Sobriety, Depression, and Answered Prayers

It’s been a while! I haven’t updated my blog for quite a long time, for various reasons. Yes, I am still sober. No, I have not been going to very many meetings in the last year or so. That’s not because I am no longer focused on my recovery, I am. I’ve just found that after five and a half years, there are some other ways that I “practice these principles in all my affairs.” That said, I do want to get back to writing about recovery here, and I hope that those of you who used to enjoy reading this blog will get back into the groove with me.

So, there’s been a lot going on in my life in the last couple of months, some truly awesome things that I never thought would happen, despite the fact that I prayed about them daily. But first, I want to go back a little bit further–to spring of last year.

It was the beginning of about a year of pretty significant depression. There wasn’t a terrible crisis or any life-changing happenings that caused me to be depressed. In fact, from the outside looking in, everything looked great. Before my bout of depression really got started, I was doing ok. Well, as ok as a recovering alcoholic with PTSD and chronic depression can be. I had ups and downs, but for the most part, the ups far outweighed the downs.

My freelance writing was going well, I had happy clients and was usually busy, but not overwhelmed with work. I had no complaints about my husband, Austin, and my step-son, Benjamin–they were, and are, the absolute best. We had a vacation coming up, a road trip to the south to visit family and friends, and I was thrilled! I love road trips and love everyone we were going to see.

Then, I did something simple. Something that people do all the time without having a meltdown.

I mailed a birthday card.

Such a common act, yet it took me weeks to decide to do, and days to work up the courage to walk to the mailbox and, with teary eyes and shaking hands, drop it into the outgoing mail slot.

My daughter, who I had not seen since she was 14, was turning 20. I’ve written about her on this blog more than once. You can go back and read the details, but to put it simply, we became estranged after I went to treatment for my alcoholism. In the beginning, I tried to maintain contact, but my attempts failed and I wasn’t strong enough to force anything. I hadn’t sent any cards or letters for years, and I was terrified to do it then. But I did. And then I waited.

I tried to not have any expectations. I thought that it was likely that I wouldn’t hear anything in response. After all, I had to send the card to the last address I knew for her, my mother’s, even though I knew she didn’t likely live there anymore. Would my mother even give it to her? I didn’t know. But I had this tiny piece of my heart that felt hopeful. I had been waiting, praying, and hoping for six years and I finally did something, I reached out. But I knew that one birthday card couldn’t make up for the time that had passed, and it couldn’t make up for the hurt that I caused, and it likely couldn’t compete with the horrible things that my daughter was told about me (most true, some not) by my family members. And it didn’t. I heard nothing.

The silence made me realize two things. First, that I could no longer live without trying to reconcile with my kid. Second, that I hated myself for letting her get away in the first place. It was the latter that made my depression spin out of control. While I spent time Facebook stalking to see pictures and what was happening in her life, the self-blame and depression over our estrangement only got worse. How had I let this happen, and would I ever have her back in my life?

I started therapy again and I saw my psychiatrist, who changed up my antidepressants. I worked on the guilt I felt about being a mother without my child in my life and tried to resolve myself to the possibility that we might never reconcile. Just as I began to climb out of the pit of my depression, it was May again. Should I send another birthday card? Should I leave the whole situation to God and my prayers? Again, I struggled with what is usually an easy decision. In the end, I made my trek to the mailbox and dropped another card into it.

I tried not to have any expectations or to obsess about whether my daughter would even get the card. I tried to leave the whole situation in God’s hands and prayed, not for reconciliation, but for the strength to handle whatever the outcome was–even if it wasn’t what I wanted.

And then, just a little over a month later, I got an email. Not from my daughter, but from her husband. Before I even clicked on the message, I started to cry. Somewhere, deep in my heart, I knew that this email was going to give me the opportunity to reconnect with the young woman who I hadn’t seen since the beginning of her teenage years. And it did.

A week later, with some gentle nudging from my new son-in-law I suspect, my daughter made the decision to see me. I can’t even begin to put into words the flood of emotions that hit me at that moment. It was pure joy, a kind that I had never felt before. My prayers of seven years were finally answered.

Kari and me.

Since then, we have been getting to know each other again, first with baby steps, and now with all the enthusiasm of two women who had been living their lives with a piece of their hearts missing. My heart is full and I am overjoyed.

It’s amazing, the good things that sobriety can bring. Lost relationships can be restored. Broken hearts can be mended. Lives can be reconnected. I know that if I had not stayed sober, I wouldn’t have an opportunity to be a mother to a daughter again. I would have lost any chances of that. Recovery isn’t easy, it takes patience, strength, and faith, but good things do come of it. Believe me, I know.

14 thoughts on “Sobriety, Depression, and Answered Prayers

  1. WOW!
    I am so vey happy for both you and your daughter…
    the promises, right?
    Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly…

  2. This makes me so very happy to read. I am so glad that you stayed the course, that you were courageous and reached out, and that you now have, not only your daughter but a new son-in-law in your life. Much to be thankful for. Mended lives — mended hearts.

  3. Meetings are the lifeline of a recovery based on the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I believe meetings are the fuel for you to practice these principles in all your affairs. How do you relate to putting the principles of recovery into your life without hearing the experience of others? Give your daughter the GIFT AND PRIVILEGE of an active thriving recovering mother …. GET BACK TO MEETINGS.

  4. The point of my post wasn’t about meetings, it was really about the gifts that recovery offers us and faith, patience, and humility.
    I am an active, thriving, recovering mother. There are many other ways to spread the message besides daily meetings. I love AA and I have many other recovering people in my life who I love as well. There isn’t just one way to stay sober and active in recovery, I believe that it’s up to each individual to do what works for him or her. And I believe that what works can change over time.
    Thanks for your comment.

  5. I’ve missed you, my friend. You were in my thoughts and prayers and I could only hope you were doing well. Then I see this! Reconnecting with your daughter is absolutely the best thing E.V.E.R. How wonderful! Not enough adjectives to describe how happy I am for you. It was a long time coming and I know it was the hardest thing for you. You have been blessed and I wish you only the best going forward.

  6. A year has passed. Just found this blog.

    I hope this story has a happy ending.

    I too am sober one day at a time for 35 years with the help of my higher power and 12 steps of AA
    I too had long periods when I didn’t attend meetings , I gave back in different ways.
    However after my husband died, I increased my meetings as I knew I had to go through the grief.
    Life and my Higher Power sent a beautiful sponsee to walk besides while she went through the process of the 12 steps.. I too tread the path again and and am so grateful for this healing process..
    Hope you are well and happy. xx


  7. I hope this story has a happy ending. Just found this blog a year later.
    I too am sober, 35 years. Thanks to HP and AA.
    I have had periods when I didn’t go to many meetings. It’s a bridge to normal living after all. I gave back in different ways and attended to my responsibilities but still practised the 12 steps.and kept in contact with other AAs.
    After my husband’s death two and a half years ago, I increased my meeting attendance because I knew I had to go through the grief.
    HP sent a beautiful sponsee to walk besides while she went through the process of the 12 steps and I walked besides her and this was such a healing process for me too.
    Hope you are well and happy. xx

  8. hey Jam,
    a great post indeed and inspiring also. i greatly enjoyed reading the post. it has inspired me and i am sure that it will continue inspiring. more power to you.

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