♡My 3 sons are happy & healthy.

I saved the older boys a life of disappointment and heartache. They are happy and our bond is indescribable. I realize every day that it could’ve been different.

God made me a mother of twins during a very dark decade of my life. I came out of the darkness with them hand in hand. Now he blessed me with another son, during the healthiest time of my life. We aren’t given these gifts for no reason. I believe we give our children life but they give our life purpose.

My advice to first time parents:

♡Cherish the cuddles

♡Enjoy the early mornings and the fact that you have a smiling face staring at you who is so excited to see you. One day they’ll be grown and you wont have that smiling face staring at you in the morning anymore.

♡Remind yourself on tough days that those cranky days wont last.

♡Take time for yourself. It’s okay to get out of the house and be an adult. You’ll be a better parent for taking a little time for yourself.

♡Dont worry about them getting dirty or even eating dirt. Clothes get washed and dirt wont hurt them.

♡Dont put them to bed frustrated. Always end the day with kisses and “I love you’s”

♡Dont be in a rush for them to grow to the next phase. Trust me, every age comes with its challenges.

♡Slow down. Be grateful you get to experience life again through their eyes.

Other moms drink wine…….

Not every day is amazing. Sometimes you’re human and you want to say FUCK IT to the world and go hide. But you dont. You keep your big girl panties on and take it hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute.

Some moms eat cookie dough or ice cream when they’re sad, some people have a cigarette. Some moms have wine (I preferred white….red….rose…hell anything if I’m honest here)

The thing is, that “a” before the word “drink” is not possible for someone like me. “A” drink assumes that person has one drink. However, one drink for an alcoholic is way too many.

What does that mean? If I have one single sip that physical allergy is activated and so is my mental obsession. It happens that quick. One sip turns into the entire glass, and that glass turns into the bottle. Eventually, that bottle becomes empty and then the obsession turns into panic to find more.

Cycle repeats.

So on days that I want to hide, ofcourse that thought of a quick fix enters my mind. However at 5 years sober, it leaves as fast as it came.

I have a choice today. To drink or to stay sober. I’m the type of alcoholic that to drink means to die. So I choose to stay sober.

I have other ways I have learned to calm down and balance my emotions. They just dont work as fast as a drink would. But with more sobriety I have learned patience and to trust the process. I have faith today and I know just because I have a bad day, doesn’t mean that i have a bad life.

I write (hence what you’re reading!) I work (yes I actually enjoy what I do) I look at pictures of my family from happier days, I pray, I clean (gotta love the angry cleaning), I talk and vent to a trusted female friend, I talk to my sponsor, I go to a meeting and listen for a message and I share if I’m asked.

I have been through way more pain, stress and sadness before so I can get through a bad day sober. And someone, somewhere is going through something way worse, and they’re staying sober. So I can do it too.

Today, I have no reason to drink. After one sip I’ll feel regretful and therefore that would turn into a second sip to try and cover up that regret, but it actually turns into self pity which ends up being depression.

Cycle repeats.

You understand?

Its insanity. Literally.

If anything, I’m grateful to be where I’m at today. I never would have done all the work on myself if I wasnt an alcoholic. I mean, who the hell grows up wishing to be an alcoholic and end up sober while looking at their own defects of character and learning to change their behaviors? Yeah because that sounds like a blast. NOT!

But today I’m grateful because I am a better me, because of the storm that I went through.

 

 

Self love vs self sabotage

I have obsessed over my weight for my entire 35 yrs of life. However, I’ve never been overweight. But to part of my brain, I have. It’s like being stuck between what’s real and what’s not and it gets so tangled that you don’t even know what is real.

When I was 5 years old in kindergarten I remember feeling fat sitting in circle time. At 10, I remember having the flu and I felt skinny after not eating for a few days and it made me happy. I do not think that I look like my pictures. Part of me really thinks the camera shrinks me and that I’m actually bigger in person.

Twisted thinking to say the least? I know.

Today, I can actually look in the mirror and be happy with the image 4.5 months post partum after my 3rd son.

How!? Nothing has ever helped. Ive gone to outpatient treatment, counselling, support groups, nothing worked. Its been weighing on my mind whether or not I share this part of my journey with the world. I wanted to, but I wanted to wait until I could actually say that I consider myself in recovery. And I’m happy to say I am. I have not participated in any bad habits that come with eating disorders since before I found out I was pregnant. And my son is 4.5 months old as I type this. I have not gone this long since I was 18 yrs old.

I’m at the point now where I actually know that if I start again I wont be able to stop. It’s no different than alcohol to me. One sip and its all over. My eating disorder is the exact same. Why has it taken me 17 yrs to figure it out ?

All I did different this time was pray. I asked god to help me be kinder to myself. I asked for his help. For some reason that’s the one thing I never tried. I feel like a bit of a moron but why didnt I try and pray before? It works for my sobriety, I turn my will over to my higher power on a daily basis. So I’ve basically been using my tools I’ve learned to stay sober, and applied them to my eating disorder. LIGHT BULB!

So while I was pregnant this last time, i was paranoid about weight gain but I had to be healthy for the growing baby inside me. So I prayed. One day after another I prayed and ate healthy. (Ofcourse I have treats, but 90% healthy.)

I reminded myself that my growing body was temporary and that it was worth it. I changed every negative thought into a positive one. Something else I’ve learned in my sobriety journey.

Post partum, the extra weight has dropped easily. I not only kept my baby healthy but I kept myself healthy, in body and mind.

Something so simple like praying and applying tools that I already use to stay sober, to help my eating disorder? Why must I complicate the shit out of the simplest things?

Trust me I still have days that I am unhappy with the image i see. My body is not perfect and neither is my mind. I can still pick my body apart. Inch my inch and I’d start at my nose. But the longer I remain healthy, the longer my brain is fed! And today my brain is healthy and I’m able to switch my thinking to love instead of sabotage.

I think God wanted me to get sober first in order to deal with this issue.

It may have taken me 17 yrs but it’s ok to be a slow learner …. ♡

I’ll remember

The day will come in every parents lives where it hits you, like a ton of bricks, right into the chest.

Your child(ren) are not innocent anymore.

They have turned into young men or women who make mistakes as we do. Life has begun and they have began their journey with more independence. They dont need you as much anymore. You’re no longer their best friend and the one they want to hang out with. There are no cuddles anymore or nighttime stories.

This is where I’m at as a parent to my twin sons. They’re 12.5 and about to begin 7th grade. They’re taller than me, their voices sound like they’re 19, they have hairy legs and need to shave their moustache. They rather spend time with their friends and at their dads house. I swear last month they were playing Lego and asking to cuddle during movie night.

I guess I didn’t think about the time that goes by so quick. As i sit here and realize that my boys are only just beginning to be independent, it makes me so sad. Time goes by way too fast, and you dont realize how fast until you’re a parent to a teenager.

I drank until they were 7 years old. I functioned very well for many years. However the guilt settles in from time to time especially when I remember them as babies. My infant son looks at me like I am the greatest person on the planet. To him, I am. We all looked at our mothers that way. I feel that I did not enjoy the early years as much as I had wanted to or had expected to. I was 23 with twins, unhappy with my relationship, I had undiagnosed anxiety and depression, post partum depression and I was a functioning alcoholic.  So to say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement. The pictures from those days have real smiles. They were my entire world. I always had them outside for walks, playing at the park, watching their favorite movies and even playing music and dancing. But my mental health had me very impatient and overwhelmed at times. I wish I had stopped and smelled the dandelions when they used to pick them for me, a little longer. I wish I had let them play at the park a little longer instead of wanting to go home and open the wine. I wish I had known that it was okay to ask for help. I wish I had not been so strict when I could have been more lenient. I wish I wasn’t so crabby in the mornings because of my hangover. I could say I wish, a million more times but it wont turn back time.

Somehow the years, the days and hours go by and they’re young people. They’ll hurt your feelings. They’ll make you cry in your room and you’ll try to be as silent as you can. They’ll go somewhere overnight and not want to come home. They’ll be mad at you for saying no and setting boundaries. They will get caught in a lie, and try to cover that up.

All I can do is stay sober, and continue to be their parent first, a friend later. I’ll pray for them as I always do, and I’ll remind myself that they do love me. I’ll remind myself about the times they have spoken at my yearly cakes, and cried during their speeches. When I got married a year ago, they cried when I came down the aisle. When their baby brother was born 4 months ago they thanked me for the best thing that’s happened to our family. I’ll remember.

I’ll remember because it’s the good times that make everything worth while. Every family, every couple, every relationship goes through times of hurt, sadness and even anger. Remember why you love eachother, remember that you always will, and it will work out.

Remember that little moments matter the most. The dandelions they once picked turn into necklaces and charms at Christmas. Remember the rules they get mad at following have kept them safe. The manners you teach them have made them polite and respectful. You may not get cuddles but you’ll get a sweaty hug. The hand drawn pictures turn into text messages and emojis.

I’ll Remember.

 

 

My reflection

From the time I was 5 years old I felt fat. I remember in kindergarten, not wanting to sit in circle time on my knees because I thought my legs were too big.

Not normal.

I wasn’t even a big child either. But somehow the thought of being perfect was embedded into my brain. From birth? From the verbal abuse I was enduring? I’ve done enough counseling to understand it has to do with coping and control.

I’ve been obsessed with my body my entire life. I’ve cried, I’ve screamed, and nothing ive ever tried to do has ever helped me. To the outside world, if someone like me expresses these feelings, than I am vain and seeking attention. Judge me, I dont care because I’ve thought worse about myself than you. It’s a real disorder and a real sickness. It’s not about attention. It’s something so deep that’s so incredibly hard to understand or explain.

People think just because someone is thin, that they’re happy. If someone is large, they’re lazy. Both are untrue. No one can win, so why try?

I stare at other women who are all sizes and admire their confidence. Women are beautiful. And at times I do feel beautiful! Its been a 30 year journey to begin to love what i see in the mirror. It’s taken years of practice telling myself that what I think of my body is not really real. I see a big woman. But I know that’s not really true. I’ve been afraid of going public about this out of fear of judgement. I’m public about being an alcoholic so why not about this? Maybe it will hold me accountable to keep trying to heal.

The only thing I can say is that I’ve started praying about it. It’s the only thing I hadn’t done all these years to try and overcome it. I thought, prayer has helped my sobriety so why haven’t I prayed about this? So simple its stupid lol.

Perhaps its working? because nearly 4 months after having my 3rd son, I can look in the mirror and actually say that I’m happy with how I look for just having a baby. For someone like me, that’s huge! Sure, there are days where I count the dimples in my thighs, and I’m 2 inches bigger all around than I was a year ago. But, if I shut the negative talk down long enough, I start to see the real me staring back.

Why do we self hate? Is it easier and safer than having others hate us? Is it learned behaviour from abuse? These all might be true. But all I can do is talk myself down, out of the negative thoughts. If I can slowly change how I think, maybe the reflection will be clearer.

 

A short poem I wrote:

“I dont see what other see

When I look in the mirror,

I don’t see me.

I see a woman who’s larger in size

But my clothes say different,

So my brain is telling lies.

I was 5 years old when I felt this way

Not a moment went by,

That I felt okay.

I’m 35 now, so 30 yrs too long

But I realize it now,

That my minds been wrong.

I can pick myself apart

From my nose to my thighs,

And no one hears my silent cries.

I’ve been my own worst enemy

But I’m learning to love,

The person inside and the reflection that’s me.”

– Amanda Loewen

 

 

I’ll Remember, You won’t

I’ll remember these days we spend together. You so small, so vulnerable, so perfect. Completely dependent upon me.

I’ll remember the days I held you in my arms, watching you drift off to sleep as I wonder how I got so lucky.

I’ll remember the nights we both didn’t sleep, the countless yawns but all the cuddles.

I’ll remember the moment I held you for the first time as if it were yesterday.

I’ll remember every sickness, every hospital visit, every worry I’ve ever had.

I’ll remember your smell, your favourite way to be held and your favorite toy.

I’ll remember the way you looked at me as if I was the only one in the world.

The days turn into months that turn into years and you won’t remember.

You’ll be more independent and wont need me as much. I’ll nag you to clean your room and do your homework. You’ll get grounded and have your favorite possessions taken away. You’ll argue and test boundaries. You’ll say things you dont mean.

One day you’ll be all grown and I’ll be old. It will be your turn to take care of me. The days of play, bad dreams and monsters will be gone. You’ll watch me drift off to sleep as you hold my hand. In moments like these you wont remember the fights, the groundings, the yelling. You won’t remember the chaos of teenage life. You wont remember the days you stressed me out or the times I cried.

You’ll remember all the times I hugged you when you were sad. The bandaids and kisses. The nights I stayed up late to help you with your homework. All the times I sat in the hot gymnasium and watched your concerts. The trips to the lake, parks and zoo. The 3 hour family talks that ended in laughter and hugs.

Those are the moments you’ll remember. The moments of love.

And one day you’ll realize that no one will ever love you as much as your mom.

Day 1 vs Day 1826

My life; Day 1 July 24 2014

I was hung over
I felt empty like I had no soul
No emotion, just numb
Scared, full of fear
I felt like the worst mother in the world
I felt like the worst daughter in the world
I felt like the worst sister in the world
I was scared I was going to lose my job (I did 3 months later!)
I didnt know who I was anymore
I didnt believe I would ever be happy
I didnt want to drink, but I was scared to live sober.

My life; Day 1826, 5 yrs sober, July 24 2019

I’m sober from ALL mind altering substances
I am fulfilled and blessed with a big gratitude list
I live in faith, not fear
I am now a mother of 3, and I am a great mother!
I’m a great daughter and very close to my parents
My sister and I are best friends!
I love who I am today! I actually like me!
I found happiness within myself, it existed all along, but I was looking for it in the wrong places. I even found love and a husband! A business that I’m successful at! A LIFE!
I still don’t want to drink, but I’m happily living life sober.

Remember:
Honesty will heal, denial will drink.
Happiness does exist.