By Steve B
Step Write In: Electric Boogloo
To be honest, I’m still surprised myself at the thought of being a parent even though my oldest child is now five! My journey in parenting in recovery started years ago when my wife and I contemplated having children. We had been married for a few years and also dated a few years before that. We both had years clean before we met each other.
I mention this because I believe that part of being a good parent starts before having children. I have spent years in recovery working on myself and trying to be a better person on a daily basis. To be fair, the clean time also includes many mistakes and learning experiences as well. I’ve learned that to have a successful relationship I need to be healthy first. Early on in recovery my relationships were not as healthy as they should have been. At the time, I needed to actually figure out who I was and become ok living my life. Years later in recovery, I started to enjoy my life as it was with or without a relationship. That was the point when I able to treat a relationship as simply sharing my life with someone special. I’ve found that with my wife. I believe that because we both had a healthier perspective on our lives, she and I are able to be good parents. I am blessed every day to have them in my life.
Full disclosure here, being a parent can be beyond difficult. I love my boys but it’s hard to be a parent! If you are already a parent, you know this. No pearls of wisdom here. What I have found is that recovery benefits my parenting as well. The spiritual principals we practice on our own lives are so applicable to dealing with our awesome and sometimes unruly children. Patience, forgiveness, kindness, love and commitment are a few that stand out. I had children later in life and recovery. That’s not everyone’s story. Some of us come through the doors as single parents struggling to stay clean a day at a time and also toting toddlers as well. If this is you, I want you to know that you and your children are welcome here and my heart is with you. It’s disappointing to say but I was sometimes judgmental of parents with misbehaving children. I’m glad to say that I now see it differently. If you are a parent in recovery, I want to say I appreciate you. You are giving me the direct experience, strength and hope I need to raise these kids. God knows I need it!