An Interview with Patrice Olootu, Social Detox Alumna

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.

Has your experience of parenting changed since you got sober? Is there a distinct before and after?

Definitely, and believe me, it is for the good of my entire family! I am more attentive, loving and interested in my children’s lives. I pray more than ever before. And, I actually pause and don’t feel like I have to “react” to everything that is not the way I want it to be. The most significant change is that they trust me and want to be around me.

How have your children been affected by your recovery?

They notice that I go out of my way to help others, which was not me before my sobriety. They, in turn, have followed suit and they have said it is a great feeling to help others.  I also share excerpts from the Big Book, and it helps them to understand more about the disease of alcoholism. This time around my oldest son and my husband attended the Family Support meeting while I was in detox at Maggie’s, and that was the first time they took that level of interest.

Is your family unit stronger since you got sober?

Our family unit is much stronger since I got sober and growing stronger day by day. They share more of their personal life with me because I’m present and they know I am listening and will remember the conversation days later. That was always an issue. I would make promises to do things and not remember and that behavior affected their trust in me.

How has alcoholism impacted you as a mother?

I could dwell on the things that impacted me negatively regarding my alcoholism, but I know better now. My alcoholism has made me a much better member of society as a whole, and It did not take long at all for my family to notice that change to occur.  It was noticeable when I was in detox! My faith has increased tremendously. I am not perfect, but I have NEVER relied on God as much as I do now. I have allowed God to order my steps and I no longer make those hasty decisions that sometimes would end in disaster for us all. As a family, we have all moved closer to God. We have always believed in God, attended church, etc. but our experience has taken on a new meaning. We are developing a genuine relationship with Him.

How do the principles you’ve learned through recovery help you be a better mommy?

Today, I try my best to live my life according to the spiritual principles I’ve learned as much as I can, and it has been life changing. I understand why the program is known as “a design for living,” and I am better in all areas of my life. In turn, there is a positive impact on my family and friends. Honesty and acceptance have been vital in my recovery more than anything. I cannot be dishonest, and I have to accept that things are the way they are supposed to be. Otherwise, I become restless, irritable and discontent and it is not worth my sobriety.

What is it like balancing motherhood and recovery?

It can be challenging at times, but it helps to set the expectation with your family that recovery has to come first, or I will die. I made some drastic decisions this time, and my family supports me 100%.  Recovery is working.

What do you wish others knew about you as a mom and an alcoholic?

My family does not look like what we have been through which confirms God had his hands on us the whole time. Indeed, he knows the beginning and the end. Honestly, my children have been through some challenges that would cause a lot of children to act out. I thank God for giving my husband and me the wisdom to set a firm foundation for them before this disease was totally out of control. In my addiction, I was not a good mother at all. I am incredibly grateful for another chance, and I will forever love him and praise him for all he has done.