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To be honest, becoming a parent was pretty scary for me, and truth be told, I never thought I’d be one, so sober parenting brought it to a whole new level.
See, I wasn’t scared because of the sheer amount of responsibility that was to come, but because it was such a void of uncertainty and something I had to do sober.
Thankfully, before becoming a parent I had pretty much established some rock-solid habits to keep my addiction at bay, some of which I wrote before this blog even became a thing.
After doing sober parenting for some time, I can tell you that you don’t need that wine after dinner, some child stress is normal, and you can really do much more in parenthood without booze.
Sober Parenting Builds Better Resilience
I’d always considered myself a fairly resilient guy, and this is because mainly, most things were in my control.
This went out the window when I had to parent and look after a toddler.
See, when it comes to parenting children, your schedule is rarely their schedule, and when patience runs thin, alcohol was never an option to run to when things got tough.
This means I had to ride out every tantrum and cyclone-esque storm that a toddler could bring, and build healthy ways to cope with it, creating better resilience.
This repeated struggle (and boy there were some) and not hiding behind the booze was an absolute game-changer, and on top of resilience, it really shifted my overall perspective on life.
If you are really thinking of quitting drinking, doing it will make you a better parent, and not just for your own self, but your children too.
Drinking Just Makes Parenting Harder
One thing that I’m really not a fan of when it comes to alcohol is wine mum culture.
Too often, wine is touted as an acceptable way to cope with stress while parenting, and to be honest, it has to stop.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t drink wine, and parenting is definitely hard.
It’s more of the fact that if you’re already questioning your drinking habits, drinking the wine isn’t making parenting easier, in fact, It could probably be making it worse.
This is due to The Seesaw Effect of Glutamate and GABA, and drinking alcohol continually offsets this balance, creating more anxiety, irritation, and can reduce our ability to cope with stress the more we do it.
When I couldn’t use alcohol to cope with the stress of being a parent, I knew I could rely on other healthy stress coping mechanisms, such as exercise, meditation, and other relaxation tactics found in my book Hacking Your Addiction.
You Become A More Present Parent (And Role Model)
When alcohol played a big part in my life, I would often be so laser-focused on when the next drink was, not really thinking about anything else (quite selfish really).
When becoming a sober parent, this is never an option, and it allows you to be a little more selfless, establish a mindset of being present, and plan things your children want to do.
Children are also kind of full-time parent watchers, so being present and sober also translates into us being better role models too, which is so damn important.
Parents who often drink or use excessive drugs around their children can cause them to experience neglect or unnecessary emotional stress (Pajarn & Theeranate, 2012), is this something you want for your children?
Be that sober superhero for your kids, and you’ll soon realise why Quitting Alcohol is like Having a Superpower.
You Can Parent Without Alcohol
As I mentioned earlier, the thought of being a parent was kind of a daunting task, and alcohol was often a common coping mechanism according to parenting stories and articles over the internet.
I’ve realised though, after doing it for a few years and experiencing the wild ups and downs that come with being a parent, alcohol definitely doesn’t have to be the solution at all.
Of course, I couldn’t have done this without sustainable healthy habits supporting sobriety and understanding the fundamentals of why we crave.
This is partially the reason why I started my sober tips newsletter, so I could share valuable sober tips to help others like me live an addiction-free life, without limits.
Key Things To Think About When Sober Parenting
With those learned experiences covered, here are some tips to think about for anyone starting or going through the sober parenting journey:
- It’s going to be a struggle: Let’s point out the elephant in the room first, it will be difficult, especially if you’re just in the early days of sobriety. Make sure you build a support network by staying accountable and keep telling yourself, it’s all worth it.
- Cravings come and go: You’ll feel urges to default back to your usual way of coping, these are cravings. Read my article on Cravings 101, and pick yourself up some Glutamine or NAC supplements, learn more on why here.
- Find the silver lining: I’ve had days that are absolute chaos, and I want to throw in the towel by midday. Staying positive is often key though, and finding the small light in the darkness can be enough on those difficult days to just have a small win, look for your small wins.
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Former drinker, Nutritionist, Biohacking enthusiast, self-experimenter, research fanatic, and self-taught writer, Stephen immerses himself deep into the literature of human optimisation and better understand the nature of addiction. His goal is to help people take control of their addiction, reset their cravings, unscramble their broken brain circuitry and use actionable strategies that work ten times better than anything else.