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Tips for Parenting in Recovery

Once you’ve completed drug or alcohol addiction treatment, you have to shift your focus on how to strengthen your relationships and apply the skills you’ve learned in treatment to your daily life. If you’re a mother or father, part of addiction recovery is establishing or rebuilding a relationship with your children. While parenting in recovery can be a challenge, our Christian drug rehabilitation center is sharing some tips that can guide you in this stage of your journey.  

Guide on Parenting While in Recovery 

Parenting in recovery from addiction can be overwhelming. In addition to providing for your child, you’re worried about their physical and mental development, making friends, succeeding in school, and building the skills they’ll need to be independent adults. Below are some tips that could help you in your sober parenting journey. 

Forgive Yourself  

It’s normal to harbor feelings of shame and guilt in recovery, especially as a parent. Your addiction might have left some holes in your relationships, but it is possible to work these out. However, to get to the place and mindset of being an active parent in recovery and allowing yourself to not only rebuild but enjoy these relationships, you have to forgive yourself.   Additionally, you want to be the healthiest version of yourself to parent your children, not just physically but mentally, as well. A common coping mechanism that sober parents turn to as a way to make up for lost time with their kids is to be overbearing or take on the role of a friend rather than a parent.  However, setting the proper boundaries in place ensures that you’re respecting their space, giving them time to rebuild their relationship with you, and also that they’re respecting you as their parent. Additionally, nothing that you’ve done in the past can be reversed or changed, but the future is limitless. You’re sober, and you’re actively changing your life to reflect that decision. Enjoy it! 

Trust Your Children  

Considering that children who grow up in homes where substance abuse occurs are more likely to develop addictions themselves, it’s understandable why a parent in recovery might worry about their kids following in the same footsteps. However, while this is a risk, it isn’t set in stone, and being overly protective of your child concerning this matter can strain your relationship.   Instead, be honest with your child about the dangers of drug addiction and use yourself as an example. While you shouldn’t share more than what’s appropriate for their age, help them understand why experimenting with or turning to drugs or alcohol isn’t safe.  

Work on Regaining Their Trust 

Moms and dads in recovery often lose the trust of their children as a result of their drug use. They may have been absentee parents or not have kept their word. They might have lied frequently, not doing what they said they’d do, and may not have even shown up for their children.    Rebuilding your child’s trust is important for your relationship, but it will take time. It’s often helpful for sober parents and their children to receive group or individual addiction counseling so they can work towards a common goal.   Our rehab offers individual Christian addiction counseling for clients as well as family support for loved ones to help rebuild relationships that have been broken by addiction. We can help you reestablish these connections and provide more guidance on how to parent in addiction recovery. 

Practice Self-Care 

As a parent in recovery from addiction, there were likely times when you prioritized your addiction over the needs of your children. This is the harsh and unfortunate reality of substance abuse. While you’re working on breaking free of this trap, you may also be struggling with guilt or shame over not having been there for your children during active addiction.   While taking accountability for your actions is important, you don’t want to go too far in the opposite direction and dedicate every single moment of your time solely to your children. To sustain recovery, you must also care for yourself.   You have to be in the right physical and mental state to be the best parent to your children, and a great way to do that is to establish a self-care routine. Take at least 45 minutes to an hour out of your day, every day, to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s something as simple as taking a bubble bath or watching an episode of your favorite tv show, be there for yourself so you can be there for others. 

Create Memories  

Overcoming addiction and getting sober as a parent means reclaiming a significant amount of time that may have otherwise been spent thinking about or doing drugs or drinking. As a sober parent, you can now work on making new memories with your children and enjoying the time you have with them.   Make every moment you spend with your kids count. Make your time with them purposeful. You can also set aside time every day to dedicate to your kids and give them undivided attention.  Not only can making this change in your routine contribute to the development of your relationships, but it also shows your children that you want to make an effort to be in their lives.  

Be Honest With Your Child 

One of the hardest challenges of parenting in recovery is being honest about your addiction to your children. But for any parent, being open and honest with your children is essential.   Honesty provides a foundation for trust, which is also crucial in a parent-child relationship. So, we encourage you to be honest with your children about your addiction and recovery.   Be careful not to overshare – you don’t want to entirely rely on your children for emotional support because it can create a lot of pressure on their end, which can be counteractive in the recovery process. It’s important to create boundaries.   Also, be mindful of your child’s age. A conversation with a 5-year-old will differ significantly from a conversation with a 15-year-old. Being honest with your children about your addiction can potentially remove the shame of your past and highlight your progress and sobriety. Being honest also destigmatizes addiction and may even discourage your children from ever engaging in drug or alcohol use themselves.  

Finding Addiction Recovery Resources 

As addiction affects the individual and their loved ones, recovery also impacts the family at large. Our Christian residential drug rehab provides addiction treatment for the individual as well as support for families of addicts to help children, spouses, and parents recover from the impact of their loved one’s substance abuse.   We’re here to help with the physical and emotional needs of the individual, ensuring they have all the relapse prevention tools necessary to remain sober. For more information about our Christ-centered addiction treatment, call Faith in Recovery today at 888-280-4763.    Related Reading:   Prayers for Addiction Recovery  How to Tell People You Are in Recovery