The Sober Parent – Episode 232

Are you the sober parent in an alcoholic family? What challenges have you faced? How has recovery helped you?

  • What challenges do you face as the sober parent?
    • Keeping your children safe
    • Making decisions about how to parent. What happens when you disagree?
    • Taking everything on.
    • Anger, rage and anxiety.
    • “Parenting” your spouse?
    • Jealousy/resentment of the “fun parent.”
    • Attributing all “problems” to alcoholism.
    • Decision-making.
    • Not know what “normal” is.  Or what “healthy” is.
    • Trying to parent together when you don’t feel strong in your marriage… or when its actually breaking/broken.
    • Protecting anonymity while being honest on medical and education paperwork for my children
    • Traveling for work and setting expectations for care of our kids knowing I really have no control over whether or not my wishes/expectations are upheld
    • Not having control. Allowing kids to ride in the car or even just be at home alone with the alcoholic parent.
  • How did you react to these before recovery?
    • Resentment – LOTS
    • Snide, snarky comments to spouse, spitefulness
    • Anger, particularly misdirected anger
    • Guilt and self-loathing
    • Exhaustion
    • Apathy
    • Depression
    • All or nothing attitude/perspective
    • Relentless pursuit of “agreement” or seeing my viewpoint
    • Lack of trust
  • How has recovery changed the way in which you face these challenges?
    • Living one day/one hour/one minute at a time.
    • Setting boundaries
    • Focus on myself… self-care, self-inventory, stay in my hula hoop
    • Crazy thought train doesn’t stay as long
    • Awareness of my anxiety and anger
    • Learning to pause.
    • Not as hard on myself
    • I don’t always feel compelled to make decisions right away
    • I’m learning to let go of outcomes
    • I’m learning the difference between true issues/problems and simply unmet expectations
    • I apply program to my actions on a daily basis (first things first, how important is it, HALT, etc.)
  • What is a typical day like now?
    • More loving behavior with my spouse.
    • More patience
    • Make amends to my kids whenever necessary
    • I hear from my Higher Power through my children
    • More loving and accepting of myself and more compassionate toward my spouse, which creates a more peaceful environment
    • Imperfect – some days i feel like i’m right back where i started, but that doesn’t last as long
  • How do you face the fears and worries that you have for your children?
    • How do my children see me? My spouse?
    • How can I be the parent my children need? The parent they want?
    • How can I not transmit my resentment and anger at my spouse to my children?
    • But: fear of what’s to come in my children’s lives.
  • What tools do I want to give to my children?
    • “Pause”
    • God Box  (kind words, deep breaths)
    • Acceptance of their emotions
    • A parent who is approachable and thoughtfully responds rather than reacts

Upcoming topics include parenting an alcoholic/addict child, and how recovery has changed the way in which you are a parent. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

Music from the show

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Teach Your Children

David Haas: The God of Second Chances



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