Participating in recovery is difficult for anyone grappling with substance use, but it’s especially hard for women coping with the demands of motherhood and addiction recovery. Like other women dealing with substance use disorders, mothers in recovery may suffer from low self-esteem and less-than-optimal family relationship dynamics. When you add that a mom in recovery must also provide for the health and well-being of her children, it’s easy to see how parenting adds additional layers of stress.

The following information offers insights into how you can help mothers in recovery and their children.

Caring For Children During Recovery

Not every child of a parent with SUD suffers abuse or neglect, nor do they inevitably grow up and express similar behaviors; however, a life shaped by such circumstances can leave lasting impacts. Although not a certainty, it is not uncommon for children to face challenges in school, grapple with low self-esteem, exhibits emotional and behavioral difficulties, and endure the weight of anxiety and depression.

Steps to Empower Children During the Recovery Process

There are steps you can take to help children, including the following:

  • Acknowledge the child’s feelings and encourage them to express their feelings.
  • Provide age-appropriate boundaries and a structured home environment so your kids feel safe.
  • Create a healthy home environment by preparing nutritious meals, engaging your children in healthy activities, and making sure they (and you) get sufficient sleep.

Ways to Teach Children How to Deal With Mothers Being Addicted

In addition, you can help children learn how to deal with a mother with an SUD. Start by encouraging them to understand that nothing is their fault. Make it clear that it is not their job to take care of her or facilitate her recovery. Tell them it is okay to talk to trusted adults if they need someone to confide in and offer them resources such as support groups and individual and group counseling.

Family Support for Addiction Recovery

While children will bear the brunt of living with a parent with substance use disorder, witnessing a loved one’s struggle with substance use can also cause mental and emotional distress among family members. Exacerbated by guilt and stress, family members often unwittingly enable the very behaviors they are trying to help their loved one overcome. You can avoid these pitfalls by finding healthy activities to do with your family member and offering support in the form of accountability and mutual self-care.

Activities to Do With Women in Recovery

Often, people suffering from substance use disorders have trouble breaking away from activities and behaviors that encourage or mask their dependence. The following are ways to help your loved one in recovery embrace their sobriety with new activities.

  • Volunteer. Whether at an animal shelter, a food pantry, or some other community organization, one of the best ways to find meaning in sober life is through acts of service.
  • Learn a new skill. Sign up for a cooking class or learn woodworking or how to speak Mandarin. Nothing engages the mind and bolsters confidence like learning a new skill.
  • Exercise. Join a tennis club, sign up for hot yoga, or join a gym. Getting into shape through regular exercise is a great motivator and gets the endorphins pumping for a natural high.

Steps family members can take to support a loved one in recovery

  • Keep your loved one accountable. Set boundaries and stick to the limits you agree upon. This empowers them to stick to their road to recovery.
  • Stay positive and encouraging. Rather than avoiding the issue, openly and honestly address your loved one’s struggles with addiction and encourage them to do the same. Rather than avoiding hard conversations, let your family member know that you are there for them and share their commitment to recovery.
  • Join a loved one’s support group. You can’t be a resource for someone you care about without caring for yourself. Participating in support groups and online forums for loved ones of individuals struggling with substance abuse can help you deal with the stress of your journey as you support your family member.

Retreat Behavioral Health offers world-class substance abuse and mental health inpatient and outpatient services and treatment to support our client’s growth and healing. To learn more about how to help a loved one pursue a brighter, healthier future, call (855) 859-8808 or contact us online.