There is nothing quite like becoming a parent. The first time you meet your baby, the first smile, the first words, they’re all magical moments. All of those magical moments make parenting one of the most spectacular times in a person’s life.
Understandably, with those beautiful memories come their fair share of hard times. Sleep deprivation, financial strain, your baby’s health, and your own sanity are all hanging in the balance during this time of major transition.
When faced with difficulty, we all have our ways of coping, and some of them are less than healthy. When our defenses are down and we’re dealing with stress from all sides many people find themselves turning to drug and alcohol addiction in parenthood.
Whether substances were an issue or a casual pastime before, it’s important to keep substance use habits in check during early parenthood. In this article, we’ll explore some tips for maintaining sobriety so you can do what’s best for you and your family.
The best thing you can do to maintain sobriety when you first become a parent is to be prepared. There are a lot of new challenges that come with the territory of a new little one in the home, and discussing expectations with your partner and family unit can help you avoid drug and alcohol addiction in parenthood.
Some things that are important to discuss before the baby arrives include finances, job duties (late-night feedings, diaper changes, setting up doctor’s appointments), family involvement (when do the in-laws get to visit and how long do they stay), and so on. Chatting about these things and coming to an agreement beforehand will save you stress later on.
Have a conversation about sobriety
As part of planning ahead, having an honest conversation about drug and alcohol habits is critical to good communication and preparing for stress. Your partner shouldn’t be blindsided when you’re exhausted and feeling tempted to turn to old habits and you should both anticipate triggers to use.
Your partner can support you in avoiding drug addiction in parenthood, but only if you are honest and open about communicating your needs. You’ll both be preoccupied with the baby when the time comes, so have this conversation and a plan before the rubber hits the road.
Set up some ways to cope
No matter how much time you spend setting up the nursery or reading up on parenting, there’s no escaping the feeling of chaos on those sleepless nights when the baby won’t stop crying. There’s no parent who doesn’t come to this wall, so accepting that times will be hard and having tools in place is a necessary step in getting ready.
Have at least two or three things available to do when you are overwhelmed and need a break. Have a friend on-call or hit the gym so you don’t feel like there’s nowhere to turn except the bar when those triggers become too much. If you have a few things lined up that can help you unwind, you’re more likely to use those outlets than seek out substances.
You should never walk alone in your recovery from addiction, most especially in difficult times. Having social support is one of the best protective factors against relapse so find ways to enlist some extra help from family and friends.
Whether you get support for your sobriety or offer to lend a hand with the baby, knowing you have a team on your side is bound to decrease stress and the chances of using drugs or alcohol. Take advantage of meal trains and offers to clean your house or babysit.
Your priorities quickly reshuffle when you bring that new baby home for the first time. What you once thought was important seems irrelevant compared to nurturing your bundle of joy. While your newborn will take his or her place as number one in your life, that doesn’t mean neglecting your own well-being.
In fact, taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to care for your newborn. You won’t be much help to your family if you’re always running on empty, so fill up your tank in healthy ways. Practicing self-care is a great way to prevent burnout as a parent and there are limitless ways to show yourself some TLC.
Get started with addiction counseling
It doesn’t matter if it’s been minutes or years since you last used drugs or alcohol, anyone who has struggled with substance use in parenthood can benefit from addiction counseling. Especially at a vulnerable time with lots of ups and downs and unexpected twists, having a therapist available can ease the load and let you refocus on the family.
If you’re looking to turn your life around and leave substances behind, check out Silver Ridge Recovery. Silver Ridge Recovery is a rehabilitation center catered to helping adults 35 and up. To learn more about the facility and programs offered, call 828-373-3572 today.