Part of being in recovery means coming to terms with the impact your behavior has had on your friends and family members. You may be especially worried about how the disease of addiction might affect your current or future children. By accepting the realities of your family’s history and being patient, you can break the cycle of shame and create a healthy family dynamic. Here’s what you need to know about parenting after treatment.
Parenting in Recovery
Children who grow up surrounded by drug and alcohol abuse and related dysfunction face many challenges to their mental health and overall well-being. Having a parent with a substance use disorder is an example of an adverse childhood event, which can increase a child’s risk of developing depression, cardiovascular disease, substance abuse and other health conditions as an adult. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least half of the top 10 leading causes of death link back to ACEs.
Parenting in recovery requires extra attention to raise happy, well-adjusted children who see drugs and alcohol as a problem – not a potential solution. Here are five tips you can use to get started.
1. Forgive Yourself First
You can’t learn to be kind to others until you consistently treat yourself compassionately, and children deserve to grow up feeling safe and loved. Fortunately, 12-step recovery programs provide a model for letting go of guilt and shame, making amends and reclaiming your personal accountability.
2. Be Present for Yourself and Your Child
Parenting in recovery doesn’t mean you have to be perfect all the time. Everyone makes mistakes, especially with a responsibility as significant as raising a child. Any parent would likely tell you that kids grow up so fast, and being more mindful can help you cherish all the milestones along the way. Challenge yourself to live fully in each moment, appreciating the chance to be a parent. Keep your promises and always be there for your children – even if they are trying to push you away.
3. Rebuild a Foundation of Trust
Since addiction can severely damage relationships, family therapy can be a beneficial tool. In our family program, you can begin to work toward healing and forge stronger bonds. Attending therapy together will give you the opportunity to learn how your illness has impacted your family dynamic, learn more about substance use disorders and teach you how to identify and avoid unhelpful behaviors like enabling and co-dependency.
4. Create New, Happy Memories Together
While parenting in recovery can have its ups and downs, the opportunity to nurture a child and see the world through their eyes is a gift. Find age-appropriate activities you and your child enjoy doing together, like doing arts and crafts, playing board games or playing make-believe. Establishing a tradition of eating dinner as a family will give you a chance to talk about how everyone’s day has gone and discuss other relevant “table topics.”
5. Include Your Child on Your Recovery Journey
While parenting, don’t try to shield your child from the truth of your addiction and recovery. Instead, be honest and serve as an educational resource. By explaining what you have been through in a way children can understand, you can do your part to help end the stigma around addiction and mental health.
Finding Freedom at Beach House
It is not inevitable that your children will grow up adversely affected by your addiction, nor is it a given that they will go on to repeat your mistakes. By going to treatment and overcoming your substance use disorder, you can set an example of how to lead a healthy life and tackle obstacles.
To learn more about Florida addiction recovery, including the qualities that set Beach House apart as a nationally ranked treatment center, please make the life-changing decision to contact us today. Your call is completely confidential, and our friendly admissions counselors are standing by to speak with you 24/7.