M(3), 8/25: Teach Your Children Well


Can you seriously believe it is the last Monday in August?!?  The whole summer was fast, but this month felt like it played on fast forward!

So, last Monday of the month has my meeting continuing from the book Back to Basics, which outlines how a newcomer is taken through the 12 steps of recovery back in 1946.  Today we read through steps 8 and 9, which more or less felt like a continuation of last week’s meeting.  For those unfamiliar with the 12 steps of recovery:

Step 8:  made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all

Step 9:  made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

So now I am going to admit to a flaw in my meeting format that just came to my attention this morning.  The meeting chair is traditionally the first person to share after the reading selection has finished.  Since I am the only meeting chair at this particular meeting, I am always the first to share.  Normally, if I thought about this fact at all, I would think of it as a good thing… often people are slow to share, so I will happily break the ice for the group.  Here’s the flaw I just realized:  I am unintentionally coloring the sharing at the meeting.  In sharing what is on my mind and in my heart, I spoke about having The Talk with my children, and in finding the ring (if you are new just go back to the last post for details).  From my share forward, people shared about parenting in sobriety.

I’m feeling vaguely guilty about this, which I’m sure if I spoke to my fellow attendees about it, they would laugh their heads off, but I am admitting it anyway!

So less on the subject of step work, but still fabulous information disseminated.  Two of the greatest stories:

The first is from a woman who is coming up on her one year “soberversary.”  Her daughter is only 5 years old, so does not remember much about Mommy’s drinking days.  My friend says that her patience is shorter, and her temper is much stronger now that it ever was in active addiction (mostly because there was an option of pouring another glass of wine when her daughter was not behaving!).  Anyway, as our steps suggest, she promptly admits when she has done wrong in losing her patience with her 5-year-old.  She worried about doing this, as she grew up in a culture where parents did not apologize for anything.  If a kid got yelled at, they did wrong, period.  So she worried that her child would grow up not respecting her authority.

On the contrary, it would seem.  She finds that her 5-year-old has taken to modelling this behavior, and, when she has made a mistake, goes to her immediately and says, “Mommy I was wrong for doing that.”  Children learning what they live is a great thing for us in recovery, it seems!

Second story:  gentleman with 50 days of sobriety, talking about having The Talk from the other side of the fence.  He does not have kids, but he could relate in having to have this kind of open discussion with his own parents, and how they reacted.  He went on to talk about how much the experiences of this group, and other groups at other meetings, have helped him to open up.  He is able to deal with life on life’s terms, which is not easy for him at the moment:  early sobriety, dealing with a mental illness, legal consequences.  But in finding like-minded people, and following the suggestions given him, he has already felt a mental turnaround that is giving him the strength to persevere through his problems.

As always, I fail to cover half of all the great stuff, but it’s that time of year… back-to-school clothes shopping time, and with a strong-minded teenage girl at that.   My goal is to Keep.  My.  Mouth.  Shut.  Which could be today’s miracle, except I don’t want to jinx it so…

Today’s Miracle:

Looking forward to back-to-school shopping, despite some negative past experiences.  Today is a new day!!



Posted on August 25, 2014, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I can relate to your mom of a 5yo! I would have thought that I would be calmer without alcohol, but it’s not always the case. Had a trying time this evening with kids and did find myself thinking angrily, And I can’t even have a glass of wine after all this crap! And I did apologise to my little one at bed time for shouting. Can’t remember where I read this, even though it was recently, on the subject of parenting: “They might not listen to a word you say, but they see everything you do.” I am glad that at the very least I am modelling sober living for my kids. Am hoping to model better management of emotions as time goes on! xx
    PS. I read a lot about “amends” but am not clear exactly what is meant by this. Presumably more than just saying sorry. Sometimes, I think, how could this be made right? Could you post on this some time, for us non-AA-ers?


  2. You are such a busy bee, Josie. i don’t know how you do half of what you do. I know I say that a lot, but it’s true. I have my moments, but I think I probably spend too much time on Twitter or angry birds to do all that. Or kvetching about my running injuries…lol.

    I am not the most patient with my kids at times. I could stand to be more patient. It’s because I think in work mode, where people do as I ask (sort of!) and don’t take into consideration that they are 4 and 6. I feel bad often but I do my best. Or I am too tired from running, or whatnot. I have to learn to say “yes” more and be more patient. Progress for me.

    Thanks for the post, Josie…wonderful to hear about your meetings!


    • Paul, I swear I was not complaining 🙂 And your angry birds is my candy crush, so we’re even…

      I have yet to meet the person who says, “yeah, I’m pretty satisfied with my level of patience with my children.” As I type I’m about to yell at one kid to get out of bed! There’s no doubt in my mind, though, that my kids and yours are reaping some serious benefits of our 12-step work. And you are even more blessed,… your kids are getting those benefits even younger than mine are.

      Thanks, as always, for your support and encouragement, and I hope your alternate step work is going well (post updates, please!).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha ha…true enough Josie on the patience there.

        I am going to meet my step sponsor at noon for step 2 work (our schedules haven’t meshed up lately). I am waiting for my work book to come in the mail, but I printed off the work book from the Internet (the NA stuff is online and free like the BB is). I am looking forward to this stuff, if that makes sense. Same steps, but they just ask a lot of questions. We skip many of them, but through the lens of how it is my addiction is manifesting it’s way today, it’s illuminating. My wife told me lately I was grumpy…and I’m on vacation! So it tells me that I am not centered. I finally hit meetings and spoke to my sponsor 3 times this week and getting back to surrounding myself with others. That’s helped.

        i see a lot of selfish, self-centered behaviours in me lately, so I need to continue this work. i need it.

        If you’re interested, here is the workbook so you get an idea of what is going on…


        Anyway, hope all is well. We have a heat alert today (first all summer).



  3. We are forever learning as parents, aren’t we? I wrote down the very first quote and stuck it on my bulletin board as a stark and candid reminder. Thank you for sharing this today (oops! yesterday). I hope you had fun shopping with your daughter! xo


  4. Awesome. Thanks for this… So wonderful being psyched for back to school shopping!


  5. And if you’re not going to teach them well, don’t have them!


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