“Single Parent in Sobriety”
When I was placed in a position where I was ready to do something that I didn’t really want (Sobriety), knew wouldn’t work (live sober), and didn’t understand (the 12 steps); that’s when I stayed clean and sober. In the program they call that willingness, I suppose.
I had a three year old daughter, whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. Her mother and I cared about each other but didn’t know anything about living. We had very poor tools. Crystal meth and booze were the bad tools. I finally left this woman as our fighting was constant and getting worse. I left because I was I afraid I would hurt her- my daughter’s mother. I had little control of my behavior while high.
I did finally get clean and sober April 25th 1986. I was not initially allowed to visit my daughter because I had been lying about being sober for so long that nobody believed me, outside of the program- especially my daughter’s mother and her new boyfriend. Rather than do something stupid, which I really wanted to do, I took the advice of a guy at the meeting who handed me the business card of a family lawyer and I called him. Over time I was given visitation rights to my daughter. I think she was four by then.
As I stayed sober, a visitation schedule was worked out. I didn’t know what to do with her at first so I would take my her to the meetings with plenty of drawing paper to distract her, from getting too bored.
On one of these visits, when it came time to take her back up north to her mother, I couldn’t get a hold of anyone up north. She disappeared for some time. She couldn’t stay sober. Now I had this ten year old young lady who had as much anger as I have ever seen. She also had some developmental issues as well. And, according to her it was all my fault. Although I was far from free from responsibility. I had to act like an adult, the best I could.
It was very hard to tell her she was staying with me and going to school here. She was not happy about it. I won’t tell her story here but I will say that being a single parent of a kid who blamed me for all her pain was the hardest thing with which I have ever had to deal.
So whether your getting clean and sober with kids in tow or perhaps getting physical custody back after being sober a while, being a single parent is one of the toughest jobs there is. But also one of the most important jobs you will ever have. Are there some perfect kids out there? Not. Almost maybe, but no one is perfect. She and I got some outside help. Therapy was an important part of the healing between my daughter and me. Also my working a program and attending meetings, where I received the emotional support and encouragement I needed to get through those times helped me stay calm. My daughter was getting some help for her pain and damage as well. She also joined Alateen. Which helped for a while too.
I have a good relationship with my daughter these days and also have four grandchildren now. I’m glad I was there for the hard parts, so I can now enjoy some of the good parts as well.