The Stigma of Being That Sober Mom by Tricia Moceo
Lately, I’ve had a ton of my old friends reach out to me and ask me, “How do you do it?” Their nosey line of questioning directly refers to my sobering motherhood. My journey to motherhood has been anything but your average rodeo. In fact, I spent most of my life with an absent, alcoholic mother - to an unpredictable stepmother who did the best she could with what she had. The point is, I didn’t have an example of what a “mother” should look like in my life.
That brings me to a brief glimpse into the events that led up to this very moment. As I mentioned before, my biological mother was and is an active alcoholic. She signed over her rights to me when I was two years old. That’s when my stepmother came into the picture. Our relationship was tumultuous, to say the least. Trauma became me and it wasn’t long before I found a reprieve at the bottom of the bottle - any bottle.
Fast forward to 2013 when my stepmother passed away. At this point, I was a fairly new mother to a beautiful 3-year-old little boy with no idea of how to parent. My inner-child was left standing in the corner, overwhelmed with feelings of abandonment and rejection, with no end in sight. Naturally, this is where I crossed over the threshold. At this point, the solution seemed obvious: oblivion. My addiction was beckoning for my death, and I obliged. I truly believed the only way I could be a mother, sister, daughter, and friend was to be emotionally numb and absolutely medicated. The delusion of this insanity was my emotional absence for the people that needed me the most.
Eventually, legal consequences met me face to face. I found myself becoming the woman and mother I swore I would never be. Child Protective Services got involved and I still couldn’t stay sober. You see, that’s the insidious nature of this disease. I loved my son more than any human in the world and I was still obedient to my unrelenting master.
I was finally faced with the choice to lose custody of my son or check myself into treatment. I hopped on a plane and headed for South Florida. Sobriety has been no walk in the park. As you can imagine, I was quite the talk of my little small town. I was that mom. The mom that lost herself entirely to the disease of addiction. The mom that had CPS involved in her life. The mom that went away to treatment. The mom that managed to defy all odds and break generational chains. The mom that now has two kids and is sober.
This is kind of where my story picks up. Today, I have three years sober. I live far away from that slow town I grew up in - sunny South Florida is home to me now. At first, I was so consumed with seeking the approval of any and all women because - keep your enemies close, right? I hated all women when I first got sober. I envied the moms who seemingly had it all together. What a delusion! The truth is, no parent is perfect. In fact, parenthood is one of the most rewarding but toughest jobs on the planet.
As I continue down my recovery journey the most important thing I’ve learned is self-love is the best love. After all, we can’t pour from an empty cup. I’ve learned that the best way for me to be the best mother to my kids is to strive to be the best version of myself each and every day. No substance, relationship, or human could ever relieve me of the spiritual malady that lies deep within myself. I have fallen in love with every painful scar that has landed me right where I am today. I am now the mom that shows up for her kids. I’m an emotionally available mom, compassionate mom, the mom that strives to handle conflict with grace, and the mom that has been resurrected from the grave into a life beyond her wildest dreams. I am that mom.
Tricia advocates long-term sobriety by writing for detoxlocal.com and providing resources to recovering addicts and shedding light on the disease of addiction. Tricia is a mother of two, actively involved in her local recovery community, and is passionate about helping other women find hope in seemingly hopeless situations.