3 Common Fears of Mothers Seeking Treatment
Seven years ago, when I entered treatment, I was a mess. My focus was on getting through my withdrawals, and I wasn’t able to focus on anything else. After detox I began to feel human again until I realized I was going to be away from my children. My instinct was to run to them, beg their forgiveness and promise to never leave them again. However, I’d spent most my children’s lives begging forgiveness because of my addiction to methamphetamine and morphine. I was physically present for most of their milestones, but I wasn’t there emotionally. I was constantly thinking about how I was going to get high. My children were not my priority. So why was it so difficult to seek treatment as a mom? Here are 3 common fears of mothers seeking treatment:
“I can’t be away from my children for this long.“
In reality we’ve been absent from our children’s lives for the majority of our addiction. Some of us may have been physically present, but we weren’t there emotionally or spiritually. I wanted to explain to my children how my disease hindered my ability to show them love. Guilt consumed me. However, within the first week of treatment my counselors helped me realize it took time to get here, and it would take time to heal. From this point, I began to believe in a power greater than myself. I believed I could be restored to sanity and returned to the lives of my children.
“I’m afraid someone will take custody of my children.”
Custody is complicated, but when a mother is actively seeking treatment it strengthens her ability to parent. Historically judges rule favorably to parents who have completed treatment.
“I don’t want my children to be scared because I’m in a treatment facility.”
Cumberland Heights has a beautiful campus on the banks of the Cumberland River. There are relaxed areas to visit with children including a playground and gymnasium to allow for play. Although it was wonderful to see my children while I was in treatment it was also emotionally and physically exhausting. I hadn’t been fully present with them in such a long time it took a lot of effort to become an attentive parent again. At this point the treatment center began to represent a place of healing opposed to a place secluding me from my children.
After going through treatment and especially the family program, I was able to realize one day clean with my children was worth more than a year high. Today, I would say the time spent away from my children in treatment was actually the most present I’ve ever been with them. I’m grateful for the ability to be present with my children, which I’ve learned to do through a 12-Step program. Now I have an amazing relationship with both my son and daughter, and we’re all learning how to be in each others lives.
Yolanda Lancaster graduated from Lipscomb University with a Bachelors of Social Work in 2015 and received her LADAC II in December 2016. She is a primary counselor in the Women’s Program at Cumberland Heights and sits on the board of Mending Hearts, a nonprofit treatment center for women. She is actively working her own 12-Step program, as well as nurturing, repairing and re-building relationships with her children.