Rebuilding a Sober Life: Reestablishing Parental Boundaries in Recovery

Father and child son stnading on a beach in shallow sea water.

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

If you are a parent who has suffered with addiction, you have likely faced many obstacles and challenges with your own children through your journey. Through your struggles, you have likely faced a separation in your relationship with your children, whether emotionally, physically, or mentally.

This is often a result of addiction behaviors and destructive lifestyles. Perhaps you have lost guardianship of your children due to your addiction. Perhaps you have maintained guardianship but lost an ability to relate with your children or effectively parent in a manner that is productive for the entire family.

Restoring Your Family

Whatever situation you may find yourself in, the good news is that families are often restored through the process of addiction recovery. By focusing on your recovery and making abstinence and sobriety a priority, you can begin to bring healing to even the most hopeless family situation.

If you have temporary lost guardianship over your children, you may find that being in recovery allows you the chance to regain custody of your children once you have made significant progress.

Rebuilding a Relationship with Your Children

As you rebuild your relationship with your children, you may find many things challenging. Perhaps your children do not see you as the authority figure or have more a difficult time respecting your parental role. Your children may even have their own struggles, such as:

  • The experience of loss
  • Guilt
  • Shame from observing addictive behaviors

sunny dayIn such situations, it is important to seek out professional help to guide your family through the healing and restoration process. For example, a marriage family therapist can give you effectual guidance in your parenting while help support children though any difficulties they may be facing.

Helpful Resources Are Available

Healing from addiction is a gradual process that involves all family members, parents and children included. If you are unsure how to regain parental boundaries in your own recovery and with your children, do not lose hope.

Take advantage of the many helpful resources that are available to individuals in addiction recovery and enlist professional support. You are not alone in this journey, and there is always hope for restoration.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Are you a parent who is in recovery from addiction? If so, what helped you reestablish your parental boundaries with your own children? What encouragement might you offer to other parents who are in a similar situation?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 1st, 2015
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