Tuesday, 16 December 2014

AA Slogans in my Mothering

I have spent years in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I've never been drunk in my life, but I've abused food in the way others abuse alcohol and had found a way to live sanely through GSA, a group that directly applies AA principles to food issues. When there were no GSA meetings in my area, for years I attended AA meetings, and studied their literature in depth throughout my recovery.

I'm no longer a member of GSA because I was supernaturally healed - any AA/GSA member will tell you that recovery is a life long process, you are never 'healed', and that is true in the natural; but one day, I was set free and I knew it and I have never looked back. But that's a story for another day.

What I want to share is how what I learned from AA applies directly to my mothering, and is keeping me sane. Those slogans are lifesavers. You may want to memorise some of them...

  • One Day At A Time.I had a bracelet made with this slogan on. I tend to live in the future and worry it, and I have to pull myself back. Mr. is very good at not pointlessly worrying and he helps me with that as well.
    Can I face today? I can do almost anything for just today. I can do this, today.
  • Easy Does It.Simply put: relax! Whatever the insurmountable hardship is that I'm facing right now, let's relax and perhaps I don't have to fret and tense up. As long as I plod on, do the next right thing, easy does it.
  • First Things First.What needs doing right now? What is absolutely non-negotiable? Not many things are, really. When in recovery from alcohol, the first thing is to not drink. When mothering, what are the first things? There aren't many. Relax. Breathe. Figure out what First Things are.
  • Live and Let Live.This applies both to baby and to other parents... I've found that everyone's an expert on parenting. Except for me, I'm a total novice. But the truth is, they may be experts on their children, but not on mine. And equally I have no wisdom to give on other people's kids, either. I can share what works for me and mine, but it may not work for them and theirs. And that's OK. They do things their way and I have no expectation of doing things the same way - their way isn't wrong, nor is mine. 
  • Keep It Simple.
    Success in AA is staying away from the bottle. Simple! (though not easy.) I have a tendency to overcomplicate and overthink things in my head - this slogan reminds me that it's probably not nearly as complex as I make it to be. Whatever 'it' is.
  • But For the Grace of God.
    Or, in full, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." Whenever I'm tempted to feel smug about anything, this slogan is so helpful to remember... if I didn't have such an easy baby, if I didn't have the information I do have, if if if - that parent who totally does it "wrong" in my eyes, I could be them.
    Probably a very useful slogan to have in the toddler years, when meltdowns become a thing - never, ever judge the mother of a difficult toddler. It's her today, it'll be me tomorrow. Today, but for the grace of God.
  • Let Go and Let God.
    Most of the time at this stage, I can manage my child. I determine everything in her life. She feeds on demand because I allow her to - I could do things differently. But as she grows up, I will need to let go and let God. I'll need to trust. Unclench my fist.
  • Feelings aren't Facts.
    One of my favourites... how I feel at this particular moment is a valid feeling, but that does not make it fact. I may feel like everything is falling apart; two hours later, in total control again. Neither is fact. Fact is, I'm doing the best I know how to do, and we're muddling through. Never act on feelings, they aren't facts.
  • Fake It 'til you Make It.
    If I feel I can't do it, it's too much: fake it. Again I think this will become more and more useful as baby grows. She'll look to me for guidance. She'll expect me to anchor her, yet when she feels overwhelmed so might I! But I can fake it, fake the confidence and trust, until I truly acquire it.
  • Meeting Makers Make It.
    In AA, meetings are the lifeline of every member. They 'keep it green' for those who've been sober a long time, by hearing others' fresh stories of misery. I don't need to hear parenting misery stories, but I do need community. An isolated parent is a vulnerable one. I can't do this alone - I do believe in the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Meeting with others, being part of community, is how I can make it.
  • Surrender.
    My life has changed. I can't have my old life back. Trying to recreate it and 'fit baby in' to my old life will just make me miserable. I need to figure out how to live happily in this new life, not pine for the old.
Lastly, I'll leave you with the full version of the Serenity Prayer, which I pray at least daily. 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time,
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace,
taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is and not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him forever and ever in the next.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks alot for this Sunny! alot of this resonates with me! Glad I'm not alone :)


Thanks so much for sharing!