Parenting is a difficult endeavor that is full of pitfalls and ups and downs. When people struggle with addictive disorders like alcoholism, the misuse of prescription drugs or other substances, recovery can feel a million miles away. Going to rehab for parents may be life-saving but it does not come without a lot of consideration to what exactly is going to happen while the loved one is away from the kids. Addiction takes its toll on so many people, it is helpful to think about how it impacts people with kids and what that means for recovery.
Addiction and Children
When it comes to substance abuse or drinking behavior, people often forget about the children left at home to cope with the challenges. Whether it is one parent or both, children need a safety net and this takes away what should feel normal and healthy. This may follow them the rest of their lives as they struggle with the sense of dysfunction. Adult children of alcoholics are more likely to marry one in adulthood. Parental substance abuse also puts children at greater risk for:
- Issues with self-esteem
- Poor academic performance
- Negative coping mechanisms
Self-harm is also a possibility as they take their anger out on other people and start to feel challenged by the difficult circumstances of their lives. Meanwhile, they are missing the parent who is addicted and seeking help away from home.
One of the skills that will be focused on in rehab is how to navigate family life again in recovery. It takes relearning old skills in a new way that is challenging but helps you focus attention on going to support meetings, working steps, and doing the things needed to stay clean. Meanwhile, you will be parenting a child sober, possibly for the first time. There are many things to learn in recovery that will be helpful in parenting:
- Apologize to the children about what you’ve missed out on
- Spend time with children and spouse or partner
- Keep promises and follow through
- Claim Ownership of addiction by admitting a problem exists
- Be patient
- Take care of yourself
- Eat right
- Get plenty of rest
Parents with addictive disorders recover as they put in the work and offer themselves fully to the process and their families. It takes understanding and connecting to the process that will help you heal and be a better parent.
The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.