While struggling with an addiction can feel like a completely isolating experience, it is still a disease that affects everyone. It involves the person struggling with addiction and their family and friends. However, even as one successfully navigates their sobriety, it can be difficult to reclaim one’s role as a parental figure within the family. There may still be barriers standing in the way of an individual regaining a sense of authority and respect for one’s children.
Transitioning into a parental role following addiction recovery comes with unique hurdles and stresses. However, it is possible to reclaim this role despite one’s history with addictive substances, using one’s newfound sobriety as a catalyst to rebuild the respect and trust essential to a familial unit.
Effects of Addiction on the Family
Addiction affects many people, and it is common that one’s family has also struggled to manage the addiction as a family unit. While one may want to tout their newfound sobriety following an effective treatment program, it is important not to shy away from how addiction has affected the rest of the family.
Confronting the Past
There will be times when one is asked to tackle criticisms of one’s past head-on, and being prepared for these dialogues is paramount to regaining trust in transparency. Taking time to acknowledge and listen to how addiction has affected one’s children is crucial for allowing a child’s voice to be heard. Having this conversation can also help guide parents to continue adjusting their parenting strategies to cater to the specific needs of their children.
These conversations can be challenging and may cause feelings of guilt, doubt, and shame; however, it is important to work through these emotions in order to heal. Therefore, it is important to be emotionally ready to navigate these conversations with a healthy approach and mindset when preparing for these conversations.
Healing Takes Time
Likewise, healing from addiction takes time for all involved. While one may want to reclaim their parental role as soon as possible to rebuild one’s familial structure, patience and time are necessary. It can take a long time for trust to develop and for one’s authority and voice to be heard with the intended effects. Treating one’s role as a parent as an ongoing dialogue can aid the healing process as one’s familial dynamic continues to rebuild the relationships following recovery.
Tackling the Dialogue
Sometimes, an individual will correct a child’s behavior only to be met with resistance. For those who have struggled with addiction, this can be a very trying time as a child may not want to listen to or respect a parent’s corrections or disciplines. A child may even bring up harsh past criticisms of one’s behavior. While unfortunate, it is important to be able to separate these two dialogues – the dialogue around correcting a child’s behavior and the dialogue surrounding one’s past. For most instances, both dialogues will need to happen, though not simultaneously.
Navigating the Feeling of Resentment
Asking oneself if such resistance is due to a parental approach or a feeling of resentment is challenging to process. However, refocusing dialogue on one’s past actions and onto the problematic behavior at hand is paramount. Tackling correcting a behavior first while also offering to discuss any pent-up feelings regarding one’s past use afterward or later in a safe space can help a parent retain authority at the moment while not silencing the feelings of one’s child. Remember, it will take time to tackle the tougher subjects, but with some patience and persistence, you will reach your goals together.
Keeping Focus on the Present
One’s role as a parent can be expressed through examples such as dialogues. Making a continued effort to improve oneself, maintain one’s sobriety, and further develop one’s sober identity and hobbies can be a potent message of transformation. Not only can tending to one’s new hobbies continue to benefit one’s sustained sobriety, but it can also help a parent reclaim their parental role by example.
Engage in New Hobbies to Redefine Identity
Inviting one’s children to engage in these new hobbies alongside oneself can further help redefine one’s identity and, thus, their relationship with their children. Trying to force oneself into a parental role can be difficult and is often a road met with resistance. Approaching this role with a degree of understanding, dialogue, and a focus on one’s continued and sustained sobriety can help to rebuild trust in one’s relationships with their children. The goal should be to re-establish a healthy outlook for the future as a healthy family.
Balancing your recovery as a parent can be a difficult act. There are a plethora of additional stresses tacked on to your recovery goals while learning to not only address maintaining your sobriety but also the familial dynamic and its effects. At Excel Treatment Center, we understand the difficulties of balancing your recovery with reclaiming your role as a parent. We can help you create a personalized plan to help you meet your goals today. With individual and group therapy, family programs, relapse prevention, and even parenting classes, we are prepared to help you make the transformation in your life both inside and outside of the recovery sphere. To learn more information on how we can help you, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call Excel Treatment Center at (877) 331-4114 to speak to us today.