Parents in recovery for substance abuse or mental illness face many day-to-day stresses —managing their symptoms, maintaining their relationships, working, attending self-help meetings, taking care of their children, parenting and other aspects of their lives. The recovery process for parents can be challenging as parents learn how to take care of themselves and the needs of their children.
Self-care is a vital aspect of the recovery process that helps to promote physical, emotional and psychological health and well-being. Parents who practice self-care are better able to deal with stressors related to parenting, caregiving and their daily lives, as well as better manage and overcome setbacks in their recovery. Especially when children are involved in the picture, parents in recovery should utilize self-care to ensure that they are taking care of themselves and do what they can to minimize the disruption in their children’s lives.
Why self-care is important
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recovery is “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” Recovery does not stop after an individual receives treatment — it is an ongoing process that requires a great deal of effort from the patient. It is essential for patients in recovery for a substance abuse or mental health problem to do things to maintain control of their lives, promote their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, and reduce their chances of relapsing.
People who practice self-care do what they can to take care of themselves — eating healthy meals on a daily basis, getting adequate sleep, exercising, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and practicing relaxation techniques to reduce or minimize stress. They take time to themselves when necessary and take time to improve their relationships. Self-care is important because it promotes resilience and continued progress in recovery. People who practice self-care maintain responsibility for themselves and their own lives, which provides a sense of control and helps them to do what they can to live a fulfilling life. In addition, patients in recovery who practice self-care and ensure they are taking care of themselves are more likely to be successful in the recovery process.
What parents can do
There are numerous activities and tasks that parents in recovery can do to ensure they are adequately taking care of themselves, including:
One of the best gifts that parents with substance abuse or mental illness can give to their children is their recovery. Because daily stresses can be particularly overwhelming for parents in recovery, practicing self-care is a useful tool to ensure that they are doing what they can to stay healthy and on the right track in their recovery.
It is vital that parents in recovery do what they can to ensure they are taking care of themselves in recovery so they can be good parents and provide their children with the best care possible. For more information about self-care or about Sovereign Health of Arizona’s behavioral treatment programs for substance abuse, mental illness or co-occurring disorders, please contact our 24/7 helpline to speak to a member of our admissions team.
Written by Amanda Habermann, M.S. clinical psychology, Sovereign Health Group writer
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