Addiction & the Single Parent

Being a single parent is a challenge—and reward—like no other. But if you’re also dealing with addiction, the challenges can seem insurmountable. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome addiction while raising children on your own.

Here, we explore the unique challenges of addiction for the single parent, as well as the family-wide benefits of seeking treatment.

Challenges of Addiction for the Single Parent

Parenting is hard work—and doing it alone can be even harder. Single parents dealing with addiction may be struggling under the weight of negative emotions, such as:

Loneliness. Everyone feels lonely sometimes, but that feeling can be compounded when you’re faced with the task of raising children without a partner to rely on. That can make single parents more susceptible to seeking solace in a substance, which cannot provide lasting comfort and support.

Stress. Bearing the responsibility for your children on your own can be a heavy weight, causing stress levels to skyrocket. But stress relief doesn’t come in a bottle. Rather, substance abuse exacerbates the problem.

Shame. If you already feel like you’re already under a microscope as a single parent, you may be reluctant to add the stigma of addiction. You may feel guilty and ashamed that you don’t have it all together, and you don’t want anyone to know how much you’re struggling.

Fear. Dealing with addiction as a single parent can be scary. You may worry that your children will be taken away if you admit the problem, causing you to hide your substance abuse instead of getting help. That type of thinking keeps you stuck in the cycle of addiction.

Without a partner to provide emotional and financial support, parenting may feel like too much to handle. Substance abuse complicates the situation, with devastating consequences to the whole family. But by getting help at a substance abuse treatment center, you can break the cycle of addiction and trade your negative emotions for positive action.

Family Benefits of Addiction Treatment

Though going to rehab requires a commitment, it’s one worth making. If you choose inpatient rehab, you can take a break from the stresses of everyday life and focus completely on recovery. Or, if outpatient rehab makes more sense for your situation, you can live at home while pursuing treatment. And the family-wide benefits to your addiction treatment are numerous:

Safety. Children of substance abusers grow up without a safety net. They tend to feel alone in the world, without a loving hand to guide them. But when you achieve independence from addiction, you will have a clear mind to focus on keeping your children healthy and protecting them from harm.

Consistency. A parent’s preoccupation with drugs and alcohol robs children of the attention and the structure they need to thrive. By seeking treatment and overcoming addiction, you will be better able to provide positive attention and rituals your kids can count on.  

Emotional maturity. When you’re under the influence of drugs and alcohol, you can’t manage your own emotions and engage with your children in a healthy manner. But when you achieve sobriety, you can model critical skills like self-control, empathy, and self-motivation.

Healthy family dynamic. When children grow up in the chaos of addiction, they tend to take the role of the parent instead of the appropriate role of the child. By getting help in a rehab center, you can reset your entire family dynamic, giving your children the gift of a healthy parent.

If you are a single parent dealing with addiction, know that you are not alone. Reach out for help, and you will find a community waiting to surround you with support.

Is it time to seek treatment for addiction—for your children’s sake as well as your own? Contact our trained admissions counselors at (888) 984-5288 to learn more about Beachside Rehab’s luxury inpatient and outpatient programs.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash