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How Do I Explain Recovery to My Children?

You may be wondering how to approach the topic of your treatment with your children. After all, your children may have played an important role in your decision to explore new opportunities in recovery. Perhaps they are even the primary reason you chose to ask for help. Being a parent is hard work. When you’re in recovery, it can be even harder.

There is no magic wand that will make this uncomfortable conversation with your children disappear. However, depending on the age range of your children, there are several ways to approach this subject that can make you more comfortable. This article will give you several helpful tips on approaching this subject within the family system.

Why Do My Children Need to Know About My Struggles?

Many times you may feel like you need to protect your children from anything that can potentially harm them. Protecting them from your recovery journey is no different. Parents sometimes think that if they ignore their struggles, the children will ignore their problems, too. However, most children are more perceptive than adults give them credit for. In most cases, they are aware of your struggles on some level.

When you choose recovery, your children will find relief. They may be carrying around a number of emotions related to your addiction. Sure, they may be scared or confused about the idea that you will not be present for a short amount of time while you’re in recovery. However, everyone will be healthier and happier in the long run when you choose recovery. By taking this brave step, you will be taking better care of yourself and of them.

It’s good to keep in mind that you get to decide how much or how little your children are involved in your recovery journey. If you decide not to tell them, you run the risk of the children feeling like you abandoned them. This can cause more problems for the children long-term. It can be better to provide an explanation without going into all of the intricate details.

How Specific Should I Be When Discussing Recovery?

To begin a dialogue, start by mentioning that you are ill and will be going to a special place to treat your illness. If your children are smaller, be sure to utilize kid-friendly verbatim so that they can clearly understand. On another note, if your children are older, ask them what they know or have heard about recovery. Have an open and honest conversation with them about your illness.

This can establish trust within the family alliance and cultivate a sense of unity. No matter when and where you have this conversation with your children, the fact is that you will feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. This is normal and does not mean you should not have the conversation. Regardless of their reaction, it is important to be honest.

If your children are struggling with the idea that you are working on your recovery, you can suggest an Al-Anon meeting. These meetings provide a space where families can gain support from others who have been affected by a loved one’s substance abuse.

Make a Plan for the Conversation

First, take some time to prepare for the conversation by writing down some of your thoughts and what you would like to discuss with them. Sometimes it helps to have a plan or notes to refer back to when having difficult conversations.

Secondly, journal your thoughts and feelings. At times, it can be beneficial to explore your thoughts and feelings on paper. You can reflect within your words and release anything that no longer serves you.

Next, schedule a date or a time of day that seems to be feasible for everyone involved. You want to make sure that all parties are present to allow for feedback and allow them to fully process the information.

Be Honest With Yourself and Your Children

The fact is that where addiction is present, honesty is often not. Be honest, and yet be age-appropriate, within your family unit. In a friendly tone, discuss your recovery and the steps that you are taking to stay on track. When honesty is not present, children often blame themselves for their parent’s addiction. This can have negative effects on the children.

How Do I Know When It Is Time to Seek Individual Therapy?

It is always a good idea to engage in individual therapy. In those sessions, you can explore healthy coping skills. You’ll also have a guide to help you through life’s uncertainties. Discussing your recovery and having an ally within your life is just one of the many benefits of individual therapy. Open and honest conversations can be a wonderful part of the human experience. Individual therapy will provide you with just that.

You are likely aware that you have made several negative choices in your life. You may be hesitant about discussing that with your children. This is a difficult yet rewarding place to be in your recovery. As you become more open and honest about your journey, you will be able to share your success with the little people in your life who mean the most to you. This is a time of growth and change. With just a little bit of forethought and planning (and maybe some guidance from a therapist), you will be on your way to having a successful conversation. This will lead to a healthier relationship in which you all can grow and thrive.

Having a conversation with your children about your recovery can be just as uncomfortable as the day you decided you needed treatment. The fact is that no matter what you say to your children, they will continue to love and respect you and your truth. Spending time in recovery means you are getting to know your true self. What better people to show your true self than your children? At The Guest House, we value the love you have for your family. That is why we take pride in meeting you right where you are and guiding you along toward health. We can help you become braver and more honest with everyone. Give us a call today at (855) 483-7800.