‘Do You Love Your Children?’

In rehab, everyone would intro- duce themselves like, “I’m so- and-so and I’m an addict,” but I didn’t believe I was an alcoholic, so I would say,
“I’m Rosita,” and that would be that.

Then one day the director of my rehab group asked me, “Do you love your children?”

“Yes, I do, very much,” I told him.
“No, you don’t,” he replied.
“How can you stand there and tell me I don’t love my chil- dren?”
“Because if you did love your children you wouldn’t need our services.”

I felt stunned, like someone had hit me over the head with a rock. He was right. His com- ment made me feel I needed to get serious about my rehabilitation so I could love my girls like a real mother should. I finally realized that my drinking prob- lem was serious, and that my girls were removed because of my actions.

Soon after, when it was my turn to introduce myself, I said, “Good morning, my name is Rosita and I’m an alcoholic.” To my surprise, the group started clapping and saying, “She finally admitted it.” That was a great feeling. I think they were just waiting for me to come to my senses.

In rehab, I learned to love myself again and to feel strong despite feelings like shame, betrayal and worthlessness. I learned that, while drinking, I couldn’t be of any use to any- one because my main concern was getting drunk. By staying sober, I could connect with and take care of my kids.

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