Her Hand

mother and daughterOriginally posted January 2013.

I was lying on the floor next to her bed. Her little hand reached toward me from the comfort and furry pinkness of her blanket; both of us quiet, almost asleep really. The energy of her touch awakened me. I remember sitting up and looking, just looking trance-like and contented at her hand cradled in my palm. How precious was that little hand.

My first thought was of gratitude. How thankful I felt that she was here. Here in our home. My mind wandered to all the parents who had lost their children. I felt a moment of horror. I said my thank you.  For all I have endured in sobriety, the loss of a child has not been one of them.

I tumbled her 10 year old hand in mine. I weaved our mismatched fingers together. Here, now asleep, before me, was this beautiful life. This incredible person that had been gifted to me from the Universe. How fortunate I was.

Then for unknown reasons I felt guilty. I felt unworthy. Where was this coming from? I stayed with the thought. I let it speak to me.

Guilt:” You don’t deserve her. You have been a selfish and drunk mother. You owe me for allowing you to keep her.”

Me: “I owe you? What could I possibly owe you?”

Guilt: “A lifetime of feeling me.”

Me: “Of what value does that serve?”

Guilt: “It keeps me alive and I want to live.”

Me: “So I must live my life feeling you? This is my penance for having been a drunken mom?”

Guilt: “Yes”

Me: “Why must I keep you alive? Since when has this become part of my mission?”

Guilt: “Since forever—since the beginning.”

Me: “So who says you have to stay forever?”

Guilt: “You do.”

Me: “Then I un-choose you.”

Guilt: “It’s not that simple. I am welcome anytime you choose me. And you always, eventually choose me.”

Me: “Fine, then beginning right now, this moment, I un-choose you. So go away.”

Guilt: “That’s okay. I’ll be back. You always welcome me back.”

Me: “I will work at not welcoming you. And trust me, one day you will no longer be rooted so deeply.”

I looked at my little girl’s hand.  I touched the tips of her fingers. I felt the life force move through her. She was one year old when I got sober. She doesn’t remember me “drinking.” She remembers much, but not the drinking. Recovery was hard on my children. Seems we grew up together. The absence of alcohol doesn’t make a perfect mommy. It only makes a mommy that doesn’t drink alcohol. I had a lot to learn.

How incredible was this moment? I am sober. I am recovered from a hopeless state of mind. I am no longer obsessed with drinking alcohol. I am free.

It can no longer be about the moments I missed.
That time is gone.
It can only be about this moment.

Who am I being now?

What am I bringing now?

If I don’t choose love then I have chosen love’s opposite. And love’s opposite isn’t welcome here anymore. And this I work on every day.

Who would have thought one little hand could yield so much thought?



15 Responses to “Her Hand

  • Thank you, Lisa.


    And true for so many of us.

    Guilt not only wants to live, it wants the nourishment of our bad decisions to grow, and become stronger.

    Telling it “I un-choose you” is one of the Sane Things to Do that those who haven’t struggled with recovery don’t always understand.

    We can take responsibility for our errors without guilt.

    We can make amends without guilt.

    And we can grow into better selves without guilt– in fact, that’s a key part of the process.

    • I love how you write, “…it wants the nourishment of our bad decisions to grow, and become stronger.” So appropriate a description. Thank you for the, always keen, insight!

    • What a beautiful post nearly brought tears to my eyes which isn’t easy in this day 46 of recovery. I myself am the mother to a beautiful intelligent sensitive 12yr old girl. My daughter has suffered greatly due to my addiction and I do beat myself up a lot, althouigh I know this isn’t good and I try not to. Alcoholism blinds you its takes away all the precious moments with your children. It is so true in your blog I should concentrate on the times I have with my daughter now. I am so grateful that she is still in my life and my home and she loves me dearly and is proud of me for trying yet again to get better. its wrong that she needs to be proud of me, she deserved more from her mum. So I need to work really hard to get better and enjoy the present moment and the future with her. Guilt fear and pain will not drag me back to drink. I have a life with my beautiful daughter to be thankful for and look to the future, one day at a time. Thank you so much lisa you are an inspiration, and I ordered your book yesterday I look forward to reading it xx

  • Thank you so much for this touching post. The timing of it tells me the universe is holding me in her arms and is blessing me with the message from the open heart of one sober mom to another. I am grateful for your message.

    • Oh thank you for the nice words. My children have been my best teachers in sobriety. We help one another. Your reply allows me to feel connected to you too. Blessings. Lisa

  • That was a beautiful, beautiful post Lisa. Yours was one of the first blogs that I reached out to when I decided once and for all that this choice had to be a forever choice.

    I am now well over a year sober and sitting very comfortably with my choice, every night when I check my two babies (6 and 8 now) before I go to bed I and humbly grateful that I chose sober.

    I’ll remember your discourse with guilt the next time he comes a knocking too 🙂

    All the best,

    • Kirst, Thanks for the sweet words. I love when long time readers comment. I, too, flourish with the help of reading bloggers. Congrats on the year plus. I’ve never know anyone who regretted getting sober, but have known plenty that have regretted not staying sober. Cheers to many more sober days for both of us. My love, Lisa

  • catlinwellness
    9 years ago

    Lisa, we are blessed to have you in our community…

  • I absolutely love this post.


  • I have been struggling with alcohol for nearly 8 years now, I am a mum to an 8 years old girl. I have been trying for the last 3 years to stay sober and sometimes was successful for 3 months. But my mind is constantly slips over and I am in constant despair and guilt. This little hand story made me so emotional and this is exactly how I feel..the only one thing is I haven’t found my way to stay sober for good. I have a great hope though and I am ready to try hard to change my mind, because I have so much of love inside me.

    • The greatest words I can share with you are never give up hope. There are many people that can help you along the way. If, in your heart, sobriety is your path, there is no question in my mind that you won’t find the resources to support you. Keep asking. Keep talking. You are right … there is so much love inside you. Don’t be afraid to let it shine. Lisa

  • WOW. What a gift, this post. So powerful, resonating with me and my journey, my mind, and my deep battle with guilt; resonating … as well … with my deep longing and value for my freedom that is very much real, in spite of guilt. Excellent post.

  • I stumbled across your blog and was so thrilled to find someone who I can relate to. I could have written this post except that I have a son and not a daughter. I look forward to reading more of what you have to offer. Thank you for sharing!

  • thank you again lisa, I am new to this site so I think I left my comment to this post in the wrong place. It is up at the top of this page around the feburary comments sorry. not used to doing this, but i feel the need to connect with more people that I can relate too xx

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