Parents struggling with substance abuse often find themselves ostracized from the family. Instead of being the dependable provider, protector, or nurturer, these men and women have shown their vulnerabilities. There is much to recover from—both personally and relationally. As they seek help for drug or alcohol misuse, many parents in treatment programs falsely believe they have become irrelevant to their children or that their children would be better off without them.
Fortunately, recovery and sobriety can bring a new perspective. Acknowledging deep hurts and making amends is a key component of the 12 Steps and other recovery programs. Parents in recovery still have an important role to play in their children’s lives, but they may encounter resistance to reentering the family circle.
Here are some suggestions to consider as you begin to resume your parenting role:
- Apologize & listen. When you were struggling with substance abuse, you were undependable and unpredictable. Now is the time to listen to your children as they express their anger, disappointment, and hurt over your chemical dependency and resulting behaviors.
- Commit to family counseling & support. Encourage your children to also join a support group or to get counseling for issues they are unable to resolve. Addiction is a family disease and must be treated as one.
- Redefine your role as a mother or father. Don’t expect to be needed as a traditional Mom or Dad—or for family dynamics to be the same as before you began using or drinking. Look for ways you can show your love and support without disrupting the family’s healing and equilibrium.
- Consider a contract. If you have young children, your spouse may be reluctant to entrust you with their care. Ease his or her fears by signing a contract that details your responsibilities and consequences for future infractions.
- Give the process time. Remember, you didn’t lose your family’s trust all at once, and you won’t regain it immediately. Recovery is a process in which you are learning about and redefining yourself without drugs or alcohol. Your family must get to know and trust this new you, too.
Coast to Coast Treatment for Addiction & Dual Diagnosis
Recovery at Coast to Coast facilities helps clients escape the isolation of drug and alcohol use and the fear of returning home to their families. Call 800-210-8229 now to begin your journey toward becoming the sober, reliable parent you wish to be.