DEAR ABBY: I am a single mother of two young children.
I decided to have gastric bypass surgery several years ago. Nine months after the procedure, I began drinking alcohol. The drinking became progressively heavier, and within a few months I was a full-blown alcoholic. It's as if I gave up binge eating for binge drinking. It took a year of struggle to stop, with the help of my friends and family, who pushed me to seek inpatient treatment.
I am now almost three months sober. But with sobriety I have lost a lot of the kindness from my support system. Despite my many apologies, some have told me of their disgust for me, and others have cut ties to me completely.
I believe their efforts to encourage me to seek help were driven by the fact I was a drunk mom. They wanted help for me so I could be a fit parent. However, now that I am in recovery, they no longer want to be a part of my life. The shame is real, and so is the loneliness.
I am now at a point where I need to ask: Am I justified to feel insulted by their lack of support and happiness for me now that I'm healthy and being the best mom I can? Or should I accept that I really messed up and be grateful I had help at all? -- SOBER BUT SAD IN IOWA
DEAR SOBER BUT SAD: It would be healthier to keep your eye on the positive and be grateful for the help you were given. It would also be healthier for you to associate with people who make you feel good about yourself, which may not be your family and current friends. In the past I have advised that sometimes it's necessary to build a support network, or "family of choice." And this is what I'm recommending you do.