As a dad, you want your children to always look at you as their hero. However, if you’re struggling with substance use, the effects of your addiction are bound to impact or even devastate your family. Even if you believe you’re hiding the signs and your family doesn’t know, you’re probably mistaken.
Over time, drugs and alcohol will have a destructive impact on your health, your mental and emotional well-being and those you love. You want to be strong, but sometimes real strength comes from asking for help.
How Addiction Uniquely Impacts Fathers
Fatherhood is often synonymous with strength. When you struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can’t be the man your family needs. Unfortunately, many men feel like asking for help is admitting to weakness.
Men are far more likely than women to become addicted to drugs. Some of the most common reasons fathers turn to drugs and alcohol include:
- Stress at work
- A need to unwind
- Relationship problems
- Mental health conditions
- Financial difficulties
- Influence from a parent who was an addict
Drug and alcohol abuse has the potential to increase aggression if fathers do not seek addiction treatment. This could include a violent crime, vandalism or violence directed toward a loved one.
Barriers to Recovery for Addicted Fathers
While both women and men have real and perceived barriers that make it difficult to seek treatment, fathers feel some obstacles more acutely. Barriers for addicted dads include:
- They want to be able to handle things on their own.
- They feel that seeking treatment indicates personal weakness or moral failing.
- Male bravado discourages men from admitting they need help.
- They fear a loss of employment or a negative perception in the workplace.
Best Approaches to Help Dads Recover
When a father finally agrees that he’s ready to receive treatment, there are many different rehabilitation programs to choose from. Dads have unique needs, so the approaches that often work best include:
- Therapy and rehab sessions with just men
- Outpatient treatment that can be scheduled around job or family commitments
- Group therapy with similar peers, encouraging dads to open up about their emotions
- Learning new methods of coping with anger or aggression as well as outlets for built-up stress
- Addressing and managing risk-taking behaviors
- Family counseling to help rebuild interpersonal relationships and improve communication at home
Avoiding Common Pitfalls for Long-Term Sobriety
Dads need to keep a positive mindset and focus their actions on recovery. Here are some tips that many dads use to keep on the road to addiction recovery:
- Build a strong support system: Find a sponsor and surround yourself with people you trust. These are the people you can call when any issues creep up to threaten your sobriety.
- Turn to a higher power: Most twelve-step programs recognize substance abuse as a spiritual illness as well as a mental and physical disease. Instead of filling the emptiness inside with drugs, alcohol or anything else, you’re encouraged to turn to a higher power. This may involve prayer, mindfulness, personal reflection or even helping others in need as a volunteer.
- Create a stress-free environment: Many fathers turn to drugs or alcohol to escape the pressures of daily life. In recovery, you will need to create a relaxing space where you can decompress and recharge. You may not be able to control your work environment, but having a place in your home to unwind even for a few minutes will help take the pressure off.
- Get active with your kids: When you struggled with a substance use problem, you may have neglected some of your parental responsibilities. Your addiction recovery is a chance to reconnect and spend quality time with your family. Leave electronics behind and get active. Go to a local park, play basketball, take a hike or enjoy some biking together.
- Trust the process: Becoming a sober dad is not a one-time thing — it’s a process that may take time. Be patient and don’t quit. Make sobriety your short-term and long-term goal.
Help Is Available for Dads Struggling With Addiction
If the cost of addiction has become unbearable for you and your family, then getting treatment is the first step to a more fulfilling and healthy life. At Gateway Foundation in Chicago, we offer evidence-based programs to meet your specific needs. Dads sometimes need personalized treatment approaches that reflect their individual circumstances, which is why we offer rehab for men.
To find out more about our safe and compassionate treatment facility, contact us today or call 877.379.9078 to speak with a member of our team.