11pm, 2am, 4am, 6am ….. The baby is screaming for milk again and another nappy needs changing! How do I keep any kind of conscious contact with God, with very little sleep and even less time? The answer lies in keeping my priorities in the right order.
As new mum, my natural tendency was to prioritise shifting the baby weight and to keep a clean and tidy home. But, being an alcoholic means that my priorities need to be different. Mum handbooks and websites advise using babies nap times for exercise and housework. While these are not bad things in themselves, if it meant neglecting my step 11 then I needed to take a look at my priorities.
Being a new mother, my emotions were all over the shop for a while. Again, all the advice points towards visiting your GP and asking for medication. In reality, it is just extreme tiredness, adjusting to a new way of life and of course those pesky things called hormones (sorry guys!) These were more reasons to really persist with prayer and meditation.
I discovered that night feeds could be a lovely opportunity to spend some time in quiet contemplation and prayer. Some days I was so exhausted, but I really needed to arrange my life around my programme and not the other way around. So, if my house was a mess, so be it and if I didn’t lose the ‘mummy tummy’ for a while – at least I was spiritually fit!
Another area where step 11 helped me was guidance. During times of doubt, I was able to get quiet and receive guidance from that small, still voice of God. Often, this was around simple things like sleep training and weaning. Simple – but of course all new to me, so I needed help. I feel this has all paid off, as baby is sleeping well through the night and thriving during the day.
I am so thankful to my partner, who is happy to take over when he gets in from work, so I can take some quiet time – even though he is tired from work himself. (He also, took over the night feeds at weekends so I could catch up on sleep – that was a lifesaver for me.)
All three of us have come through this first year unscathed – happy and sober. This, I am sure, is solely due to keep our priorities straight. Because I have continued to seek God, through prayer and meditation, I have had the energy and time to continue with AA service and helping newcomers. I have even been able to take advantage of living next to a cycle track and get back out on my bike again.
Of course, the MOST important thing I have maintained is attending my home group regularly. It is there, that I am reminded of what my priorities need to be. We pay a babysitter on Fridays. It is preferable to having my son’s life torn apart by alcoholism. When my sponsor asked if I was willing to go to any lengths, I meant it.
We now have exciting new challenges ahead of us. However, I hold on to my favourite passage from ‘As Bill Sees It’ and I know that if I continue and persist with seeking a loving, friendly Higher Power then, all will be well.
“As the doubter tries the process of prayer, he should begin to add up the results. If he persists, he will almost surely find more serenity, more tolerance, less fear and less anger… Problems and calamity will begin to mean his instruction, instead of his direction. He will feel freer and saner… His anxieties will commence to fade. His physical health will be likely to improve. Wonderful and uncountable things will start to happen. Twisted relations in his family and on the outside will improve surprisingly”
Jo P., Plymouth Road to Recovery