By Brooke Page
Being a mother is challenging. Being a Mother in Recovery is even more challenging. For two years now I have been a Mother in Recovery—challenging, to say the least. Countless obstacles, sleepless nights, not to mention the “girl drama,” back talking and disrespect that came along with one teenage boy and three teenage girls. I should probably tell you, I have four children, Ethen (18), Emilie (16), Cameron (13), and Elizabeth (11). These obstacles I was facing were nothing I had been expecting.
So, a short glimpse into my story. Being a woman with a 17-year Hustle Disorder, along with a 12-year Substance Use Disorder, led me straight to the Jackson County Jail, aka JCJ, in which I served 300 days of a 330 day sentence for my first felony: Illegal Possession and Use of a Transaction Device. Humiliated and frightened, I had to embrace what was in front of me. About 60 days into my 330 day sentence I was offered a Moral Recognition Therapy Program or for short, an MRT program, which upon completion would lessen my jail sentence by 30 days. Admiring the idea of a reduced jail sentence and something to do once a week for 12 weeks, I began the MRT program, needless to say
with no set goal that I would get anything out of it or that this decision would change my life. . . perhaps forever. About two weeks into the class I began the first step of the MRT program which, again, is a 12 week program with 12 steps. I began to evaluate my life and the way I had been living it during the prior 17 years. My focus started to be more on myself and what I needed to be for my kids, not just maintaining sobriety, but leading a life of Recovery, meaning that not only did I need to not use, but I never wanted to stop growing in my life. I wanted to be the best I could be as a Mother, a Saint of God, a partner, a daughter, a friend, and a coworker. This is a testament to me that God is always right on time: this Jail-based MRT program, offered to me at the most optimal time, that taught me value in myself when I could see no value, reminded me that “Through God All things Are Possible.”
I completed the MRT program about halfway through my sentence, which luckily gave me some time to use the skills I obtained from the MRT. So there, alone in my jail cell, I began creating multiple plans on what I would do to maintain my recovery when I was released and all the things that I was going to do for my kids. Doing my best to reenact certain situations, I began writing different plans for any and every event that I could possibly think of. The obstacles I had foreseen that I would face were so off course to what I would later find to be facing once released. Unprepared and a little embarrassed, I was released from custody and was back to reality, so to speak. However, this reality was not the reality I had predicted while incarcerated. Through prayer and engagement I started to seek support and guidance from other mothers, as well as fathers, who had been through some of the same struggles I had been through and who were embracing their recovery as I was. Two years later, I have a network of friends and supports and have learned that events or obstacles do not always go as planned, and sometimes we need to make the best decision in that moment, while other times we might need to reach out and get that helping hand that we all deserve once in a while. I am not a perfect mom, but I try to do the best I can. It is not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.
In conclusion, I would like to reach out to any Mothers or Fathers in Recovery and let you know that you are not alone. Breathe, maintain & support, breathe, step away and breathe, maintain yourself, ever reminding yourself that this too shall pass. Develop strong parental supports and reach out because we are all around you. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share some of my story with you. †