After you get sober, you might start thinking less about yourself and more about the others around you. Your focus can begin to turn toward your friends and family. This might come in the form of starting a family or simply contemplating doing so. There are, however, things to consider before starting a family when you are in recovery.
Early Sobriety and Starting a Family
Something you might want to ask yourself when you are newly sober and wanting to start a family is whether you are ready to have a child. When you first enter sobriety, you may feel like you are on top of the world. Your body is finally clean of all substances and you may feel raring to go and move forward with your life, and starting a family may be part of that.
One thing to keep in mind, especially in early sobriety, is that sobriety should be at the forefront of everything you do. Maintaining your sobriety can feel like a full-time job some days. Before you decide to start your family, ask yourself, "Can my sobriety survive the sacrifices I will need to make for my child?" If the answer is not a resounding “Yes,” then maybe a child is not in the cards for you just yet.
That does not mean you should never have a child, it just means that the timing is not right. At the end of the day, staying sober is the most important thing. If the stresses and sacrifices having a child will bring could compromise your recovery, you likely will not be able to give your child the kind of life you want for them. Give yourself some time to settle into your recovery and build your skills and coping mechanisms so that, when the time comes to start your family, your sustained sobriety will not be a question.
Can Your Sobriety Handle It?
Being sober can be a relatively selfish task. It may not seem like it by how much you are able to contribute to your relationships. With that being said, the selfishness aspect comes from the personal time that you must invest to maintain sobriety.
When considering starting a family, take an inventory of how much recovery time you will lose after having a child and whether that will be sustainable. A personal inventory is associated with the fourth step of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA). You do not have to be part of a 12-Step group to participate in the fourth-step process. It is simply a great tool to help you balance some of the tougher decisions you have to make in life.
If going to a support group meeting every day is what helps you stay sober, prepare yourself for the fact that this might not be possible with a child. Raising a child takes a lot of time away from you and you must be able to manage that and make sure that your sobriety can stay intact.
Alternatively, you might need to have a discussion with your partner on how to schedule therapy meetings every day while raising a child. If your partner is wanting a child and you would rather focus on your recovery, that may be another issue that needs to be addressed. Two things that should be unbreakably strong before you have a child include your sobriety and your relationship with your partner.
When You Are Ready
Discouraging the making of a family in early recovery may seem like a negative point of view on having children but it is not intended to be so. It is intended to be realistic and help you avoid some of the pitfalls that you can find yourself in when it comes to starting a family while maintaining sobriety.
There will likely come a point when you are ready to start a family. This point is when you feel confident, not only in yourself but in your sobriety as well. You will be at a point in your life where the risk of relapse has gone down and you are mentally and emotionally fit. This means having a feeling of security and stability in yourself and life.
Having a child is a beautiful thing. The joy a child can bring into your life is unexplainable. The point in your sobriety at which you feel confident enough to start a family will be one of the most rewarding days of your life. It should be a cherished moment. Having thought about this decision thoroughly will set you up for success when the time comes that you can say, “Yes, I am ready to start a family.”
Starting a family when you are in recovery can be difficult. There are many things you have to balance and prepare for. You may want to start a family now, but is now really the right time? It can feel like your life got so held up by drugs and alcohol that you want to do everything you can to catch it back up. However, sometimes it is better to be patient. You may be asking yourself, "How do I know if I'm ready?" Luckily there are people who can help you. NorthStar Transitions, located in Boulder, CO, can be the place to find that help. Our experienced staff can help you and those you care about navigate this difficult period in life. Their experienced staff can talk to you and help you work through the complicated feelings of sobriety and family. Call us today at (303) 558-6400.