Parents of teen alcoholics and addicts – Episode 254

How can you detach from your teen alcoholic? What is your real responsibility when your child is an addict? How can Al-Anon help?

Mary and Ellen talk about their experiences as parents of teenage alcoholics and addicts. They share what they learned, and how they navigated their difficulties, fears, and hopes.

Our discussion was grounded in these questions:

  • When/how did you become aware of your child’s behavior?
  • Were you in Al-Anon at that point?
  • How long did you struggle before you found Al-Anon?
  • When were you able to admit that your child was an alcoholic or addict? What brought you to that understanding?
  • What were some of the program tools and principles you used first?
  • What were the hardest tools to apply?
  • Did you feel that, as a parent, you needed to help or fix your child?
  • What did you do to help/fix?
  • Did you feel responsible for their behavior?
  • What is the one thing you would say to a parent who is new to Al-Anon?

Readings

We read from or talked about this Al-Anon literature:

Courage to Change, February 17, “faith takes practice”.

How Al-Anon Works, p. 30, “don't pick up the rope”.

From Survival to Recovery, p. 267-268, the “Al-Anon promises”.

Intimacy in Alcoholic Relationships, a new book from Al-Anon in which members share their challenges with all aspects of intimacy–physical, emotional and spiritual–in all relationships affected by the family illness of alcoholism.

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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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 feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Parenting as an Adult Child of Alcoholics – Episode 225

  • What challenges have you found, as an adult child of an alcoholic, in parenting your own children?
  • What program tools have you used, and how have they helped?
  • What is your biggest challenge now?

Several listeners shared their experience around these and similar questions.

Some challenges were

  • Not controlling.
  • Anger
  • Impatience
  • “Hurt people hurt people”

And some tools for better parenting include these:

  • Step 10 — apologize and make amends to our children.
    • Demonstrate humility and honesty — see it in the children
  • Tradition 11 — let it begin with me (attraction rather than promotion)
  • Tradition 1 — unity — guard against dominance — not about “me” but about the family
  • Tradition 2 — a trusted servant (a trustee) to the children — they have their own higher power
  • Tradition 4 — autonomy except where it affects others
  • Tradition 10 — no opinion on outside issues — let the child dress how she or he wants to dress
  • Tradition 7 — self supporting — allow children opportunity to be self supporting to build dignity, respect, responsibility.
  • Concepts of service — shared responsibility (co-parenting)
    • We love the presentation in the Reaching for Personal Freedom workbook, because it helps us understand how we can use the Traditions and Concepts in our own lives, in our families, and other relationships.
  • Step 11 — “I don’t own my children, God owns them” — need knowledge of God’s will.
  • Easy does it
  • How important is it?
  • Detaching with love.
    • “Don’t argue with alcoholics, toddlers, and terrorists.”
    • Let them express emotions without needing to change them
  • Sharing program with children.
  • “What am I hurt about?”
  • Pause — the “Al-Anon breath”

Our topic for next week is gratitude. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com to share something you are grateful for today.
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