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Fathers And Drug Addiction: How To Recover And Become A Good Father Again

If you are a father struggling with a drug addiction or alcoholism, it is highly likely that you will end up suffering greatly from these conditions. This is because you will carry a great risk of continuing to abuse your favorite intoxicating substances while also struggling with other concerns at the same time. If you find yourself in this situation, you should take the necessary steps to learn how you need to recovery and turn your life around.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction, also known as a substance use disorder, refers to abusing intoxicating substances to such an extent that you find that you cannot go for long without these drugs or alcohol. When you develop this condition, the drugs that you abuse will be in charge of your life.

Although you might derive some level of pleasure from your ongoing substance use, you will also suffer some negative consequences that you might not be able to ignore. Additionally, your addiction might harm your health, employment, and personal and professional relationship.

As a father struggling with a substance use disorder, you will be in an unique position because you also need to continue taking care of your children and the rest of your family. Even as you continue abusing drugs and drinking alcohol, you will always be thinking about the people who are dependent on you to make good decisions and choices. This might put a great deal of pressure on you - which could make your addiction worse than it already is.

While trying to understand addiction, you should keep in mind that there are two components to it. These are the physical and the psychological components of your ongoing substance use disorder. Both of these components will play a major role in your addiction.

Although it might be difficult for you to overcome your substance abuse, you should always remember that you can do it. With the right level of care that focuses on both the physical and the psychological components of your condition, you should be able to achieve full recovery and turn your life around so that you are a good father once again.

Fathers and Addiction

Research studies have reported that there are many fathers in the United States who are currently struggling with substance use disorder. This is something that has also been reported on social media websites and on mainstream new bits.

However, you might not realize that the fact that you are still abusing intoxicating and mind altering substances does not necessarily mean that you do not want to give drugs and alcohol up. You might also be in a position where you do not want to continue living your life under the control of these substances.

Even so, you might not always understand that there is always a way out of any situation that you find yourself in. this means that there is no reason why you should continue living your life as a prisoner of your ongoing substance use disorder.

You may also find that you have reached a point in your life where you would want to achieve full sobriety both for your sake and for the sake of the rest of your family. At this stage, however, you might be hindered from achieving your goal by the different obstacles that seem to be standing on your journey to full recovery.

Additionally, you could have realized that your substance abuse has been affecting your children and your spouse in negative ways. Even though you might have tried to shield your family from this problem, it will still be clear to you that they have been experiencing the negative consequences of your drug taking and alcohol drinking.

Luckily, there is help for people like you. Through an accredited addiction treatment and rehabilitation program, you will learn all about the struggles you have been undergoing as a father struggling with a substance use disorder.

Such a program could also teach you that you are never alone in your struggles and that there are many other fathers who were addicted but were able to overcome their conditions and continue living their dream lives.

If this is your goal, you should always keep remember that it is possible to deal with your substance use disorder to such an extent that it does not exist anymore. As long as you have the right guidance, treatment, information, and therapy, this is a goal that you can achieve.

Statistics on Parental Drug Use

Various studies have shown that many parents - including both fathers and mothers - have been struggling with addiction all across the United States. Although this problem has been significant for several years now, some people still brush it aside thinking that it is not a major crisis.

Even so, the numbers tell a different story and point out that many people are affected negatively by ongoing substance use disorders among parents. Consider the following statistics on parent addiction:

  • 43 percent of men engage in binge drinking at least once a year; most of these men are fathers
  • If you are an alcoholic father, your children have 4 times as high a likelihood to end up developing the same condition later on in their lives in comparison to those who grow up without alcoholic parents
  • Over 8.3 million American children live in households where the parents abuse drugs and alcohol and develop substance use disorders as a result; this number accounts for close to 12 percent of all the children in the country
  • Studies have shown that 42 percent of men choose to drink 3 or more alcohol drinks in a single sitting
  • The Adverse Childhood Experiences study reports that over 27 percent of its participants watched their parents abusing substances during their childhood

From these figures, it is clear that addiction among fathers should be addressed and treated like a national crisis. As a father, you should also be aware that there are different forms of help available to help you overcome your substance use disorder. You should also put in maximum effort to continue supporting your family even as you try to deal with your addictive condition.

Adverse Effects of Parental Alcoholism and Addiction

As a father, you might be confused and conflicted about the state of your addiction. You might also identify with this condition because you have been feeling like your abuse of intoxicating and mind altering substances has been getting out of hand. However, you should learn about the differences between drug abuse and addiction.

Whereas drug abuse refers to using mood altering substances in any way other than how you should use it, addiction means that you have got to a point in your life where you cannot go for long without taking these substances.

Examples of substance abuse, to this end, include but are not limited to:

  • Drinking alcohol excessively on a regular basis
  • Taking illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin
  • Taking prescription medications for any other reason other than a doctor prescribed
  • Using hallucinogenic drugs in ways that are different from the purpose written on its label for the sole reason of getting intoxicated
  • Using prescription medications without a valid prescription from your doctor

As a father struggling with an addiction, you will be dealing with a different condition altogether. Effectively speaking, addiction means that you find that you cannot go for long without using a certain intoxicating and mind altering substance.

If you have been abusing drugs and alcohol, you might have a high risk of developing a substance use disorder. However, this is not always to mean that you would already be addicted.

In case you are still confused about whether you have been engaging in substance abuse or you have already developed a substance use disorder, you should review some of the typical signs and symptoms of addiction. These signs include but are not always limited to:

  • Continuing to take drugs and drink alcohol even after you have started experiencing problems in your life as a result of these substances
  • Experiencing difficulties at work and/or school due to your ongoing substance abuse
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms every time you go for long without taking your preferred substances of abuse
  • Feeling a deep-seated need to take drugs so that you can feel normal again
  • Finding that you are constantly worried about the next time you will be able to take drugs or drink alcohol
  • Finding yourself at loggerheads with law enforcement officials due to alcohol and drugs
  • Having problems in the family and in your other relationships as a result of the fact that you use intoxicating substances
  • Increasingly isolating yourself from your family and friends so that you can continue abusing intoxicating substances
  • Using drugs and drinking alcohol first thing in the morning

In case you have noticed any of these signs and symptoms, there is a high risk that you might already have developed a substance use disorder. However, you should not be scared or get anxiety. There is help available to help you overcome your addiction and learn how to become a good father once more.

Barriers to Addiction Treatment

As a father struggling with addiction, you might not be in a position to start dealing with this condition and getting your life back in order. There are many reasons that you might give for this decision, including but not limited to:

a) Children

The fact that you are a father with children at home might mean that you feel a bit wary about checking into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation facility to deal with your substance use disorder.

Although this might seem like a reasonable excuse, it is not a good enough reason to continue abusing intoxicating and mind altering drugs and alcohol. In fact, you should use your children as a motivation to seek help for your condition before it continues getting out of hand. This is because your ongoing drug addiction will only make the home environment toxic for your family.

b) Pets

On the other hand, you might have pets to take care of at home. As a father, you may love your pet and even think of them as an extension of your family. Even so, this is not a good excuse to avoid seeking help for your addiction. In fact, you should be able to find another adult to help you take care of the pet while you get the help that you need to overcome your substance use disorder.

c) Timing

You might also feel that the time is not right for you to check into a drug rehab program. However, there is never any time that is right for you to receive the treatment and rehabilitation services that you need to help you deal with your ongoing drug use.

By the time that you feel that you are ready to get help for your substance abuse, you might find that it is already too late for you to achieve full recovery and sobriety as easily as you would have if you had sought treatment during the early stages of your drug and alcohol use.

d) Work

On the other hand, you might have work at a full time job that you think will hinder you from getting help for your substance use disorder. Although many jobs will not allow you to get away for a long time period, you may find that your employer is understanding enough and they will give you permission to seek addiction help.

In particular, if you work in a large company, it might have policies in place that could allow you to enroll for addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs if you are honest about your ongoing substance abuse.

e) Significant Other

If you are a father with a spouse or a partner, you might feel that they will feel abandoned if you go away for a time to get help for your addiction. This is particularly true if you are a young adult and you are worried that you may lose your relationship when you are away at a drug rehab facility.

However, you should always remember that somebody who is truly interested in seeing you get better and improve your health will never stop you from the steps you take to achieve this goal. In fact, you may find that they are more than happy to continue waiting for you to achieve full sobriety and recovery as they take care of your children.

You might use any or even all of these reasons to avoid getting the help that you need to overcome your addiction. However, you should always remember that nothing should come between you and your health and wellness. Although you might be afraid that you still need to continue keeping up with your responsibilities, never forget the fact that a sober father is always better than an addicted one.

Getting Help for Your Children

As a father struggling with a substance use disorder, you should also try to get your children the help that they need. This is because your addiction might have affected in negative ways Here are some things that you can do:

a) Acknowledgement

Start by acknowledging the fact that you have a drug and alcohol problem. This is because if you continue pretending that it does not exist will not help you or your family. Instead, talk to them about the condition and inform them that you are going to get addiction treatment and rehabilitation to overcome in.

b) Journaling

You might also want to encourage them to keep a journal where they can write down their feelings, thoughts, and emotions about everything that they have been going through as a result of your ongoing substance abuse.

c) Commit

Additionally, inform your children that you are committed to them. In the process, you should also let them know that you have started working towards overcoming your addiction for their own good so that they can have a better life as a result.

d) Group Work

It might be useful if you enrolled your children in an Alateen or Al-Anon group near you. This way, they will be able to meet with other children who are of the same age and who have addicted fathers or mothers. Through these groups, they might start healing from the adverse consequences of your substance use disorder on their psychological, physical, and emotional health and wellbeing.

e) Role Models

It might also be in the best interests of the entire family if you encouraged your children to find people who can act as role models for them. This way, they won't be forced to take on the ongoing need to learn how cope with the issues that they have been struggling with by turning to alcohol and drugs.

Effects of Parental Substance Abuse on Families

Even as you continue dealing with your addictive condition, you should keep in mind that child neglect and abuse are serious problems that your family might be facing due to your substance abuse.

In fact, studies have reported that as many as 2/3rds of all the cases of child abuse and neglect involve substance abuse and addiction on the part of parents. This could be as a result of many different reasons.

For starters, as a father who is addicted, you might find that you have been spending a great deal of your time looking for, using, and recovering from using drugs and alcohol. You could also be struggling financially due to your ongoing need to procure these intoxicating and mind altering substances.

In such a situation, your children might not get you to meet their basic needs. You could also choose to neglect them - meaning that they won't have the right level of supervision and care.

Recovering from your addiction is somewhat similar to recovering from certain illnesses, especially those that are chronic like asthma and diabetes. This is in the sense that your recovery will be a life-long process and you might never complete it fully.

If you continue exposing your children to your ongoing drug and alcohol abuse, they will have a high risk of developing mental health and behavioral issues and disorders. They may also suffer developmental, academic, and emotional issues. They also have a high risk of:

  • Becoming isolated and reclusive from their friends
  • Being diagnosed with mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder
  • Engaging in dangerous activities due to a lack of parental supervision
  • Exhibiting angry behavior that could result in violence and lashing out
  • Having difficulty paying attention at school
  • Scoring lower on school achievement tests

This is why there is such an inherent need for you to get help for your substance use disorder and any other co-occurring mental health disorder that you might also be struggling with.

Unless you get help, your children will always be on the receiving end of a poor bargain. You should also seek addiction treatment services to ensure that your children are living with a sober father.

By so doing, you will be able to make sure that your children are getting use to the daily routine that you have set - which will improve their feelings of safety and security. Your behavior will also become more nurturing and predictable. Further, you will be in a position to set clear boundaries and rules with regards to certain behaviors and expectations.

However, if you allow addiction to continue taking over your life, most of these benefits will be lost. This is why you might find that it is increasingly becoming difficult to take care of your family and children.

Getting Help

The best thing you can do as a father with a drug addiction is to get help for this condition. Taking action will ensure that you receive the addiction treatment and rehabilitation services that you need to ensure that you overcome your substance use disorder and any other conditions that you might also be struggling with. The rehab program might also teach you how to improve your parenting skills so that you become a good father at the end of your treatment. In the long run, this decision will feel like the best one you ever made - both for yourself and for your family.

References:

https://www.centeronaddiction.org/addiction

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725219/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64258/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-athletes-way/201607/harvard-study-pegs-how-parental-substance-abuse-impacts-kids

https://www.samhsa.gov/capt/practicing-effective-prevention/prevention-behavioral-health/adverse-childhood-experiences

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1986793/

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_3223/ShortReport-3223.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201211/does-willpower-play-role-in-addiction-recovery

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