Babies in Recovery

by Jackie V.

Alcoholism is like a colicky baby. If your life is like a bunch of spit-up, it’s telling you there’s work to do to get the burp up. There is a bunch of stuff to avoid and even more you could do everyday, or else your life will be as unmanageable as a screaming baby (all day and all night).

I’ve been in and out of the rooms for years now. I was very worried about going to meetings and having to start over again looking so pregnant. But the day before I went in for my C-section, I hobbled into the Chips and Salsa meeting, raised my hand and celebrated a month sober. It was so embarrassing… but I was applauded and congratulated like never before.

I was very worried about going to meetings and having to start over again looking so pregnant

I felt so welcome, yet the guilt of that need for a shot of liquor a day keeps nipping at my heels. The worry has eased because the very next week I came in and was welcomed back so warmly. Everybody made me feel so comfortable. I couldn’t believe it! Now I truly believe that that in itself helped heal me. 

Life as a new mother in A.A. has so far been very busy. At times I worry when the baby is fussy because what I eat affects his temperament. I can’t have milk, cheese, eggs, garlic, chocolate, sesame, most green gassy veggies, or beans. Now that takes some real determination being all hungry, a new mom and stuff. Same goes for sobriety: What we put into our bodies affects our behavior and thinking. If only we ended up screaming our heads off, maybe after the catharsis we wouldn’t be so “alcoholic. ” Sometimes I imagine alcoholism is like that, or wish we realized its effects to that degree, so we would all learn after the first drink. 

Once one of my favorite old timers left a meeting early due to the baby’s fussiness. Other times I’ve left due to the baby being inconsolable. But I try to get in as much as I can at meetings and that is always the goal. I make as many noon meetings as I can to stay sober. Sometimes I’ll get very self-conscious imagining what somebody might think, so I pass on raising my hand at anniversaries. Other times when asked about my sobriety I keep it at, oh I had a slip when he was conceived… But it still holds true how I am supported in my sobriety and do get encouraged when I speak up. And I thank my son for what a great motivator he is. Even though he doesn’t try, or know what that means yet, he’ll give me a coo and smile. In between feedings, burping, changing and troubleshooting his needs, I share what I’ve been learning because everyday more is revealed to me—this saying is so true.

Can’t you see the sparkle in my eye?

Oh, before I forget, if you know me, I’m an alcoholic, can’t you see the sparkle in my eye? LOL, had to have been there I guess, but now the baby gets all the attention and I so appreciate all the love and help we get in the rooms. Thank you!

I seem to be a rare find as there aren’t many other moms at the meetings I make. But there’s a playdate for that: San Francisco Public Health Nurses Dana and Steph have started a wonderful meeting at 2226 Taraval, the Recess Collective, every first Wednesday of the month from 1:00 to 3:00 P.M. And we’ve finally gotten a changing table at 2900 (24th Street at Florida), so if you are a new mom and need a meeting, 2900 is baby-friendly now.

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