I must admit: on a social level, this life of mine can be isolating sometimes – with or without Quarantine.
My transformation from a prescription drug addicted Mother has exceeded my expectations. I attribute my almost 60 lb weight loss to Keto, Cannabis, my kids and overall RECOVERY. The pictures on the left were taken in December 2018 and January 2019. In February 2019, I stopped eating junk food and candy every day.
I had been working out in my bedroom shortly after we moved in but I chase after them so much there’s no need to for now. My body is a true representation of my dedication to living a different lifestyle. This is the first time I’ve achieved weight loss without self-destructive behaviours attached so I’m proud of that.
At this life stage, I’m supposed to be happily married with a Family intact. That’s the industry standard at least but because I’m not married anymore, I get to focus on myself way more than the average woman. It’s hard to relate to other mothers and women who are at my age, so many of my friends are a bit older. I enjoy that change however because many of them are authentic, strong Type-A’s like myself.
My best friend of over 20 years is a strong Alpha Female who has been by my side throughout this process. She is a strong reminder of who I was before and her support helps me in so many ways. On my birthday she came by with her kids and I felt so grateful. She is one of those people who feels emotional changes or bad energy within a person, place or thing. I couldn’t get by without her.
No Mother dreams that her daughter will end up divorced by 35 but as a Mother of 3 girls, I pray none of them end up a statistic relating to Addiction and other mental health problems. So much had followed me into Adulthood, Motherhood and Marriage that I almost feel like I couldn’t have avoided drug dependency even if I tried.
If you knew me before I got married and had kids; you’d know that I had big plans for myself. That I was fun, adventurous but serious and determined. I made no secrets about who I was to anyone either. If you grew up in my hometown, you knew all about me, my brother or could easily find people who did.
Growing up in a small Community that was obsessed with looks, athletics and money; everyone knew everyone.
From 20-30 years of age; my only responsibilities at home at the time was my dog.
I sacrificed fun and adventure for a little while to really dedicated time to my career during those formative years known as the Accumulation Stage.
It’s during those years people buy homes, generate equity and begin building their net worth.
It was during those years that I was entirely focused on myself.
It’s during those years people buy homes, generate equity and begin building their net worth.
It was during those years that I was entirely focused on myself.
Through it all I vocalized that I didn’t see myself with children.
I was given a final ultimatum on that which sealed my fate but I struggled with the decision. I sought professional counselling for awhile and almost broke it off but ultimately kept on going. My Mother encouraged the marriage and her husband had given us $10k for the deposit on our new house a few years prior.
This was the first and only time I had been given such financial support from her and maternal attention. Every thing I had done up to this point was done entirely on my own. I believed that my Mother had fundamentally changed and all this signalled something positive in our long-struggling relationship.
Despite every effort on my part, the cycle between Mother and Daughter would continue.
I enjoyed being a busy-body who worked all the time. If everyone believed me to be that, they would never guess that inside I felt like a fraud. Not because I didn’t have the credentials, the experience or the backing but simply because I’d never been raised to believe I was good enough. If you saw what I grew up in, you would understand.
When you are raised by a Mother or Family like mine: you must develop thick skin immediately. If I think of all the times I reacted to the things she did or said, I can only imagine the times I didn’t and held it in; locking it away deep inside. It was all of those moments that added up to a deep-seeded feeling of emptiness, unworthiness and confidence.
My confidence only came from realizing over the years that I am good at doing things and have made big accomplishments.
One of those big ones has to be Motherhood – I see it in my children. For they have been through a lot on an emotional level but they are happy and healthy. They do not show any signs of trauma from my time away or me being Ill. Through it all, they have adjusted quite well.
I would never call my former spouse a bad parent or father because he isn’t. Quite simply put, all of his supports are trapped in their own pasts and reactions therefore they lead by that. Over time however it will become a bigger problem as our daughters become more aware to who their parents really are.
That is because despite everything, they still need to feel secure. They need to trust both of their caregivers but they also share a close, loving bond with me (and each other) that’s genuine. If they feel that’s being threatened somehow (even if it’s my own doing like a relapse for example) – they would behave in a manner that describes how they feel inside.
In other words, they would begin acting out.
One of the most defining attributes of a dysfunctional family dynamic is the “Golden Child, Scapegoat, Forgotten One/Flying Monkey” bullshit that I want to prevent.
A Mother’s love should never be competed for or come with conditions.
Never should a Mother pit her children up against each other to get that love and acceptance either.
Children first learn how to be bullies from their parents and close family.
No matter how someone feels about the parents of those children, they should always promote a positive relationship.
There are so many stories I haven’t told that would paint an ever bigger picture of what’s happened to lead me to this point.
Quite frankly I am not the only Addict in my Family but I am the only one who has undergone structured recovery with various types of treatment with traceable sobriety under my belt for 2 years. It was other people’s addictions that allowed me to hide behind mine so well but it also made me feel so much more shame as well.
This time last year I wasn’t even allowed to take my children away for a weekend because I was under investigation for Cannabis after I tried to move out last Spring. Within a few weeks of asking for a Separation, my ex, his Family and my Mother did everything they could to stop us from leaving.
That’s right. No one was talking about my Opiate Addiction but after a year of battling it right before so many eyes; all while in sole supervision of my children, no one said or did a thing. It was all the sudden something else became a problem and I was being called a terrible, neglectful, troubled by person who deserved to lose everything including her kids.
I was severely underestimated.
This is known as “Raising the Goalpost.”
It’s when someone who holds emotional power over you continually changes the rules or dynamics of the relationship. When it’s considered OK for them to do certain things and maybe you can too, but only within certain parameters or maybe not at all.
In my case, I was given a Vape Pen for Christmas shortly after my 3rd baby arrived.
Nothing was said about my emotional, physical or psychological behaviour but rather an annoyance at how much Cannabis Vape Cartridges actually cost. I had no access to a Bank Account as everything had become just his and I was only a name on an account for deposit purposes.
Anything I needed or wanted; I had to ask permission for. When you go to someone who doesn’t consume Cannabis at all nor do they share the intimate relationship you do with it; how could they understand?
They cannot really so they just see the dollars and cents, not how it actually helps you. Also something to consider about this situation: I was completely isolated from support on purpose. My former husband flat out refused to support me in attending Aftercare.
In my case, my former spouse knew damn well Cannabis not only helped me but it was a big part of my life for how I enjoyed socializing. I don’t go out and drink. I would go out and smoke a Joint with a friend.
Cannabis had never intoxicated me if I was being responsible with it and historically – I always have been. He also knew there were many other things I could do to enjoy my life which would reduce the need to consume any substances but people get to know you.
They know what makes you tick, and what makes you go crazy.
Whenever I’d ask for money to go purchase Cannabis; he would start a fight about it; making me justify why I needed to buy it. I’d become so upset and exhausted from answering and arguing that it made me need to medicate with Cannabis more. He knew this and was trying to make it appear as if I was emotionally unstable from not being able to have it.
There is a big difference and the in-between is emotionally abusive behaviour.
Then he’d accuse me of abusing it even though I had been very rigid about my use and even kept it at my neighbours house so I’d only smoke with her at a certain time. The vape pen I used for micro-dosing but it’s a premium concentrate. You pay lots of money for the handiness of avoiding smell and smoke.
Nothing I offered or suggested helped until I came up with a plan to buy Cannabis products wholesale with my former Spouses full support. As soon as he realized I was using it to plan my exit – it became “drug dealing, black market, criminal enterprises, active addiction.”
Only this time, there were many things happening in the background that would help prevent him from being successful. My recovery and dedication to my children’s safety is very real and genuine. It’s incorporated into everything I do and so I’ve got nothing to hide; therefore nothing to lose.
I was a very dangerous person while using Opiates but not necessarily on a cognitive level. Earlier in my Addiction; my tolerance was weaker therefore pills did intoxicate me from time to time. What made me dangerous was the desperation that came with opiate withdrawal and the lengths I’d go just to avoid that.
My tolerance exceeded my ability to finance my addiction in its final year. During that year, there was nothing stopping me from doing whatever I needed to do. If I needed to steal money from my Husband, I did that. If I needed to pay off a maxed out credit card, I called my Mother and she paid it.
For the first time in my life, people were financially “helping” me and enabled me to the tune of thousands. In my first year of Recovery, I made amends to my former spouse and he was financially restored to the best of my ability.
For 5 years, he had no idea I was even suffering from this because I hid the emotional, physical and financial burden so well.
Eventually more years will pass and so will all the bad things I did to get pills – it may become a distant memory.
But the reality of my life is that I may always require a prescription for Cannabis to manage Anxiety. So far I’ve navigated what a Single Mother In Recovery using Medicinal Cannabis should look like with several professional supports with transparency and honesty.
There was no choice in the matter really when it came to my kids. It was important that they knew they were safe with their Mother above all.
Kids will usually tell you when they aren’t feeling secure or safe. That’s why talking to them and listening more than you talk is important. I usually know when my oldest child needs to have a chat because she will complain of a stomach ache or a tight chest. I know this intimately as I suffered long term with these symptoms throughout my childhood.
It doesn’t take much to get my daughter talking and sometimes she just wants to get something about her sister off her chest, but it does get serious too. Divorce is hard on kids and kids do naturally feel vulnerable without their Dads around all the time. To further complicate things, my children have had to adjust to not seeing my Mother and the conflict surrounding those circumstances.
That’s a lot for a little 5 year old to process and it’s important she feels heard and validated. I think it’s one of the most important aspects of raising a daughter so that she chooses a partner who can reciprocate as they only know the same. If she is emotionally abused by a parent, the likelihood of her entering an abusive relationship skyrockets.
My former spouse and I did not have this from our parents growing up for various reasons. Without something dramatic like recovery happening, I never would have changed so I could recognize what my girls actually need from me.
It was only when I became a Mother myself that I fully understood what unconditional love even felt like. Even then I thought it shrunk me somehow and that I was a weaker person because I wanted to skip work to be with my kid. I did it to myself. I had built myself up inside to never compromise; not even for love.
The love I received and gave to my children exceeded all of my ability to compromise. Once I got better from my addiction, I saw how the way I used to live my life had affected my relationships. So many of them had turned sour just from me finally telling everyone how sick I really was but my marriage was the most toxic of them all.
For the almost 2 years I’ve been trying to sort all this out, the people closest to us were plotting and planning in order to protect my former Husband. I have no doubt there were measures in place in case I relapsed but also in case I tried to leave. Rather than anyone focusing on meaningful support and empathy – I became the target of everyone’s anger.
The partner I chose probably would have made a better Partner (and she no doubt a better wife) with someone who understands his culture and nationality. It would be an even better match if she came from the same family dynamics that he’s used to because ours was the complete opposite. Communication may have been somewhat similar but that’s where it stops.
In terms of communication styles; we had the same type of Mothers who yelled a lot. We bonded over that big time when we first got together but now I wonder how bad it really was or was he just trying to get me to trust him. Either way, on a physical communicative level – our first real fights only began after we moved in together.
For the first time in my life I chose to shut up and just say OK rather than argue. Back then it was the first time in my life I actually had more than just a dog to lose in a relationship. We had bought a house and so I felt obligated to work very hard at making this work even if it was depressing me.
Year after year, I continually swept red flags about myself, my relationship and him under the rug. By 2018, I was nearly on deaths door.
In every other component of my life before this marriage and motherhood – I was a total Alpha Female; driven by my dreams and ambition, with a strategic plan to make me successful. I did all that very quickly as my typical overachiever self would always allow me do but it never felt good enough.
There wasn’t just my Mothers voice in the back of my head telling me I wasn’t good enough any more. Now it was his voice; and then my own – always trying to change me until the day I actually gave in. I remember it. I remember knowing if I start taking these prescribed percocets, I probably won’t be able to stop. They will be too good. And they were.
Eventually, I stopped listening to everything and feeling shitty; just numbed out. I went on auto-pilot. Every few months, something good would happen like when my friend got married in the Dominican Republic and I went a whole week without pills and didn’t feel withdrawal. I was convinced then that it was work stress and I needed to change my job.
Within months I had a big promotion lined up but 4 months in; I was using again.
That same friend had a baby a year later in 2013, shortly after I got married. I went to visit her in New York City. I had been teeter tottering between Percocet and Tylenol 1s for a few months because I had genuinely been trying to stop because we wanted a baby. I had convinced myself I was ready and that any slip-ups would stop once I became pregnant.
I had brought a few Percocets with me but ran out quickly so I did end up in Withdrawal. I had stayed in the City alone for the final 2 days but I walked it off. I felt like shit and definitely felt mild withdrawal but bearable. I went to St. Patrick’s Church and prayed for a few minutes asking to be freed from this awful burden. Almost instantly it felt like I had been and I felt so excited to go home.
I got pregnant the month after that trip and maintained complete abstinence with my 1st pregnancy.
If my circumstances and past had been different, maybe I would have just been the type of addict who is physically dependant but I am not. I am indeed the type of Addict who has been an Addict all her life as a response to depression, exhaustion, trauma and PTSD. I can track addictive behaviours all the way back to my childhood.
No one knows these stories. I couldn’t share them with just anyone because no one knew I was an Addict but now it’s worth it.
Telling these stories makes sure everyone knows now but it has also helped countless people who read them. I’d never give away their identities but I know what I do with Cannabis, Addiction and this blog is indeed working to help bring awareness.