Two Years of Sober Motherhood: A Love Note To My Daughter On Her Birthday

Alicia Gilbert
5 min readSep 22, 2019

On this day, two years ago, I was waddling around the mall with my husband and mother. Doctor’s orders. He told me to walk thirty minutes every day, but the plantar fasciitis ravaging my tired feet made it nearly impossible.

Still, I tried.

I was on Week 40 of a rough pregnancy and desperately needed this baby to come out. My mother was only in the country for three weeks and my husband was slated to begin his new job in three days.

Timing was everything.

I remember eating at Buca di Beppo and playfully encouraging my daughter to start making her way. Later that night, around 1 AM, she did.

My mother whisked us away to the hospital, where my water conveniently broke all over the sidewalk.

Seventeen long hours later, I was holding this tiny, six pound, baby girl on my chest while my mother tearfully cheered from behind the curtain.

I know you’re supposed to say that you were instantly in love, but honestly it was one of the most confusing, frightening moments of my life.

The weeks and months that followed were a firestorm of doctor’s visits, sleep deprivation, isolation, and tears — hers and mine.

If I’m honest, I wasn’t always sure I’d make it.

Tomorrow is my daughter’s second birthday.

Two years since she made me a mom and changed my life.

I was about three weeks sober when I found out she was the reason I couldn’t keep food down or get a handle on my moods. I have no idea what my sobriety would’ve been like had I not been pregnant, if I’d have been as successful.

Sharing your body with another living being changes the way you treat it.

At least, it did for me.

She was everything…

There was no level of craving a cigarette or drink that was strong enough to surpass my innate desire to protect her. So in many ways, she saved me.

Being her mother has taught me how to be selfless.

Like most people who abuse alcohol, I was self-absorbed. The volume of my pain was so loud that I struggled to exist beyond it.



Alicia Gilbert

Alicia is the founder of Soberish, a website that focuses on recovery, mental health, and wellness. Read more at