Updated: Mar 10, 2021
Being a mom has been one of the most profound joys in life. I dreamt of having children since I was a child. At 30 I became a mother, and by 35 I had 3 sons. Children close in age made life busy and tiresome, but the bliss that came from their existence overshadowed any exhaustion.
By the 8th year of mommy-hood, my husband and I had 3 beautifully busy boys, two of whom Autistic. Wham! We did not see that coming. They are all teenagers now and when I reflect back to the time when they were in diapers, it is foggy. I picture myself overly consumed with disbelief, fear, anguish, grief; I was utterly overwhelmed. It makes me wince if I recall too much of it.
I could not cope. So, I drank. Sometimes heavily and in secret.
Some people ask if their Autism made me an alcoholic. No, I tell them. But I do believe it brought me to my bottom much faster. I am profoundly grateful for that. Why? Because I turned into a better parent at just the right time.
Surrendering to being an alcoholic nearly 9 years ago was not a part of my life plan. When I started my drinking, I envisioned me and booze walking gracefully through life together, hand in hand, in good times and bad. Little did I know my life partner would turn against me and turn my world upside down by the age of 39. I accept being an alcoholic in recovery today, and often feel a big "phew" come over me if I daydream about a different scenario - one where I did not stop drinking and continued to destroy myself, driving deeper into the pits of Hell with my poor family as my passengers.
Sobriety has radically altered my life- for the better. Today, my ride is smooth. It exists on an even plane. No major dramatic hills to climb or hurtles to jump. Normal bumps in the road are manageable and I do not flip out over even the silliest of problems. Life is simple and peaceful. It is free of drama, chaos, anxiety, worry, stress, angst, anger, depression, self-pity, and fear. Doing the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous saved me from all of this. I worked my recovery program with willingness and desperation. I have learned that as an alcoholic in recovery, above all else, I need "to be rid of selfishness." I strive to continuously help others. I seek out opportunities to grow and evolve as a soul having this incredible human experience. I seek out the newcomer. I seek out those who struggle with what I once struggled.
I have always loved my children but loving them for exactly who they are is easier now that I am sober and have learned to love myself unconditionally.
Sobriety makes room for me to be productive and useful. I am no longer busy thinking of myself all the time and when I can get my next drunk. I am often grateful for having so much more time to be helpful.
One of my biggest passions, after my family of course, is my Recovery Podcast. After thinking about it for 2 years, I finally found a focus and launched Sober Gratitudes on January 1st, 2020. I created it with the intent of expanding my program of recovery, to show the hope in recovery, and give others the opportunity to share how a better life is possible after addiction.
As of today, I have conducted roughly 55 interviews with amazing sober humans. Many have become my friend. I have learned from every one of them. At this point, I can say that this podcast has helped me in ways I never anticipated. My husband and sons support me on my creative and outreach endeavors; I feel amazing living into my purest authenticity. It is a great relief to live freely as myself, no longer hiding behind shame and insecurities.
Just as I was promised in AA, I am being helped by helping others. It is hard not to consider my podcast a gift from my Higher Power.
Which brings me to the I am writing this blog entry:
I have started a new support group, perhaps another gift from my Higher Power?
Sober Autism - Parent Community Sober Autism Parents™️ (@sober_autismparentcommunity) • Instagram photos and videos is a support group for parents or caregivers of children on the Autism Spectrum. It is an intimate group that meets every Tuesday on zoom. There, we support each other for an hour or more. It is not affiliated with any program of recovery. Simply put, it is Parent’s supporting Parent’s. The only requirement is that you are sober, sober curious, struggling in sobriety, and care for a person with autism. I have been told by members that they feel seen; they feel heard in this support group. This makes me feel incredibly grateful.
No, my children's autism did not cause for me to become an alcoholic. Most may assume that may be the case with out hearing my story. I will confess that I did feel cursed. I felt it was my fault. But I know better now. I know that way of thinking is selfish and a waste of time.
Sobriety has given me the ability to bare witness to how my children (all 3 of them) courageously travel the path of their lives with all that has been given to them. Watching them has only inspired me to follow in their footsteps and become a better human every day by helping others.
If anyone you know, or you would benefit from joining Sober Autism - Parent Community, please reach out to me for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org, or join us on any Tuesday evening at 7PM Easter Standard Time!