Single parenting in itself is tough, but single parenting while holding your ground in recovery is daunting. There you are doing your best to navigate life sober while tending to the seemingly incessant needs of little children. As most parents will admit, the time and energy devoted to child-rearing can be exhausting. Yes, it is absolutely worth it, but some days it can wear you down until you’re barely able to stay standing.
Add making recovery meetings and doing step work to the agenda and life can become pretty hectic. This is why it is necessary to approach single parenting and recovery with an optimistic and survival attitude. With some effort and wisdom, you can learn how to manage the kids’ needs for a sitter and find that quiet time you need for yourself.
Here are 6 wonderful tips to survive single parenting while in recovery.
1. Make a Commitment
Yes, you are a mother or father and parenting is your most important role right now. And yes, you will also be able to care for your children and attend recovery meetings. The first thing you must do is make a commitment to actually attend meetings and work the program. You can go sit in five meetings a week but if you are not really taking the program seriously and working the steps, you’re not really going to grow. Carve out a plan to attend a certain amount of meetings per week and do your absolute best in sticking with that goal.
2. Secure a Trusting Babysitter
This is what trips up a lot of single parents. They either don’t know who to trust with their children or they cannot afford to pay a babysitter. Keep in mind that there are a few options to play with. First, ask family and friends to commit to watching the kids once or twice a week. Let them know that you are serious about recovery and it would be greatly appreciated if they could help you out. Also, you may find another single parent in recovery that you could take turns watching your kids with while alternating meetings. If you can afford a sitter, ask around for a good babysitting referral or check online sites like Care.com. Accept that your recovery is very important and it allows you to be the best parent you can be, so securing a trusting babysitter is guilt-free and worth the investment.
3. Work the Steps in Bite-Size Chunks
You’d be surprised at how just 15 minutes of reading and working on the steps each day can help you grow considerably. Commit to taking that small chunk of time to get out your step working guide or read something inspirational to help you grow stronger. Many single parents admit that this is best done in the morning before the kids awaken or at night after the kids are put to bed. When you take the time to invest in personal growth, you will certainly grow and your children will be the first to see it.
4. Be Open with Your Children
Be open and honest with your children about your recovery program. Depending on their ages, you can disclose information about your days of addiction and how you are now living a sober life dedicated to being the best person you can be. Allow them to ask questions and be involved in the recovery process. Let them know it is important that you go to recovery meetings and work the steps.
5. Build a Support Network
As a single parent, you might not get very much adult conversation or support so be sure to build up your support network. Having others that will share life with you and encourage you is important. In fact, many people who have friends and a support network admit that they are happier than when they were isolated. A great place to start your support network is your 12 Step group. And if you get involved in any hobbies, you may also meet like-minded people to connect with there. Join a fitness class and mingle. Volunteer for a good cause and get to know others. Make friends with a neighbor. There are many ways to build up your network.
6. Frequent Single Parenting Websites
There happens to be plenty of other single parents who are willing to share wonderful advice and tips for you. Become a regular visitor to websites or online groups that interest you on the topics of single parenting and/or recovery. Join forums and chat groups so that you can vent when needed, ask for help and share your encouragement as well.
Being a parent is a huge blessing. If you are single, know that you are not alone. Many others are navigating single parenthood and doing it quite well. Take these tips into consideration as you navigate the challenging but rewarding paths of parenting and recovery.
If you're a single parent in recovery or know someone who is, share your experiences below and what you've learned in the process.