Can I be a good parent if I have an addiction?

When I was in my addiction I couldn’t take care of myself. How can you take care of others?

Rachel, Georgia

When we are actively using, we usually question who we have become as a person. When we have children, we question the parent that we have become as well. We often feel like we have let ourselves and everyone around us down.

Though it may not be intentional, our actions when we are using can sometimes cause mental, emotional, and sometimes even physical damage to our children. Luckily it does not have to be like that forever.

Once we begin our journey in recovery and start rebuilding ourselves and our role as parents we can put all of that behind us and move forward to being the best versions of ourselves.

How active addiction affects our parenting

Active addiction can have a negative effect on our ability to parent our children. Actively using substances can cause us to be neglectful towards our children, and sometimes, we might not even realize it.

We may put getting our drugs or alcohol before our children’s needs. Being under the influence can cause us to not be mentally, physically, and emotionally there for our children. Therefore, we may be inconsistent in our children’s lives because our lives revolve around getting and using drugs or alcohol.

Also, when actively using, we are not ourselves, and we may display behaviors we wouldn’t normally. We may not behave as the role models we want to be for our children.

For example, we might become irritable when using or drinking and could take our frustration out on our kids— even when they have done nothing wrong. Using substances can cause us to be very unstable. This can cause us to ruin our relationships with our children altogether if we are using and not treating them right.

While active addiction can cause significant challenges to parenting, it’s important to remember that recovery is possible. Many parents have successfully navigated the journey of parenting while in recovery.

What can I do to become a better parent in recovery?

One of the best gifts we can give our children after having them experience our active addiction is dedication to our recovery. Starting our journey into recovery takes a lot of courage and bravery. Showing our children how strong we are and how committed we are to our recovery will allow them to trust and believe in us again. Taking this first step and starting our journey into recovery will be crucial to us becoming a better parent.

Here are some ways that we can be better parents in recovery:

  • Seek help from treatment programs, support groups, and even therapy.
  • Surround ourselves with a strong support network.
  • Prioritize self-care and doing things that give us a sense of purpose.
  • Be open and honest with our children can improve their trust and faith in us.
  • Help our kids get any necessary treatment or coping skills to help them understand more about addiction or mental health.
  • Practice healthy coping skills ourselves.
  • Learn to set healthy boundaries with ourselves and our children.
  • Maintain our sobriety.
  • Take care of our physical, mental, and emotional health by engaging in activities that bring us joy and fulfillment.

Following these steps will allow us to be a better version of ourselves and to be the best parents that we all strive to be. It does not matter how fast or slow we work on these steps. What matters is that we never give up. We need to be patient with ourselves and allow the healing process to rebuild our lives.

Rebuilding trust and relationships with our children

Exploring ways to rebuild our trust and relationships with our children while managing addiction is important for becoming a good parent despite how difficult it may seem. Allowing our children to take time to process their feelings and recover with us is a crucial part of our recovery process as well. It’s important to remember that repairing our relationships takes time. But it’s possible by being dedicated, honest, and showing our commitment.

Here are some strategies to help us rebuild our trust and relationships with our children:

  • Being open and honest with our children is really important to regain their trust.
  • Having a safe and supportive environment for our children is also very important.
  • Having good communication with our children.
  • Listening to our children and validating their feelings and concerns.
  • Being consistent and reliable shows our children we are committed to being a stable and supportive presence in their lives.
  • Having healthy boundaries and setting routines can be very helpful in regaining trust and a relationship with our children.
  • Seeking professional help and support.
  • Engaging in treatment can provide us with the necessary tools and coping skills to stay on the right track.
  • Demonstrating awareness and accountability for our actions.
  • Ask for forgiveness and apologize for our actions and anything specific we can think of that might have hurt them.

Recovery is a difficult journey but by being open-minded, willing, and honest we can manage our addiction and be the best parents we can be for our children. We and our children deserve to see the best version that we can be of ourselves.

 

 


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Related Topics

Click on each topic to see more articles:

  1. Addiction
  2. Friends & Family
  3. Parents
  4. Relationships

Take an Addiction Test

For people who are concerned about their use of alcohol or drugs. Can also be applied to other behaviors, like gambling or self-harm.