I was 3 years sober when my entire life was uprooted and my idea of the “perfect family” was shattered. We met in recovery, two broken individuals embarking on the journey to a new and sober lifestyle. We had two beautiful children and jumped into indulging in married life. Years of growing apart ultimately led to our demise. “Some are sicker than others.” He was the epitome of everything I wanted at first, but over time his abusive tendencies spread like wildfire. It was a slow but very aggressive progression. From infidelity to emotional/physical abuse, I found myself married to a narcissistic stranger. The trauma of our relationship left me spiritually bankrupt. I was lost, broken, angry, confused with no clue of what to do next. There was one thing I was sure of: I had to stay sober.
Everything is as it should be. This mantra still plays on repeat when I find myself in the middle of chaos, leftover from the wreckage of my past. Walking through divorce comes with co-parenting, aging resentments, and lots of seemingly impossible compromise. When I stop and evaluate my powerlessness, mirroring the conflict I faced in active addiction, it can be overwhelming. I have two little ones to support, a full-time job, and all the while must remain diligent in my recovery. Nothing happens by mistake and I have to cultivate the idea that everything is going to work out the way it should. Today, I get to apply the mindfulness I learned in early recovery to even the most unfortunate of situations.
Grief is necessary. For as long as I can remember, self-medicating became my solution to any/all emotional discomfort. If I didn’t like the way I felt, I would find a quick fix at the bottom of a bottle. Getting sober, detachment was no longer an option. Grief has a funny way of creeping in and demolishing everything in its path. If I wanted to heal, I had to walk through every painful memory and let go of the delusion I had so delicately constructed. I had to grieve the loss of the person I spent 4 years building a family with. I would not have been able to trudge through this process if it weren’t for the women that I met in recovery. They rallied around me and let me cry when I was sad, scream when I was angry and reminded me how worthy I really was. I’d love to say I walked through grief gracefully, but that would be a lie. It was messy, but I refused to carry my baggage into these uncharted waters. I wanted a new beginning and that meant letting go of what was and accepting what is.
Self-love is the best love. After my divorce, I had become the same confused girl that hopped on a plane hoping to find her way in recovery 4 years prior. My failed marriage and broken home became my identity. I indulged in self-loathing and I was so ashamed. As mothers, we feel it is our sole responsibility to maintain the household and hold the family together. I felt like a barren tree stump with no real purpose or any fruits left to support my children. It started with meditating on my morning affirmations to treating myself to a mani/pedi once a month. Eventually, I sought after family therapy for me and the kids. When I started gifting myself with little acts of kindness, I started to realize I wasn’t a failure after all. I slowly, but surely, started to fall in love with myself again. This gave me the courage to keep putting one foot in front of the next.
That barren stump eventually grew into a fruitful, vibrant tree. Emotionally available, I was able to provide love and comfort to the little ones that mattered the most. They were walking through the same wreckage and needed me more now than ever. I didn’t have to live in isolation and depression became an avoidable crutch. Most importantly, I stayed sober. I got the opportunity to walk gracefully through adversity and became the woman I always wanted to be.