I’m so happy to have Rosemary O’Connor’s Recovery Rocks interview this week. I meet so many mothers who struggle with enormous shame and guilt in relation to their drinking and I think they will be inspired by her story. Rosemary has been sober since 1999 and understands the challenges of staying sober as a single mom. An experienced life coach, since 2004 she has helped hundreds of people brings about positive changes in their lives. She has a degree in psychology, is a Certified Professional Coach and a Certified Addiction Recovery Coach. Rosemary is the founder of ROC Recovery Services, which offers comprehensive care for women suffering from addictions. In 2015 Hazelden Publishing released Rosemary’s book, A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery. For more about Rosemary visit her website rocrecoveryservices.com
Rosemary is also giving away 2 FREE copies of her book to Recovery Rocks readers. To win you just need to complete a recovery rocks interview! Send me an email via my CONTACT page, I will send you the interview to complete. The first two back will get a free copy of: A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery.
1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’
(Below are a few paragraphs from Chapter 1 – “Hitting Bottom” from my book, A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery.)
I promised myself I was only going out for two drinks. I told the eleven-year-old babysitter I’d be home in a couple of hours—no later than nine. I walked out the door on my way to a fancy charity event, the Fireman’s Ball at the San Francisco Yacht Club. I was all dressed up in a long, sequined gown, high heels, hair and makeup to the nines (for me it was all about looking good on the outside). At the event, with drink in hand, I started chatting up a guy. I was doing straight shots of tequila and quickly spent $200 buying drinks from the bar—what every classy lady does. Mr. Not-So-Prince-Charming invited me to continue the party at his place. I remember following in my car, gripping the steering wheel, trying to steer in a straight line. The next thing I remember is waking up in Mr. Not-So- Prince-Charming’s bed at ten the next morning, thirteen hours after I’d told the babysitter I’d be back.
I drove home overcome with dread, silently promising never to drink again. The scene that met me there was Dickensian: my three children were lined up on the sofa in their pajamas, eyes wide with horror, staring at me. On either side of them were my best friend, Lori, whose daughter had been babysitting, and my estranged husband. They didn’t look too friendly, either. And no wonder—I was still wearing the sequined gown from the night before, which I’d thrown up on, and my hair and makeup were in shambles.
Lori looked me straight in the eye. “You’d better get hold of yourself,” she said, and stormed out. My husband looked at me with utter disgust. I got the message in his glare: If you don’t get your act together, I’ll take these kids away.
As he gathered the kids to go upstairs for their stuff, my five-year-old son asked me, “Mommy, are you okay?”
I was not. For the first time in the twenty-one years I’d been drinking, I acknowledged there was something really wrong with me. I said, “No, Mommy is not okay.” He grabbed me and hugged me. Then he ran upstairs crying.
My soon-to-be ex-husband left with my children and went to his house. I was alone, an empty shell, physically, spiritually, and emotionally bankrupt. What I feared most was that I would continue to do the same thing over and over and lose my children. This was not the mother I intended to be. That was my bottom. And I knew in that moment that if I didn’t get help, five o’clock would roll around and I’d be drunk once again.
2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
I got sober in November 1999. My kids were two, five, and eight, and my husband filed for divorced in my first 30 days. I also had to face my daughter’s birthday, my son’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the New Millennium. I was in a complete fog, full of guilt, shame, self-hatred, and utter fear. I thought my life was over and I was going to live a life of misery.
3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?
Oh wow, so many great things have happened, and most of them I had no idea they were possible or was not aware they existed. I think the number one thing I am grateful for is I have learned to love and forgive myself. In doing this, I have been able to love and forgive others. I have a wonderful relationship with my former husband and his wife. They have two young children I love and adore. We all celebrate our children’s birthdays, Christmas, and special events together. I have the most amazing friends who I have so much fun with and would be there for me at any given moment. I have a close relationship with a Higher Power who guides me daily. Most recently a dream came true when Hazelden published my first book, A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery.
4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
That someday I will be grateful I am an alcoholic.
5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?
“I am more than enough.”
Definitely my book being published by Hazelden.
7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?
Easy Does It
8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’
Because it gives me the most amazing life I could ever have imagined.