Mothers in Addiction Recovery: Understanding the Facts and Finding New Ways to Cope
Bringing another human being into this world is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks we can take on. The combination of sleep deprivation from the long hours spent caring for a child can quickly take its toll on a mother. Motherhood can also be an isolating experience at times with a whole new set of stressors – all of the components that can lead to substance abuse. Mothers turning to alcohol as a means of dealing with the demands of childrearing are becoming more and more common these days, but what does motherhood mean for mothers in addiction recovery?
A study published on the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2017 took a closer look at problem drinking in the United States. It found that from 2002 to 2013, there was a 60 percent increase in the number of women who were high-risk drinkers (four or more drinks a day). In the same time period, women with alcoholism (alcohol use disorder) increased by over 80 percent.
Society has reinforced the idea of wine-as-reward. A handful of studies point to the benefits of drinking but at the same time, there are many negatives to consuming alcohol on a regular basis – especially when the person is involved with high-risk drinking.
Using alcohol as a way to self-medicate ends up creating a bigger problem; alcohol can actually increase anxiety levels, doing the opposite of what it’s intended for. Furthermore, the damage that alcohol can cause to the bodily organs is even more pronounced in women due to their increased rate of alcohol metabolization. Alcohol abuse has been linked with several forms of cancer and a host of other diseases.
Tips for Mothers in Addiction Recovery
Sober parenting may have its share of difficulties, but they are nothing compared to losing your life to alcohol again, especially with a child to take care of. Whether you have a partner of you are one of the many single mothers in recovery, you can find a way to create the kind of balance you need to stay clean and sober for your child, but also for your own well-being.
The following explores practical ideas to help mothers in addiction recovery:
- Don’t do it alone – A major part of sober parenting is support. Don’t try to do it alone; find support communities to help you with your sobriety. This can come in the form of support groups or friends that you met in your recovery journey.
- Learn to not play the victim – Once a person gets into the mindset of a victim, then they look or people to blame for problems that they themselves created. Let go of resentment. When you are feeling angry, stop and take a step back and truly consider all the elements of the situation. Think before you react.
- Natural stress relievers – It’s important for mothers in addiction recovery to have an outlet for their stress so as not to rely on alcohol. There are many activities that can help you to de-stress, such as praying, dancing, meditating, spending time in nature, breathing exercises and even just listening to inspirational music.
- Self-care is important – As one of the single mothers in recovery, it’s important to take care of yourself. Staying sober starts with taking proper care of yourself, which includes stopping and doing something about the feelings associated with HALT (hungry, angry, lonely and tired). A quick nap or a phone call to a close friend can do wonders for your sanity.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.