Once an individual completes a rehab or addiction treatment program, they know what they must do to keep working on their recovery. Going to meetings, seeing a counselor, and using the skills they learned in addiction treatment help further a successful recovery journey.
Even armed with these tools and skills, however, a variety of situations can present challenges, once the individual is back into their day-to-day life – even as they concentrate on staying healthy, focused, and sober.
One of the most common challenges relates to parenting.
Even for parents who don’t struggle with addiction, parenting can be difficult. If you’re coming out of addiction, facing the challenges associated with parenting can be even harder. In addition, you may have never parented sober before – or at least not done so for a long period of time — so it’s a whole new world for both you, your children and potentially your co-parent.
Here are a few tips from Moonlight Mountain Recovery, to help those who are out of addiction treatment excel at sober parenting.
How Does Addiction Impact Children?
Data collected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that one out of every eight children in the U.S. has lived with someone who struggles with addiction.
Children of addicts are four times more likely to become addicts themselves and are at risk for emotional issues when they’re still young. Children who grow up in homes with an adult caregiver who is an addict or alcoholic can experience several issues, including:
- Aggressive behavior
- Difficult in school
- Suicidal thoughts
- Social withdrawal
- Feeling guilty or responsible for the drug use of the parent
- Developing an addiction themselves
- Frequent physical ailments, such as digestive issues or headaches
It’s vital to acknowledge the damage that can be caused to children who are exposed to addiction. The good news is that, when parents seek help for their addiction, it can have a positive impact on children and their future. Getting healthy and sober is the best thing you can do for your children. Taking action to battle addiction turns a negative situation around and inspires positive change for both you and your family.
Have a Strong Support System
As you transition from addiction and dependency to a sober life, you will require different types of support to make things easier – including parenting support.
Therapy is a great tool to help you understand the root cause of your issues with drugs and alcohol and help you to deal with triggers. Both group therapy and individual therapy can be helpful, but family therapy can also be invaluable. Therapy allows you to speak to your struggles, questions, and fears in a safe space.
It can also be helpful to have a sober friend or family member that you can turn to, whenever you find that you support in your sober parenting journey.
Make Time for Self-Care
It is impossible to overstate the importance of self-care.
Back when you were using, substances may have been what you used to help you deal with stress and anxiety. Now that you are sober, you must find healthy ways to cope with the challenges of life. You must also be proactive about caring for yourself.
Exercise is great tool for self-care, but so is listening to your favorite type of music, having a nice cup of tea as your curl up with a book, or taking a relaxing bath. Find a way to soothe yourself and unwind, and you’ll be better able to handle the challenges that you face in parenting.
Be a Present Parent
While you may have used substances in the past to tune out your stressful day, you must now lean into being present with your own family – even when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Being prepared for these inevitable occurrences will help you get through them without fear of relapse.
Bonding with your children and connecting with them is a great way to relieve stress and help you to manage your own behaviors. So, help your kids with their homework, play a game, or simply watch a movie together with a big bowl of popcorn. You may be surprised by how good it makes you feel.
Have an Active Recovery
It’s important to remember that recovery doesn’t stop when you leave addiction treatment — it’s a lifelong process. Work with your therapist and doctor to create a plan to helps to set you up for success when you return home, both in your life and in parenting.
Choose activities that help to keep your recovery in focus, even if you have to experiment with different hobbies or activities to find the one that works best for you.
Treat Every Day as a New One
When you’re in recovery, some days feel like a success and other days simply do not. That’s normal.
If you’re having a bad day, it’s vital to remember that it will pass. Tomorrow, you get another chance to start again and give it another try.
Give yourself the grace that you extend to others when it comes to understanding and compassion. After all, you would do the same if your child came to you and told you they had a bad day. You might give them a pep talk, or ask them to think about what they could do differently if they could have a do-over, or you might simply work to help them remember that things will get better.
Give that same loving space to yourself, too, and remind yourself that you cannot give up. Every new day brings with it the opportunity to make healthy choices.
Parenting is tough even under the best of circumstances, but when you’re recovering from addiction it can be even more of a challenge – and that’s OK. In Boise, addiction treatment at Moonlight Mountain Recovery can help you to become a better you and a better parent. While you may carry guilt about the things that happened when you weren’t sober, it’s vital to remember that you have to work on yourself to stay sober and to be the parent you want to be. If you can concentrate your efforts on that, then you can be successful.
If you haven’t started your sober journey yet, or you need more help or guidance, contact the professionals at Moonlight Mountain Recovery today to get started.