I’m A Long-Distance Mother In Long-Term Recovery From Addiction

Chelsea Anne Dueitt is a long-distance mother in long-term recovery.

I started my recovery journey in 2012, when I took a stay in a three month long, all women’s treatment facility in Mobile, AL. Not long after I completed treatment I decided to take my will back and relapsed. I lived in the chaotic state of relapse after relapse for a year until I was so tired of the consequences I was facing and I decided to make some real changes in my life. Today, I am proud of the person I have become and I am proud to say that since August 28, 2013, I have not used any mood or mind altering substances.

Before finding a true pathway of recovery, I relied on self to get me through my pain. I went to extreme lengths to justify my behaviors and I made excuse after excuse in order to get away with using crystal meth everyday. “I could stop anytime I wanted,” “I am not an addict, I just enjoy letting loose,” “using this substance has helped me be a better student, a better mom, a better wife and it has helped me be skinnier.” These were my justifications anytime that I solely relied on myself to achieve recovery. I always found my way back to a relapse. I needed to be around people like me who were living recovery and I desperately needed to get away from the destructive environment that I found myself in. I took a leap of faith and decided to move to the northeastern region of USA. I have not looked back since then.

I have faced so many challenges, including one that I still face today: living 1000 miles away from my 6 year-old son, Rhett. When I moved from Mississippi to Maryland, I made the decision to only be away from my son and my family for a year and then make a transition back home. I have learned that my plans do not always work out the way that I have hoped. Now, after living in recovery and living in Maryland for over three years, I have learned to be thankful for the opportunity I got to move, learn and grow in my recovery before going back.

There will never be ‘no place like home,’ but there are always lessons that can be learned from living in different regions. After leaving treatment, I had every intent on working a program of recovery, but when twelve step fellowship groups are over an hour away, it makes a meeting a day very difficult.

I share my story in hopes that mothers (and fathers) who may be feeling guilt and shame for their recovery journey know that there is no shame in gain.  I have gained more in the past three years than I could have ever imagined. I have my confidence back, I feel worthiness, I feel complete and I feel loved because I love myself. Since I have been in recovery, I have gained visitation rights back with Rhett and he is allowed to come see me in Maryland. I have gained a wonderful recovery network locally and nationally. I have gained a professional career in which I work hard every day so that all people seeking treatment may have a chance. I have gained acceptance into many colleges and by this time next year, I will have earned a college degree! I have gained so many interpersonal things – like feelings of freedom and wholeness and spiritual wellbeing – things that I never had even before I started using drugs.

There are days that I imagine using drugs again and there are times, even with three years clean, that I think that using again might have its advantages. I still have moments of anger and sadness. Even though I have forgiven myself, I still have moments of shame and embarrassment for having to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to get better. There are moments when I wonder about the future and if my son will forgive me for leaving him in order to get better.  Working a “one day at a time” program has most certainly helped with those thoughts. I have goals. And as long as I’m doing what I need to be doing – just for today – I have faith that I will one day reach those goals.

I have nothing to feel remorse or sadness over anymore. For the longest time, I lived my life as a victim. I wished and longed for things like a better relationship with my father, a boyfriend who would revolve their world around me, and to be thinner and more attractive. When I did not get those things, I retreated and found excuses to act in irresponsible ways. Today, I no longer play the victim. I take responsibility, I tell the truth and I live my life in an effort to reach all of my goals.

Recovery has given me that gift.

The gift of acceptance for the present and perusal for the future.  That is something I never had before and something I hope to never lose.

If I could just be a voice to others to let everyone know that recovery IS POSSIBLE and sometimes reaching a stable recovery involves taking leaps of faith.  Although I am still not where I need to be, I am grateful I took a leap of faith in order to become a better human being and ultimately a better mother. I still have a goal to move closer to my son, but until then I will continue to push forward by making myself a better person and my community a better place to live in.

“My recovery must come first so that everything else I love in life does not have to come last.”