Making the decision to be both sober and be the best parent you can be is the best gift that you can give your child. It is a great decision to make, and while it is certainly possible, it will not be easy. But you want to show your child that it is better to live a life that is happy, useful, and sober. You want to show your child that it is possible to cultivate coping skills outside of drugs or alcohol.
Addiction causes severe disruption in families, and usually it is the children of addicts who suffer the most. Whether you are an expecting parent looking to start parenthood with a clean slate or you have been a parent for awhile and you are ready to become sober, your child can only benefit from your sobriety.
To be the best possible parent, you have to first tend to your own needs. Unfortunately, parents tend to overcompensate for this by putting their needs on the back burner. Preserving sobriety requires you to prioritize self-care, so be sure you maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen. In addition, manage stress, get adequate sleep, and do not forget to have fun with your child.
Having a routine is an important part of staying sober, but having a child can mess up your old routine. Do not let that deter you. Just develop a new routine that incorporates caring for your child and yourself. It may take a bit to get into a rhythm, but that is normal for any parent.
Being a parent does not mean you cannot ask for help. In fact, most parents need support from their spouse, loved ones, friends, and coworkers. Although you may not have a spouse, you can ask a neighbor, friend, or family member to help you, even if it is just for 30 minutes so you can take a shower and eat a warm meal.
Child Care Woes
If you find it difficult to attend a mutual-help meeting because you lack sufficient child care, ask if you are able to bring your child. Some meetings are specifically tailored to recovering moms and/or dads. These programs not only understand if you need to bring your child, but they are great for helping you learn to integrate self-care into a daily lifestyle as a parent.
You can do several things to merge self-care and childcare. If you like to walk, use a stroller and take your child with you. Perform yoga stretches while your child plays on the floor with you, and some exercises use your baby as part of the routine. You can place your child in a playpen or special baby seat while you shower or clean.
Remember to be grateful. Stay focused on your sobriety by writing down five things you are grateful for every day. They can be the same things, or you can switch them up. Chances are, you will include “family” fairly often. Family means a great deal to people so spend as much time as you can with your family. This does not just mean those whom you are related to; friends count as family too. Surrounding yourself with people who love and support you is crucial.
Join an online recovery forum to help you stay sober. They offer live chats, online meetings, online resources, and more. Staying sober can be a daily battle, but your health and happiness, as well as your child’s, are worth the effort. By staying focused and remembering to care for yourself and ask for help, you can successfully stay sober and be a good parent.
- Michelle Peterson believes the journey to sobriety should not be one of shame but of pride. Her mission is aligned with that of Recoverypride.org, which is to celebrate sobriety and those who achieve it.