If you’re a parent currently in recovery, you most likely have a goal of rebuilding a relationship with your child or children. Picking up where you left off before addiction is not an option, but approaching the relationship carefully will help you take the necessary steps to repair what once was.
Earning a child’s trust can be hard to begin with, but it’s an integral part of the recovery process. Addressing the subject of addiction and recovery with your child can be challenging as it may bring about a swarm of emotions like guilt and shame, but it’s important not to let that stop you.
Trust isn’t earned overnight, so it will take persistent effort and a good deal of patience until your child gets there. You have to remember they’ve likely been betrayed or hurt by things you’ve done during your struggle with addiction. While you want to avoid scaring your kids, it’s best to be honest and inform them that you are working towards overcoming this disease.
Remind them that your actions are a result of your addiction and why it is crucial for them to say no to using drugs or alcohol. When deciding how to incorporate these tips when you discuss addiction with your children, keep in mind their age and consider where you feel they can cognitively grasp the situation.
Remember to offer your kids grace and remind them that their feelings are valid, too. When you approach your child, it’s important that you don’t underestimate their understanding of your addiction. They may have seen or heard more than you realize, so remember to be as honest as possible.
Keep Your Word
Keeping your word is the most important step in regaining your child’s trust. Not staying true to your word can ruin any progress you have made with your child. This may mean following through with your treatments such as going to therapy, taking your medications, exercising, eating healthy, etc.
Keeping your word may also mean showing up to their activities, school events, or making plans to do something together. Your child will be anxiously watching your every move so take this opportunity to prove you’re there for them every step of the way. Avoid making any promises that you know you won’t be able to keep.
Communication is key in all relationships, no matter the circumstances. It’s undoubtedly required when rebuilding a relationship. You likely withdrew from loved ones during your addiction in an attempt to hide what you were going through. Your child may not have understood why you disappeared or fell silent and feel anxious any time you aren’t around.
It’s crucial that you leave lines of communication with them wide open now that you are in recovery. Constantly relay to them where you’re going and reassure them that you will be coming back after work, running errands, the gym, therapy, or other activities. Something as simple as a text message can go a long way.
Take the opportunity to spend more time with your child now that you are in recovery. Relationships suffer because people do not follow through on their word or prioritize time together. Your family most likely became secondary to your addiction, and now is the time to take an interest in their activities, leave notes in their lunches or send text messages while they’re at work. Whatever it is, be intentional.
Support and advice from others in recovery can keep you motivated and hopeful. Rebuilding trust with your child is a process that will take a lot of patience and can weigh on you from time to time. It’s important to receive support in the process so you can be reminded that it can and will happen.
If your child is old enough, attending therapy together may be a good idea. Family therapy will allow them the chance to understand the situation and how your mental health problems influenced your substance abuse. They may also be able to better understand other behavioral issues that put a strain on your relationship.
Ask for Forgiveness
Reconnecting with your kids requires admitting your faults. Not only should you ask for forgiveness, but you should be as honest as possible. Healing can begin once you apologize for putting them in risky situations, betraying them, or putting their well-being second to your addiction. Owning up to your mistakes can also help you free yourself from the guilt that you’re more than likely holding on to.
Struggling with addiction does not just affect you; it affects your entire family, especially your children. In recovery, rebuilding trust with your children is necessary, albeit challenging. There may be deep pain and resentment built up, meaning the process of reconnecting and rebuilding trust can take a lot of effort. Now is the time to own up to your mistakes and acknowledge that you’ve hurt people around you. No matter what’s happened in your past, today is a new day. It’s essential that you put in consistent effort to better yourself. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, Achieve Concierge is here to help. Located in San Diego, CA, we can create treatment plans personalized to you so you can overcome your addiction and any other mental health concerns you may be struggling with. For more information on the comprehensive services we have to offer, call Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344.