How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my kid?

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catcar
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How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my kid?

Post by catcar »

I am at a point where I know that I have a problem with drinking too much and I want to stop. I am looking into AA but I am a single mom who has my son all the time and trying to find out how to get to meetings without bringing him with me is nearly impossible. My son even comes to work with me so I can't even go on a break or anything. To top it off, I really am uncomfortable with the cult like situation of AA and I think that saying that you "don't have control" is such a cop out when you are trying to take control of your like so I am afraid 12 step programs might not work for me

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Niagara
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by Niagara »

Catcar, Welcome, from another newbie

I hear what you are saying about the cult like situation. I felt a bit like that too. However, what I had imagined a meeting to be in my head, was NOTHING like the reality.

Also the cop out thing....I thought that too. For me, a huge part of that is avoidance. I'm good at avoiding, it's what I've been doing for years. Admitting that I don't have control is akin to saying to me, I'm weak and pathetic, and if only I could be stronger I can lick this thing. That, for me, is hand in hand with the denial aspect of this, and it's got me nowhere. I tried to cut down - and I was successful, for a time, but it slowly started to creep back in, and this was despite the fact that I am killing my marriage, neglecting my family (oh they were clean, and fed, but there's more to being a parent than that, and if I'd continued, I'm not sure how long clean and fed would have continued for)

I knew I had a problem, somewhere at the back of my mind. The meeting I went to last night cemented that more firmly.

The people I found there were warm, friendly, accepting of each other, and of me, even as a newcomer. I didn't expect that. I had prejudged them, way before I even got there, and it was unfair of me to do that.
The message I took home from last night was quite simply, yes, I'm an alcoholic, but that's not the sum of me. It doesn't define me. All it defines is that alcohol is a no go area for me. It only defines me whilst I am still drinking. Without drink, I can be so much more.
I'm not seeing it as a bad thing, actually, at the moment, because last night people shared what their lives were with the drink, and now what they are without it. It's hard not to be inspired by that, you know?

Now, in my area there is a child friendly meeting, once a week. If you can afford it, is a childminder also an option, or day care/nursery?

All I would suggest is not to judge before you've got there. If you go to a meeting and you find it cult like and disturbing, there is nothing stopping you from walking away. Nobody is going to hold you down. However, you may find something useful within it - if you don't give yourself that chance, you'll never know.

Best wishes x
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
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kittyr
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by kittyr »

I don't find AA cult like. It's fairly anarchistic in organization style. I'm a constant questioner and trouble-maker and I find myself perpetually welcome.
AA states that alcoholics can't control alcohol. Or the universe or other people. It doesn't suggest that we have no self-control, or that we are unable to manage our lives, quite the opposite actually.

I entered the program as a single mother so I can share how I managed that.
Firstly, if there are child friendly meets, as Niagara suggested, then that's great. There's none in my area, but there are a few women-only meets and I've found these to be really welcoming of children. Also regular daytime meets often have a nice mix of people, and often a fair few older people who don't mind if you bring your kids. I bought one of those really cheap dvd players with headphones and my daughter watches a movie (invariably "Frozen", she's obsessed) while I do the meeting. And she eats all the cookies. She loves meetings.
Having said that, I didn't even approach 90 meetings in 90 days as people sometimes suggest. It simply was not doable for me as a single mother, broke, with no family nearby (or friends I trust to mind my daughter). Even now, at 9 months sober, my finances have considerably improved, but I'm no where near able to afford childcare while I go to meetings. I felt at the start I really needed to commit hard though, so I put aside time every night after my daughter was in bed and listened to an AA speaker tape ( you can get them online at xa speaker tapes, or on youtube). I did that for the first couple months and now I still listen to one or two a week, especially if I'm having a rough day. I did and still do two meetings a week and that's plenty.

So yeah, I worked around it and did it a bit different, but it worked. If you decide you want to try AA, you'll find a way that'll work for you. It's great to get involved in the fellowship but a couple meetings a week is enough to do that. And its also enough to find a sponsor to start working the steps with. I think single mothers also have the upside that we're so busy that stopping drinking doesn't leave us with all this leftover time to get bored in. Nonetheless, I really found that a daily commitment - for me it was speaker tapes, but whatever works for you - helped me focus with the program just at the very start.
Also keep in mind that people are really supportive. In some meetings when I was really fresh, if my daughter played up, one of the ladies who has been around forever would play with her, so I could still focus. People are really keen on getting newcomers through the first few months and will help out. If you go to a meeting, find some nice ladies who have long-term sobriety and share your concerns. They'll tell you which meetings are the most child friendly etc.

Hope that helps.
xx
kitty

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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by CGPoolman »

Kitty,

There's a couple of single moms in my homegroup that bring their kids to meetings all the time. They range from age 4-8 (I'm guessing) and there is one that has a baby about a year old maybe? No one seems to mind them coming to meetings at all. In fact, I've seen most of the older folks shower them with attention and the kids love it! If the infant gets too restless or starts crying she takes the baby outside for a few minutes and comes back in when the baby is calm. The older kids usually sit at a table and color or play a board game in the back room. Sometimes they just play outside by the door or window while the meeting is going on, and mom just checks on them thru the window every few minutes. You may even meet someone there who has a child of babysitting age that can help you out. Give it a try, it's a better option than not going at all.

-CG

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ann2
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by ann2 »

I would love to watch your son for you!!!!

Call the Alcoholics Anonymous number in the phone book and describe your situation and see if the person who answers (another recovered alcoholic, like me) has any suggestions based upon his or her experience with meetings. Actually, request to talk to a woman, I would imagine that she would have paid more attention to this issue.

Just like AA members are willing to give newcomers rides to meetings as a way to pass on the help they were given, I bet not a few would be interested in either visiting you at home so you can keep an eye on your son, or volunteering to be a playmate for your son during a meeting.

Ann
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catcar
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by catcar »

Thank you all. I just read this quick after work and have to go to a family thing but I am going to read again when I get home. I am tearing up and very emotional about all of this

catcar
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by catcar »

I do not understand the titles of the in person meetings really? I feel like you know to know and understand the program to attend them and none of them indicate that I could bring my kid if I have nobody to watch him. I have called the local number and it is a message that does not return calls? It was so hard to want to make this jump and it is the hardest thing in the world to find a way to do...I have been to this point before and gave up and I am scared that I will again

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Tosh
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by Tosh »

catcar wrote: I really am uncomfortable with the cult like situation of AA and I think that saying that you "don't have control" is such a cop out when you are trying to take control of your like so I am afraid 12 step programs might not work for me
I don't think A.A. teaches that we have no control. Even over alcohol (the first Step where we're powerless is written in the past tense, i.e. " We admitted we were powerless over alcohol...". I'm not powerless over anything that I can either change, or adjust myself to. A.A. is all about getting power into our lives; it's a position of strength. But I remember when I was drinking - then I was seriously not in control of my life, my thoughts, my emotions, my actions - not even of my bladder at times. :lol:

And cults do not like diversity of thought but A.A. actively encourages us to seek out information from outside sources. Even on this forum you don't have to look far to find many different opinions and positions. And we're cool with that.

I've been to meetings where members have taken their children and we don't mind at all. I've seen a tiny baby in a Mum's arms and children up to about the age of 10 years old. No-one minded and I think it's sweet that a Mum takes her kid to A.A.. It reminds me that A.A. is a real life-changer.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

kittyr
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by kittyr »

Hi again.

Is there not a number you can call in your area to get some info? In Australia, those are state wide numbers - but through the network of people they put you in touch with someone local. I'm not sure where you are, but there's people available 24/7 to talk on the phone here. That isn't available where you are?

The expressions used to describe meetings are somewhat localized - what sort of terms are being used? I can probably tell you what they mean. One important thing to know is that 'closed' just means that only members can attend. But members only means those with a desire to stop drinking. So in that sense, you are a member. 'Closed' means no friends, no family members, no voyeurs... It absolutely does not mean no newcomers who want to stop drinking but are a little unsure about the program.

It is very important to know that you absolutely do not have to speak at a meeting if you do not want to. If someone invites you to share and you don't feel like it you just say 'No thanks, I'm just listening today'. From my experience, at least a few people say this at every meeting. Not everyone feels like talking all the time, it's no drama, no one bats an eyelid if you choose not to share. New people often just listen. People expect it, it's fine. Remember, we all walked into our first AA meeting once feeling scared and unsure of ourselves. Many of us had no idea what that meeting would be like. We all remember that! And we welcome new members accordingly, try to make them feel as comfortable as we can! You don't have to understand the program to attend any of them.

If you can't talk to someone before you go, go to a women's meeting or a meeting that is in the daytime. My experience is these are the most chilled out and welcoming meetings. Show up ten minutes early. There will be people getting tea and coffee ready and stuff. Introduce yourself, tell them you're new, tell them your concerns, and they will make sure you feel comfortable. People are so supportive at AA. It is not something to be anxious about.

Also I should have mentioned, while my homegroup has no other mums with kids, I often go to a saturday morning meet which is full of them. Lots of toddlers especially and they are rowdy and adorable. People will be used to it. You are most definitely not the first mum to need to bring her kids to meetings! There are lots of us. People really really do not mind and lots of people think it is really nice.

catcar
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by catcar »

So I found a way to get out today without my son and wend to my very first meeting at 10am. There were at least 40 or 50 people and I was terrified but they were all so friendly. I was the only new person and it was really weird because the person speaking seemed shocked and re-confirmed with me 4 times that I was ACTUALLY new. I was shaking and nearly burst into tears. Three ladies took me aside and pend the rest of the hour with me apart from the rest of the group. They told me that if I had to bring my kid to a meeting tonight and I told the group that it was my first day and I really needed a second meeting, they were sure nobody would turn me away. I went to a second meeting tonight at 8pm but it was only 6 guys and they were mortified that I brought my son even though I brought headphones and a movie player for him and he sat quietly in the next room. They ended up being ok with it I guess but it made me feel uncomfortable. I am blessed to have chosen that first meeting as my first one because if this evening meeting was my first one I don't know if I would ever go back...

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ezdzit247
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by ezdzit247 »

catcar wrote:So I found a way to get out today without my son and wend to my very first meeting at 10am. There were at least 40 or 50 people and I was terrified but they were all so friendly. I was the only new person and it was really weird because the person speaking seemed shocked and re-confirmed with me 4 times that I was ACTUALLY new. I was shaking and nearly burst into tears. Three ladies took me aside and pend the rest of the hour with me apart from the rest of the group. They told me that if I had to bring my kid to a meeting tonight and I told the group that it was my first day and I really needed a second meeting, they were sure nobody would turn me away. I went to a second meeting tonight at 8pm but it was only 6 guys and they were mortified that I brought my son even though I brought headphones and a movie player for him and he sat quietly in the next room. They ended up being ok with it I guess but it made me feel uncomfortable. I am blessed to have chosen that first meeting as my first one because if this evening meeting was my first one I don't know if I would ever go back...
Hi catcar,

Yeah, unfortunately the program works but the people in the program don't always work the program. I brought my son with me to a lot of meetings and so did my AA friends. Where are you attending meetings?
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

kittyr
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by kittyr »

Some people are clueless around children. They just aren't used to them. Don't let it bother you! Only go to meetings you feel comfortable at. Did you get some ladies' numbers? See if you can go to some meetings with someone, it might make you feel more comfortable if people are surprised by your son.
Like I said in my other posts, day meetings are generally more kid-friendly as they have more women and a better range of ages.

I kind of feel that starting anything is kinda weird and edgy. I don't even enjoy starting a new job when I really want the job and fought really hard to get it. Because I don't know the people or the routine or the place and it takes a bit of getting used to. Doesn't mean the job is bad... Could be the best job in the world and starting it would be stressful.

Don't let a small handful of guys determine your future - you may have just surprised them... There isn't a handbook of AA which tells us how not to act like idiots when people surprise us at meetings, we're just people doing our best and no one is perfect! Give AA a shot and work out which meetings you feel comfortable at and keep going back. Sounds like your first meeting would be fine to take your son to. And the 6 guys should get used to kids, you're probably good for them.
:)

xx

catcar
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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by catcar »

I am attending in Chicago area. I am going to try to mostly not bring my son unless I have no other option but thanks for the tips!

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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by Squawking Hawk »

I am a childless women and am embarrassed to say that I don't always understand children. However, I still am a woman and while not having children may make us very far apart, I do care. Sometimes at a meeting, I may be like one of those guys you wrote of, and I would never stop a parent from bringing a child to a meeting. Most of the meetings that I attend allow children and most parents do what you do, the child sits quietly (sometimes in another room if they are older) and entertains themselves. The same meetings welcome mother's with infants.

I may not be the women who is going to say all the right things to you. I get that. And I know enough, I hope, to keep my mouth shut at appropriate times. But I do understand that you need a meeting and have to bring your child.

Fortunately, there are lots of Moms and some supportive Dad's at my meetings. So, I know that there are lots of women around who are equipped to help you where I can not.

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Re: How do I start as a single mom and nobody to watch my ki

Post by Blue Moon »

I would also not stop a child from attending, although I know 1 or 2 Closed groups which have opted to say "no".

Far from being clueless, I can think of a number of reasons why bringing a child to an AA meeting is just not a good idea, mostly for the safety of the child. At times, I have seen and heard some disturbing things in AA meetings. Doesn't happen often, but not what I would have wanted my daughter exposed to at a young age. There could also be insurance implications.
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