Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What I missed

That middle one isn't mine.  But we like him.  
This might be me repeating myself, but this summer has been great so far.  I try to stay in the moment, and how awesome it is, but I sometimes look at my two youngest, and think of what I missed. 

I missed a lot because of my drug use. I'm not going to sit here and feel sorry for myself over it, because I can't change a goddamn thing about it. But I missed a lot.

I've got four kids. I have albums upon albums of the first two. I know this is typical of most families. I'm the last child in my family and there are a few shots of me in the play-pen. Face a little dirty. One professional shot of me, but much more of my brother and sister. I get it. It becomes less important (and easy)  to grab the camera as the kids keep piling on. Not to mention now, most shots are not printed, but kept on phones and computers. 

The videos I took of the twins as babies are somewhere in some computer, or packed away on tapes for video cameras we don't even own anymore.  But the biggest problem I have is that I don't remember years of their lives. I can't tell them the cute stuff they did. They ask me questions and I sometimes just make stuff up.  It isn't like I have bits and pieces of it. I don't remember anything. And if I think about those beautiful boys, and what they deserved, and what they got, well, I can get choked up and angry at the opportunity the disease of addiction took away from this family.  

Now, I understand that I was sick. And that I have worked very hard to get better. And that I am much better. We are spending so much quality time together. This camper thing has been such a gift. Playing UNO, bonfires, fireflies, swimming, trips to Lake Superior in Duluth, all kinds of adventures. My older two aren't that interested in anymore. But it is still happening. It has been me and my children, doing things that families should be able to do together. I am so grateful for that, and that I'm present and that I will remember.

They don't really remember me using (I never let them see), just as much as I don't really remember them being two, or three, or four, or five.  

Now my babies are going into 5th grade. The last year before middle school. I'm not going to think about that today, because I'll sob. I know what happens at middle school. They line up all of the kids and tell them "your parents are fucking losers and don't listen of respect anything they say or do."  And that shit breaks my heart. 

I've worked through the shame of what my using did to my kids. I will forever make amends to them by remaining sober, and present in their lives. But I would give everything I have to get back those precious years that I missed. They are beautiful kids. All of them. 

These are the sad facts of addiction. We can miss important life stuff.  This is the gift of recovery. We get to stop and appreciate every single moment. I love my life today. And the parts I don't love, I deal with. I know I'm lucky. 

Floating in Lake Superior.  


  1. You're doing the right thing Betsey. YOu cant dwell on the past but you can focus on the present and future and you are! Forgiveness of ourselves is the hardest.

  2. the little bit you missed will pale in comparrison to all the extra little things you will see because of your awareness of wanting to make up for the little bit of lost time. All the things the "norm" takes for granted leaves so much unnoticed and unappreciated. You have the gift of better sight. In the end you will come out with more memories then most the rest of us parents do :)

  3. I love that you share about the struggle as well as the strength. In recovery its so easy to talk about how GREAT everything is, NOW that we're sober. But that's only half the story - so thank you for telling the whole truth.

  4. Thank you, Betsy, for being brave enough to share your story. It gives me so much hope that I, too, can someday soon, be able to say that I am also clean and sober. I've missed alot of my daughter's young life also by closing my bedroom door just to get high. You're not alone. And now I know that I'm not alone either. Thank you again! Stay strong.

  5. ((((((hugs))))) You are present now Betsey, a highly alert Mom (the best kind of high). You can transfer those old video tapes onto DVDs - there are lots of places that are able to do so. I've said it before and I'll say it again; you are incredible!!!! Thank you for your continued beautiful honesty.

  6. Really deeply appreciative that you are sharing your story. This post and the one about missing meetings really resonated with me on many levels. Thank you!