Anonymous Stories in Motherhood: How Al-Anon Has Helped Me Be a Better Mom


A woman's hands type on a laptop. Overlaying the image is "Charleston Moms, Anonymous Stories in Motherhood: How Al-Anon Has Helped Me Be a Better Mom."I thought only alcoholics needed “twelve steps” to get better. When I came to Al-Anon, I realized that the program used the same Twelve Steps from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for loved ones of the alcoholic to work on themselves too.

The First Step

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.”

It’s safe to say there was nothing I could or couldn’t do to affect my qualifier’s drinking. I had done everything I could think of to prevent or stop their drinking. Nothing worked. I turned myself inside out thinking of what I could do. It never worked. Yep, pretty easy to realize I was powerless.

My own insanity led my life to be unmanageable. I could no longer keep it together, could no longer keep my cool. I couldn’t manage the stress or anxiety of what would happen next.

be a better mom: a young mother holds her baby and young child while sitting in a chair.Transferring Step One to Motherhood

As I re-read this step over and over, I realized how I was also powerless over many things in motherhood.

No matter how many times I tell my son not to bite his friends, he still might do it. No matter how many times I give my kids broccoli to eat or how many different ways, they may never eat it. I have tried so many times to manage their outbursts in public and sometimes they will just do it anyway. I try to protect my kids from everything but sometimes they will still get hurt, physically or emotionally.

This step reminds me about acceptance. I can try to prevent any bad thing from happening to my kids until I go insane, but that doesn’t mean it will prevent it from happening.

This step is the first for a reason: without acceptance, you can’t move forward.

As a perfectionist, I try so hard to be the “perfect” mother, to have everything all planned out. I find myself practicing Step One every day in my life . . .

When I find myself getting upset or starting to go down the spiral of anxiety about what my qualifier is or isn’t doing, about what my kids are or are not doing, about what type of mother I appear to be — I stop and think about how powerless I really am.

There was a moment recently when my kids and I had just had a long day. The day was full of unrest, full of outbursts and crying and it didn’t stop all day. I sat on the floor next to the bathtub trying to get my kids to cooperate for even a split second in the day, and it just dawned on me that I was powerless in that moment. All I could do was show up for them, love them, take care of them, comfort them when they cried, and just be present. Not much had gone right that day, but I was powerless over my kids cooperating or not with bath time and bedtime. All I could do was control my own actions and reactions, not their response.

Accepting I’m powerless doesn’t mean I throw my hands up and give up. It just invokes a sense of peace that “whatever will be, will be” sometimes.

These Twelve Steps go on to take you through a spiritual journey with your Higher Power (whoever that is to you). You learn to give these problems or anxieties over to that Higher Power instead of trying to fix them yourself.

My journey in Al-Anon is just getting started, and I’m thankful it’s coincided with my young journey so far in motherhood. I have realized that this program has helped me to be a better person, which helps me to be a better mom. Every day is a new opportunity to be 1% better than yesterday.

Read more from our Anonymous Stories in Motherhood series.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here