An Interview with Deanna Richardson, Volunteer and Peer Recovery Participant
Help a Mom Recover is a series that spotlights moms in Maggie’s Recovery Community. Please consider honoring the moms in your life with a gift to The Magdalen House this Mother’s Day. YOU can help a mom recover.
How has alcoholism impacted you as a mother?
Alcoholism has impacted me in a very positive way as a mother. Mainly because it brought me to A.A., then God. And as a result of that, I get to be present to teach my kids the life path filled with hope, joy, love, understanding, and perseverance.
What do you wish others knew about you as a mom and an alcoholic?
That perfection has nothing to do with motherhood or sobriety. Sometimes I hear others say when they look into my life, they think my life is perfect! But honestly, that has been the farthest from the truth. In fact, with three kids, three jobs, and A.A. commitments….it is chaos at times! Back in my early sobriety I honestly thought that I would have to be Mother Theresa and never make any mistakes to stay sober and happy. Now looking back after 13 years in the program, wow was I so… wrong!
I have awakened a lot of things along my spiritual journey, but I think one of the most important was that mistakes are a necessity. Having made a ton of them over the years, I now know that if I try to be perfect then I am saying in effect… I don’t need God. But when I allow myself to be human, therefore imperfect… that’s when my heart and mind opened. My conception really started to grow, and spiritual freedom began to happen.
Have your children been affected by your recovery?
Yes! I am teaching them about the program and the spiritual principles I use, and in turn, they have adopted a lot of them into their own lives (especially the teenagers). They go to meetings with me, have learned the life and death errand of sponsorship, and study the Big Book with me so I can give it away and help others. They have also come to realize that as alcoholics we are not bad people, just very sick.
Are they actively engaged in helping some of their friends in the same situation as they were in?
My 17-year-old was suicidal, but after me recommending he try Al-Anon and applying the steps to his life he has recovered 100%. He has not thought of suicide and no longer suffers from bouts of depression. He even has stopped faking seizures (which he had been doing for years). He is not on step 12 yet but is excited about the possibility of helping someone else, and often tells me he is a support for other kids at school.
How do the principles you’ve learned through recovery help you be a better mommy?
The truth is there is always going to be a crazy side of life. And as a mom, it is pretty cool to get to show these kids that the spiritual principles I follow really work! Sometimes we all get filled with anger, fear, regret or pain. But most of the time when these happen in my life today, God immediately allows me to match calamity with serenity. And, oh man, what an awesome real-life testament to the kids that this program and God really works!
What is it like balancing motherhood and recovery?
Sometimes it seems like it will be impossible, that there is no way I’ll have enough time. But I make a schedule, ask God to remove my fear, and take action! And I’ll tell you what, God has never let me down. He provides everything I need at exactly the right moment. It just works out! I don’t really know how to explain it. But the more women I sponsor, and service work I do, the smoother my life becomes.