Being a Proper Role Model for Your Children
As parents, our children are often the most important aspects of lives. Unfortunately, the disease of addiction changes behaviors and attitudes in a way that is not beneficial to our children. We might become distant, neglectful or even violent towards them. Once we have entered recovery, it is important to understand that our behavior now can still set a good example for the smallest – and most important – reasons for recovery.
While it is certainly understandable to have regrets about previous behaviors, you don’t have to be ashamed because you suffer from drug abuse or addiction. Rather than focusing on what has happened in the past, you can be a proper role model for your children by embracing the pride that comes with making such positive changes in your life.
If you are currently suffering from drug abuse and addiction, now is the time to change the example that you’re setting for the young people in your life. You can show your children that no matter how bad things are, they can get better.
Family Counseling to Help Clean the Slate
There are two types of family counseling that occur during drug addiction treatment. The first type of family counseling focuses on one patient: the recovering addict. The family members are involved to help the individual recover and guided through the process by the therapist. In the second type of family counseling, the focus is on the entire family and repairing any damage that has occurred due to the individual’s abuse of drugs. Family members can also receive the help they need to recover from the trauma they may have experienced.
According to an article published by Psychology Today, teaching our children honesty may be easier said than done. As a parent, particularly one who has had the experience of drug addiction, honesty may be a very important aspect of breaking the cycle of drug abuse. In order for your children to regain trust in you, you may have to trust them by beginning a tradition of honest communication. By participating in family therapy, your children – in an age-appropriate setting – can witness you being completely honest as all of you place the past behind you and begin building the love and trust you may have lost.
Setting an Example for Healthy Living
Living a healthy lifestyle can be defined differently by many people. When it concerns an individual who is in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, however, the first aspect is fairly simple. Being a proper role model for your children includes taking the steps necessary to prevent relapse. This might mean eliminating certain people from your life and the lives of your children because of their negative impact on your ability to remain sober or because they are actively abusing drugs or alcohol.
Living a healthy lifestyle does not mean you and your children have to join the nearest gym. It does not necessarily mean that you cannot eat fast food occasionally or have that extra dollop of whipped cream on your ice cream. Living a healthy lifestyle does mean that you can set an example for your child on how to take care of themselves in the long run.
A few examples of healthy living choices might include:
- Participation in organized sports to increase self-esteem, exercise, and family time
- Preparing meals at home as a family as often as possible to encourage open and honest communication as well as to meet dietary needs
- Establishing routines – not only for your children but for yourself – so your children can see the overall benefits to one’s quality of life from something as simple as a consistent bedtime
- Observing common safety rules, such as wearing a bicycle helmet, can instill in your children a value for life and safety
- Reduce the amount of stress in your life and the lives of your children by taking their concerns seriously and engaging in relaxation techniques for the whole family
Parenting is not an easy job. If you find yourself parenting alone, don’t be afraid to join a support group that can bolster your resolve to set a good example for your children.
Getting Help When You Need It
Perhaps one of the very best examples you can set for your children is to get help for a drug addiction or alcohol addiction as soon as possible. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain. While it may have been a choice to use drugs for the first time, once tolerance and addiction has begun, it is very difficult to stop using drugs without appropriate treatment. The type of treatment that each individual person needs will vary depending on their immediate circumstances. Some individuals may do well in an outpatient treatment program, while others will require inpatient care.
An outpatient treatment program requires that an individual live on his or her own, outside of the treatment facility, while undergoing psychological counseling or other treatment methods. While this method can be effective, there are certain drawbacks, including:
- Access to people and places that may have contributed to one’s inability to stop using drugs or alcohol
- Limited access to health care related to recovery, including counselors
- Continued stress due to strained relationships
- Continued stress at work
- An inability to focus completely on recovery when faced with the day-to-day requirements and responsibilities of raising children or other responsibilities
An inpatient program, particularly in a residential setting, can offer excellent treatment options in a variety of ways. While taking part in a treatment program in a residential treatment center, an individual will have more access to a wider variety of complementary programs, for instance. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated emphatically that in order for a drug addiction treatment program to be successful, it must address all the needs of the individual. This includes not only treating the disease of addiction, but all of the individual’s needs. Perhaps the individual who is seeking help is suffering from a co-occurring mental illness, such as anxiety or depression. She may face legal entanglements because of her addiction disease. She may feel lost, neglected, or spiritually out of contact with herself and those she loves. There are many holistic treatments that are available in a residential treatment center that can address not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well.
It is also important that treatment last long enough to make a significant difference in one’s life. Detoxifying from drugs is only the first step in the recovery process and must be followed with intensive therapy for a length of time that is different for everyone. By concentrating one’s recovery efforts in an inpatient setting, an addicted woman increases her chances of completing the program. Completing the program, a program designed specifically for her needs, increases the effectiveness in the long run.
Another aspect to consider is the fact that the experts state that monitoring the use of illicit drugs should be an ongoing practice. In an outpatient setting, this means reporting for random or prearranged drug screening on a regular basis. While drug testing may be involved in an inpatient setting as well, the residents are severely limited in their abilities to obtain illegal or illicit drugs.
If you are involved in drug abuse or have developed the disease of addiction, getting help as soon as possible can not only change your life, but the lives of your children and their opportunities for success of the future.