The Road to Recovery: Rebuilding Relationships With Your Children

Reviewed May 12, 2017

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Summary

  • Getting to 12-step meetings and spending time with a sponsor is essential.
  • Focus on your kids.
  • Ask for forgiveness whenever needed.

Parenting is tough. It’s even harder while recovering from substance or alcohol use disorder. In early recovery it is normal to feel stress, fatigue, and mood swings. Many parents carry emotional baggage from things such as a strained marriage or divorce. Severe guilt or just feeling like a bad parent is also common. Finding the time and energy to focus on personal recovery while raising children is not easy. 

Tips for parents

  • Getting to 12-step meetings and spending time with a sponsor is essential. But this is where many parents first compromise. They look at their busy schedule and the first thing they cut back is their meetings. This may solve an immediate time crunch but it can also be a fast track to relapse. Of course your kids are most important, but if you’re not sober you can’t be a good parent.
  • Work on your marriage. A good marriage is the best way to have healthy kids. If you need counseling get it. Many religious organizations offer therapy for couples.
  • If you are not married, avoid new relationships. This will only confuse your kids and hurt your recovery.
  • Focus on your kids. They are the biggest responsibility you have. The best way to have a close family and rebuild trust is to spend quality time together. Don’t be like most stressed out families and try to create family time after everything else is done. Your kids need you now. Planning is your best weapon for battling a busy life. Get out the calendar and plan some time together. Going to movies, dinner, or ice cream, and weekend getaways will speak volumes to your children about your priorities. Things that get scheduled get done.
  • Answer their questions about your addiction. But do so in an age-appropriate way. Let them know in your words that addiction is an illness like diabetes. And that you intend to follow your treatment and do whatever it takes to get well. If they have fears or develop any issues of concern, suggest they talk with a professional and encourage them through that process.
  • Shake off the guilt. Early recovery can be full of guilt and shame. Parents in recovery often feel that their bad choices have ruined their kids for life. Sure, mistakes are made, but recovery means letting go of the past and forgiving yourself. Talking with your sponsor, pastor, or a close friend is a good place to start. If feelings of guilt, shame, or depression persist, talk with someone who is trained in addictions.
  • Ask for forgiveness whenever needed. If you have neglected or hurt your child, apologize and ask her to forgive you. Forgiveness is a sign of a healthy family.
  • Take time for yourself. This is very difficult for busy parents who already feel guilty about not spending enough time with their kids. The point here is that everyone needs to be regularly refreshed and recharged. What works for you is different than what works for others. You need to find what refreshes you. Reading, exercise, walking on the beach, visiting a friend, going to a movie, or spiritual retreat. Plan these times in advance because there are always conflicts that will compete for your time. Do it anyway. De-stressing will help you be a better parent. 

Recovery, like parenting, seems overwhelming at first. On one hand, you can’t be a good parent if you don’t spend time with your kids. On the other hand, you must work hard to provide for them. It will be very hard to stay sober if you don’t make your recovery a priority by taking better care of yourself. The answer is to take it one day at a time.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, BS, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Getting to 12-step meetings and spending time with a sponsor is essential.
  • Focus on your kids.
  • Ask for forgiveness whenever needed.

Parenting is tough. It’s even harder while recovering from substance or alcohol use disorder. In early recovery it is normal to feel stress, fatigue, and mood swings. Many parents carry emotional baggage from things such as a strained marriage or divorce. Severe guilt or just feeling like a bad parent is also common. Finding the time and energy to focus on personal recovery while raising children is not easy. 

Tips for parents

  • Getting to 12-step meetings and spending time with a sponsor is essential. But this is where many parents first compromise. They look at their busy schedule and the first thing they cut back is their meetings. This may solve an immediate time crunch but it can also be a fast track to relapse. Of course your kids are most important, but if you’re not sober you can’t be a good parent.
  • Work on your marriage. A good marriage is the best way to have healthy kids. If you need counseling get it. Many religious organizations offer therapy for couples.
  • If you are not married, avoid new relationships. This will only confuse your kids and hurt your recovery.
  • Focus on your kids. They are the biggest responsibility you have. The best way to have a close family and rebuild trust is to spend quality time together. Don’t be like most stressed out families and try to create family time after everything else is done. Your kids need you now. Planning is your best weapon for battling a busy life. Get out the calendar and plan some time together. Going to movies, dinner, or ice cream, and weekend getaways will speak volumes to your children about your priorities. Things that get scheduled get done.
  • Answer their questions about your addiction. But do so in an age-appropriate way. Let them know in your words that addiction is an illness like diabetes. And that you intend to follow your treatment and do whatever it takes to get well. If they have fears or develop any issues of concern, suggest they talk with a professional and encourage them through that process.
  • Shake off the guilt. Early recovery can be full of guilt and shame. Parents in recovery often feel that their bad choices have ruined their kids for life. Sure, mistakes are made, but recovery means letting go of the past and forgiving yourself. Talking with your sponsor, pastor, or a close friend is a good place to start. If feelings of guilt, shame, or depression persist, talk with someone who is trained in addictions.
  • Ask for forgiveness whenever needed. If you have neglected or hurt your child, apologize and ask her to forgive you. Forgiveness is a sign of a healthy family.
  • Take time for yourself. This is very difficult for busy parents who already feel guilty about not spending enough time with their kids. The point here is that everyone needs to be regularly refreshed and recharged. What works for you is different than what works for others. You need to find what refreshes you. Reading, exercise, walking on the beach, visiting a friend, going to a movie, or spiritual retreat. Plan these times in advance because there are always conflicts that will compete for your time. Do it anyway. De-stressing will help you be a better parent. 

Recovery, like parenting, seems overwhelming at first. On one hand, you can’t be a good parent if you don’t spend time with your kids. On the other hand, you must work hard to provide for them. It will be very hard to stay sober if you don’t make your recovery a priority by taking better care of yourself. The answer is to take it one day at a time.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, BS, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Getting to 12-step meetings and spending time with a sponsor is essential.
  • Focus on your kids.
  • Ask for forgiveness whenever needed.

Parenting is tough. It’s even harder while recovering from substance or alcohol use disorder. In early recovery it is normal to feel stress, fatigue, and mood swings. Many parents carry emotional baggage from things such as a strained marriage or divorce. Severe guilt or just feeling like a bad parent is also common. Finding the time and energy to focus on personal recovery while raising children is not easy. 

Tips for parents

  • Getting to 12-step meetings and spending time with a sponsor is essential. But this is where many parents first compromise. They look at their busy schedule and the first thing they cut back is their meetings. This may solve an immediate time crunch but it can also be a fast track to relapse. Of course your kids are most important, but if you’re not sober you can’t be a good parent.
  • Work on your marriage. A good marriage is the best way to have healthy kids. If you need counseling get it. Many religious organizations offer therapy for couples.
  • If you are not married, avoid new relationships. This will only confuse your kids and hurt your recovery.
  • Focus on your kids. They are the biggest responsibility you have. The best way to have a close family and rebuild trust is to spend quality time together. Don’t be like most stressed out families and try to create family time after everything else is done. Your kids need you now. Planning is your best weapon for battling a busy life. Get out the calendar and plan some time together. Going to movies, dinner, or ice cream, and weekend getaways will speak volumes to your children about your priorities. Things that get scheduled get done.
  • Answer their questions about your addiction. But do so in an age-appropriate way. Let them know in your words that addiction is an illness like diabetes. And that you intend to follow your treatment and do whatever it takes to get well. If they have fears or develop any issues of concern, suggest they talk with a professional and encourage them through that process.
  • Shake off the guilt. Early recovery can be full of guilt and shame. Parents in recovery often feel that their bad choices have ruined their kids for life. Sure, mistakes are made, but recovery means letting go of the past and forgiving yourself. Talking with your sponsor, pastor, or a close friend is a good place to start. If feelings of guilt, shame, or depression persist, talk with someone who is trained in addictions.
  • Ask for forgiveness whenever needed. If you have neglected or hurt your child, apologize and ask her to forgive you. Forgiveness is a sign of a healthy family.
  • Take time for yourself. This is very difficult for busy parents who already feel guilty about not spending enough time with their kids. The point here is that everyone needs to be regularly refreshed and recharged. What works for you is different than what works for others. You need to find what refreshes you. Reading, exercise, walking on the beach, visiting a friend, going to a movie, or spiritual retreat. Plan these times in advance because there are always conflicts that will compete for your time. Do it anyway. De-stressing will help you be a better parent. 

Recovery, like parenting, seems overwhelming at first. On one hand, you can’t be a good parent if you don’t spend time with your kids. On the other hand, you must work hard to provide for them. It will be very hard to stay sober if you don’t make your recovery a priority by taking better care of yourself. The answer is to take it one day at a time.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, BS, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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