5 Reasons to Tell Your Kids Why You’re Sober

5 Reasons to Tell Your Kids Why You’re Sober

Telling your kids why you are sober may seem like a frightening thing to do. You’ve tried for so long to shield them from your issues, thinking that by doing so, you are protecting them. But children living with parents who struggle with sobriety are already very aware that something is not right. Helping them understand your journey to recovery in terms they can grasp validates their feelings and may even help them feel less afraid. Just like going to the doctor and getting a treatment plan helps you know there are answers to the way you are feeling, letting children into your sobriety plan can offer them hope that things will get better.

  1. Your Kids Know More Than You Think

One of the biggest deceptions of alcoholism is that you are shielding your children from the problem. Your children already know more than you think they do about your struggles, because they are part of your journey on a daily basis. Your children have watched you drink, try to stop drinking and stay sober for a few days at a time, only to fall off of the wagon again. Now that you are sober, sharing your successes with them can give them hope that you are going to be OK. Keeping this part of the story from them means they continue to live in fear of your relapse. Although relapse is always a possibility, the more they know about your sobriety and what you are doing to maintain it, the more they can relax, knowing that there are others helping you stay on track.

  1. Your Kids Understand More Than You Think

Not only do your kids already know more than you think they do about your journey to sobriety, they actually understand more as well. The ages of your children certainly come into play, but the ability to comprehend that something is wrong and needs to change can be developed at very young ages. Talking to your children about your sobriety at a level they can understand actually validates the very things about which they are worried. Acknowledging their fears, affirming their concerns and providing them with hope that things are changing is one of the best gifts you can give them. Knowing that you are doing all you can to make things better increases their ability to cope in healthy ways.

  1. Children Can Get the Help They Need

Children of often overcompensate for their parent’s struggles by taking on adult roles long before they are capable. This puts a heavy burden on the shoulders of someone who should be simply enjoying childhood. Talking to your children about your sobriety opens up the door for them to get the counseling and support they need to cope with your addiction recovery in healthy ways. Support groups for children and teens are available through AA and other 12-Step programs. Family therapy can give your children a place to communicate with you about their anger and fear. Therapy can also teach them coping strategies and what to do if they think you are using again. Talking to your children about your sobriety can also make it OK for them to talk about your journey to others, like teachers, guidance counselors or members of the clergy, if they feel the need.

  1. It Keeps the Conversation Going

However you choose to talk to your children about your sobriety, doing so opens the door to an ongoing conversation. Just like talking to kids about sex should happen at a pace that is appropriate for their level of understanding, conversations about your sobriety can help your children process what is happening in a way that works for them. Leaving the door open by starting the conversation means it’s OK to talk whenever they feel the need. In the car, at the dinner table, or while working on homework are all situations in which they can talk openly with you and get their questions answered, as long as everyone is treated with respect.

  1. It Lightens Your Emotional Load

Keeping your emotions and stress level in balance is an important part of the recovery process. Telling your kids about your sobriety in terms that they can understand can help lighten your emotional load. Not that you should ever dump more information onto your kids just to make yourself feel better, but sharing with them can leave more room for actual healing to occur. If you’re unsure how much to say and when, enlist the help of a . A therapist can help you know when the time is right for letting your family become part of your journey.

Finding Help for Alcoholism

Your family can be the most powerful weapon in your arsenal against alcoholism. Knowing how and when to bring your children into your sobriety conversation is an important step in the recovery process. If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol addiction, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.