Parents who have grappled with the horror of active addiction regrettably understand well the impact that the disease has on their children. Therapists and clinicians are quick to point out the fact that substance abuse is a sickness for which the sufferer has limited control over their actions while using their drug of choice. However, this explanation offers little consolation to newly sober alcoholics and addicts when they face the reality of the effect that their addictive behavior has had on their children.
The good news is that sobriety offers an opportunity for parents to develop relationships with their children that are more meaningful and rewarding than anything that a life of addiction entails. Recovery engenders a way of life that embraces positivity and gratitude that naturally enhances bonding with children, so the sober person can appreciate how special their children are, and kids respond to this appreciation magnetically.
To begin with, a fundamental issue of availability is problematic for an addict or alcoholic. When an individual is living in addiction, this obsessive condition takes precedence over any other aspect of their lives, irrespective of importance. Sadly, children often get the short end of the stick and things like birthday parties, ball games and simple time together with their parents can become distant memories. Recovery fully provides the ability to engage in the child’s activities and quality time spent with a child becomes a daily pleasure.
Next, there comes the re-establishment of emotional connections with children. Parents that are active in addiction are not able to interact with their children in a proper emotional context because the addict’s emotions have become compromised by the continuous intake of mind-altering substances. When a child is upset about something and comes to the parent for emotional support, for example, the addicted parent cannot connect with them in an appropriate emotional context and children come away from these interactions either more upset or bewildered than they were initially.
Sober parents are entirely focused on their children’s needs and spend the necessary time with them that the children require. A tough day at school for a child now receives the attention and understanding that this kind of experience deserves, instead of dismissive or inappropriate response. Children desperately need their parents for advice and compassion when navigating the challenges that life presents and recovery enables parents to provide positive direction and comfort.
Security is another area that is compromised by an addictive lifestyle. When a child experiences to the inconsistent and often frightening behavior that is exemplified by an active alcoholic or addict, the child’s sense of safety and well-being is understandably affected adversely. Extreme cases may entail children eating poorly or missing school, for example. The kids may not feel comfortable having friends over or may miss events due to their parent’s inability to drive while intoxicated.
Contrasting these scenarios is the behavior of the sober parent. Parents in recovery are responsible and reliable and while it may take some time for their children to fully trust them, as they continuously witness the new behavior of their parents, the sense of trust and security returns. Children of sober parents are thrilled to have them back in their lives, and when they see their parents in the audience at the school play or in the stands at a game, their lives are once again complete.
Often it is the little things that make a difference to a child when their parent becomes sober. A kiss goodnight, if it even happened at all, was sloppy and reeked of liquor in the past. Now, this kiss means the world to the child, because this is one more confirmation that the parent is sober, and they sleep well with this knowledge. When the child gets up in the morning, a healthy breakfast and a fresh-faced parent await. The child gets to school on time and ready to take on the day’s studies because their sober parent helped them with homework the night before. When the child gets off the bus in the afternoon, a beaming, proud parent is there standing straight and tall.
In summation, every part of a child’s life improves when their previously addicted parent becomes sober. The nightmare of the past is swept away with the newfound joy and confidence that a sober parent provides, and a beautiful, exciting new life with limitless possibilities is now a reality.
If you would like to learn more about alcohol addiction and options for treatment, please visit https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/alcohol-abuse/treatment-rehab/