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Having Children as Recovering Addicts

The decision to have children when we’re in recovery can be a complex, emotional and difficult one for many of us. We’re afraid of passing our addictions and mental health issues down to our children. We desperately don’t want them to have the same painful experiences that we’ve had. We’re afraid we won’t be able to be the parents for them that they deserve, that our issues will hinder our ability to be good parents. Perhaps what we fear most is that we’ll always be caught in the same destructive cycles and that we’ll relapse when our children need us, that we won’t be able to be there for them in the ways we want to be, that we won’t be able to provide for their well-being, or that we might possibly endanger them.

Many of us forego having children because we assume the chances of relapse or of passing down our addictions are too high, and we just can’t risk bringing our children into a home that isn’t healthy and happy. Many of us grew up in toxic environments ourselves, in homes and neighborhoods riddled with addiction and mental illness. We grew up being exposed to these painful things from an early age. We may have had parents who were not only addicts themselves but who also abused, mistreated or neglected us. We may worry that we’ll repeat these same cycles and not be able to put a stop to the intergenerational patterns that were passed down to us. Some of us already have children, and we’ve spent years embroiled in our addictions while also trying to be good parents. We’ve seen the harmful effects our addictions have had on our children, and we’re filled with shame, sadness and regret because of them. We’re disappointed in ourselves. We don’t want to keep hurting the people we care about, especially our children.

If we do decide to have children when in recovery, we can start affirming to ourselves that it is in fact possible to have happy, healthy families even after battling addiction. Many recovering addicts go on to live lives of sobriety, fulfillment and joy, with partners and children of their own. Healing and transformation are indeed possible, and there are examples of this all around us. We can affirm to ourselves that we are powerful and strong enough, capable and resilient enough, to make the necessary changes in our lives and to stay on course with our goals and our sobriety. We can educate ourselves on the unique challenges of raising children as recovering addicts, and we can surround ourselves with inspiring examples of other people, educational literature and real-life survivors who have manifested the same dream of parenthood that we wish for ourselves.

At The Guest House Ocala, you will be treated with dignity, respect and compassion. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.