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Recovery Challenges Facing Fathers

Recovery Challenges Facing FathersRecovery from addiction is never easy. Fathers in recovery can have even more to lose – or gain – not just for themselves but for their children as well. Fatherhood brings challenges that involve emotions, access to his children, and parenting effectiveness.

Counseling the Father’s Emotions

Once a man begins treatment and recovery, the full extent of the damage done through his addiction often begins to become clear. Painful emotions of guilt and shame can arise. Counselors help Louisville fathers work through these feelings to prevent despair or depression from derailing the recovery.

Fathers may also feel confused by common principles of recovery which may appear to come into conflict with principles of fatherhood. For example, treatment and recovery programs often emphasize the importance of focusing primarily on one’s own recovery. Fathers, however, are naturally concerned with their children more than themselves. Counselors may help fathers in recovery to appreciate the connection between the work they do for their own recoveries and the benefits they can bring to their children through a drug-free life.

Maintaining Access

Addiction threatens a father’s access to his children. Once in recovery, he will often have to defend or even re-establish his right to see and raise his children.

When the father was actively using drugs or alcohol, the mother of the addict’s children may have asked a court to suspend his custody rights or even bar him from visitation. If he is a single parent or the children’s mother is also an addict, courts may even have placed the children in foster care.

Unless there is a history of severe abuse, the courts usually leave an open a path to reunion with the children. That path usually includes specific benchmarks of progress that must be met. Active participation in treatment may be enough to re-establish visitation rights but securing custody is more difficult. The aid of a lawyer may be necessary to guide Louisville fathers in recovery through the legal obstacle to custody of their children.

Being a Better Parent

Recovery can be an opportunity for a father to rebuild his life and his relationship with his children. Many addicts also had at least one parent who abused drugs or alcohol during their own childhood. Sometimes an exploration during recovery counseling of that time in their lives helps Louisville fathers to better understand the importance of modeling behavior for children. They can reconnect with their own children’s experiences and better prepare themselves to help them.

Still, these improved intentions can be difficult to bring to reality. Experienced addiction therapists can help Louisville fathers follow specific, concrete steps to follow through on their intentions. Regular visits, phone calls, or even letters, when engaged in consistently, give fathers the opportunity to connect with their children and become an important part of their lives once more.

The Best Help for Fathers

If you or someone you know is a father in Louisville who needs to begin addiction recovery, call our 24 hour helpline to learn more about treatment options. Your children will thank you. The call is toll-free.

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