Industry leaders need to do a better job at making tailored treatment options and recovery support services available for mothers. Rosemary O’Connor, author of “A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery: Taking Care of Yourself to Take Care of Your Kids,” says it’s important to create awareness around the common issues typically faced by mothers in treatment and recovery—among women, families, and clinicians alike—and to ensure access to specialized support so that mothers can receive the proper tools for lasting recovery.
“The field does so much to help people and the ripple effect it has on families, but there is very little to no specific help for mothers,” says O'Connor, a recovery coach. “There are women’s groups all over, but I don’t know of any that are specific to mothers, and we have specific needs [in recovery].”
O’Connor provides specialized services to help other mothers address the issues that she struggled with during recovery. She adds that the two biggest issues moms face when they leave treatment are guilt and a sense of being overwhelmed, and counselors, coaches, and clinicians need to prepare for this.
“We also really need to educate moms that there are many women like them out there, that they’re not alone, and that there are solutions,” she says. “I have a lot of mothers coming to me and it’s just specific day-to-day stressors where even if they don’t relapse, it affects them and it affects their children.”
Local treatment centers have started referring women to O'Connor's sober living home located on a private beach in San Rafael, Calif., because it’s for women over 30 and a majority of the residents are mothers.
“It was just kind of organic starting the sober living home,” she says. “It’s very small—just three beds—but it was a need. We’re just scratching the surface.”