While 2020 was a difficult year for almost all of us, it was also the year I received the greatest gift of my sobriety, my son Aidan. I had always wanted to start a family but had given up hope of ever doing so while I was in active addiction. Aidan truly is the light of my life and I couldn’t imagine a world without him in it now.
Before deciding to have a child, my husband and I had a long discussion about how we would bring up the “addiction thing” to our children. Do we share our sordid pasts with our children as warnings against using drugs, or do we hope that we raise them well enough that they will never want to pick them up? At the end of the day, we cannot shelter our children from everything. So, as soon-to-be parents we decided that one day we would explain to our little ones that addiction runs in our families and because of this they must be careful. We decided that we would raise our children to be comfortable speaking about their feelings with us. We want to teach them that although sometimes our feelings are uncomfortable, we are lucky to be able to feel them and even the worst feelings won’t last forever. We want our son to have compassion and to not always think of himself first. We will teach him to be mindful of others and to realize that we do not always know what another person has been through or is going through now.
Having a recovery program in my life has been an absolute blessing in motherhood. I have been able to apply the principals of AA to my life in an entirely new way. Every day, I practice turning over my fears and anxieties to my Higher Power and use a God Box almost every night so the worry doesn’t keep me awake. I ask my Higher Power to relieve me of my doubts and insecurities so that I can focus on what is right in front of me.
Motherhood presents itself with an entirely new meaning of the word powerless, but I have been able to approach it with the knowledge that “this too shall pass” and “One Day at a Time”. I am happy that the unmanageability in my life is due to sleep regressions and time changes rather than drinking or drugging.
The day will come when we sit our son down and explain to him the darker side of our pasts, but for now it is filled with milestones and zoom calls to family members. My network of AA women is more than happy to answer my every “is this normal” question and they fully accept the fact that my presence at meetings now includes my little one. Calls with my sponsor are timed during naps or lunch breaks, and our talks have turned to applying the AA principals to my new job as a mother. Aidan will grow up attending more AA meetings than most people will ever get a chance to, and I hope that he will also absorb the love and kindness of the fellowship and will someday apply the principals in his own life.
Meet the Author:
Jenn Dunleavy, Alumni Relations Coordinator