Being a parent comes with many challenges. As much as moms and dads love their kids and experience positive and joyful moments with them, they also deal with stressful emotions and worrying about their children. A parent who struggles with a drug or alcohol addiction has even more complications, but with the right tools and dedication, they can excel at sober parenting with our handy tips.
Ways Children of Addiction Can Suffer
According to a statement by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, one in five children has lived with an adult alcoholic in their home. Children of alcoholics have four times the risk of becoming alcoholics themselves and are at a bigger risk for having emotional problems.
Children who grew up in a home with an alcoholic parent or caregiver often end up:
- Having difficulty in school
- Engaging in risky behavior
- Feeling guilt and responsibility for their parent’s drinking
- Acting aggressively
- Withdrawing from friends and social events
- Experiencing frequent physical maladies, such as headaches and digestive problems
- Developing depression or anxiety
- Feeling suicidal
- Being neglected or abused
- Developing their own addiction to drugs or alcohol
Sober Parenting Tip #1: Be Active in Your Aftercare
Going to detox or residential treatment takes a lot of time and dedication. Rejoining your kids and family provides parents in recovery with a return to being around the people most important to them. Keep in mind that recovery doesn’t end when you return home. Consult with your therapist, doctor, or staff at your treatment program to enact a plan that sets you up for success in your life and sober parenting.
Many choices exist for aftercare help, including individual therapy, marriage and family counseling, and support groups. Several holistic options offer ways to keep recovery in focus, as well as opportunities to enjoy healthy pastimes. These can include art therapy, yoga, meditation, equine therapy, acupuncture, and mindfulness. Experiment to find the programs that work best for you and your recovery. Also make sure you attend your sessions regularly. Some of these practices can even become family events, with kids attending things like their own art therapy or yoga classes.
Sober Parenting Tip #2: Remember That Every Day Is a New Day
Some days in recovery feel like victories while others come laden with challenges. If you are having a bad day, remember that it is temporary. Even if you don’t knock everything off your to do list, tomorrow you get another chance to try again. Think about if your child came to you and said they had a rotten day or failed at something that was important to them, and this made them want to give up and not try again.
As their parent you would might tell them to see what they could do differently next time. Then you’d tuck them into bed and tell them you have faith that they will overcome their obstacles and accomplish their goals. This same advice applies to you, so be sure to remind yourself that giving up is not an option. Each new day brings renewed promise and an opportunity to stay sober and make healthy choices.
Sober Parenting Tip #3: Remember the Oxygen Analogy
Anyone who has been on a plane and seen the flight attendant demonstrate how to put on an oxygen mask. They tell you that if you are traveling with a child to put your mask on first, then your child’s. The reason for this is that if the parent does not have proper oxygen as quickly as possible, they risk being unable to assist their children. Once the parent has their mask on, their heath is stabilized and they can quickly attend to getting the child’s mask on.
This analogy applies to sober parenting, too. A parent who is not tending to their own health cannot be an effective mother or father to their child. A parent who deals with the temptation to relapse can think of making the choice not to use drugs or drink as putting on their proverbial oxygen mask. When they are focused on their sobriety, they are not just taking care of themselves; they also are being good parents.
Sober Parenting Tip #4: Avoid Jokes With a Dangerous Subtext
The past few years have seen many memes pop up on social media sites making jokes about “mom wine time”. While they are meant to be humorous, they can be more harmful than you expect. The underlying message is that mothers need to drink alcohol to get through parenting struggles. Similarly, the stereotype about how dads need a few beers to deal with rambunctious toddlers or testy teenagers. Children absorb these messages and may miss the joke. They may feel that they are such a burden to their parents that they need alcohol to cope with it. This can lead to kids blaming themselves for their parent’s addiction and doesn’t lend itself to good sober parenting.
Getting Sober in Arizona
At Continuum Recovery Center, we understand how hard is it to be a parent who needs help for addiction to drugs or alcohol. Our programs provide inpatient and outpatient care for substance use disorders. We also help manage mental health issues through effective and holistic treatment.
Reach out to Continuum Recovery Center today and find out how we can help you get sober and make your family proud.