Living a life dedicated to recovery, health, and wellness is more than a full-time job, and it takes tremendous vigilance, determination, and effort. On top of that, some of us are mothers, which is more than a full-time job and takes considerable patience, energy, and attentiveness.
These two commitments are both substantial calls to action, and despite being different responsibilities, they become interwoven as we move through life. While motherhood is a beautiful and incredible identity, the key to a healthy life lies first and foremost in a recovery that is both stable and maintained. All other responsibilities are deeply tied to successful sobriety.
But with the often overwhelming reality that is motherhood, it can feel impossible to prioritize ourselves and our recovery. Tracking our sense of connection, authentic communication, and interaction with various support networks and communities is a technique to strengthen ourselves, our self-esteem, and our recovery.
With connections, we can see if we have been staying connected to ourselves or checking out. Reflect on these questions:
- Have I been distracting myself with my phone, food, sex, television, or overworking?
- Have I been practicing or engaging in activities that reconnect me to my mind, body, and spirit? (Such as yoga, running, writing, spending time outside, cooking, or dancing.)
- Have I been staying connected to my family, friends, support network, peers, sponsors, or other members of my care team?
- Where have I disconnected, distanced myself, or let connections loosen?
By staying connected to ourselves, we will be present to our feelings, frustrations, and pain. They can be processed and released, and our recovery and well-being will benefit. Staying connected to those we care about, and to those who care about us, can keep our commitments to recovery strong. Feeling cared for can motivate healthy maintenance. Cultivating long-term connections can keep us grounded, accountable, and invested in ourselves and our future. With meaningful connections, we are more likely to want a sober, safe, and sustainable future.
With communication, look at where it has been withheld, lacking, or inaccurate. Ask yourself these questions:
- When have I held back, when I wanted to speak up?
- Where have I not expressed everything I wanted to?
- Where have I said things that weren’t accurate with what I was truly feeling, wanting, and/or needing?
- Where have I avoided being vulnerable with my words?
Practicing authentic communication can bring us back to our heart. With accurate speech, we can ensure alignment with our thoughts, actions, and intentions. Asking for help can strengthen our bonds with others, our confidence in ourselves, and can foster deeper, more honest communication with our support systems.
Turning to our collectives and communities, we can see where we have been hiding, not showing up, and not engaging in work that benefits our health and recovery. Consider these questions:
- What is getting in the way of me wanting to be seen in my community?
- Where have I been avoiding opportunities to be in the community?
- Where have I not followed through on my commitments to my communities?
By staying engaged in our communities, we allow ourselves to be seen, held, and supported, which strengthens our commitment to recovery. If we remain dedicated to supportive community groups, healing and health will be encouraged in our lives. This promotes and ensures maintenance in long-term recovery. Community involvement strengthens our connection to ourselves, our communication and bond with others, and increases positive accountability and support in the collective.
Prioritizing self-care and recovery maintenance within the journey of parenthood is an incredible, challenging, and beautiful responsibility. But it can be done, and you can do it! By assessing the status of your connection, communication, and involvement in the community, it can be easier to see where maintenance might be slipping, and where an action plan or small intervention is needed to prevent relapse and get you back on a stable road of recovery. And while it might seem impossible to track and tend to each of these things constantly, make a small goal of focusing on, addressing, or improving one a month.
To remember and reaffirm powers of true connection, authentic communication, and community engagement, write down activities that bring you back to yourself, who you feel safe connecting with, and what groups and collectives encourage your health and joy.
Some examples could be:
- I connect with myself through listening to music. When I am overwhelmed by the duties of motherhood, I will listen to a song, hum a tune, or have a small dance party with my family.
- I benefit from frequent communication with my best friend, and my sponsor. When I am feeling down, I will reach out to one of them (even if I don’t feel like it), to keep my recovery on track.
- I feel safe and seen in my recovery community. If I notice I haven’t made it to a meeting in a while, I will arrange childcare in order to attend, even if it has to be infrequently. If that isn’t a possibility, I will look at virtual meetings, or connect with other recovery groups online.
If you or a loved one wants to focus on your connection to yourself, improve your communication with others, and develop and strengthen your sense of community, contact us at New Directions for Women, a holistic treatment center for women located in Costa Mesa, California. We understand the huge demand of motherhood and know the importance of sustainable and successful maintenance in recovery. We want to support you and your family in having the beautiful, empowered, enjoyable, and healthy life you deserve. For more information, or to get started, contact us today.