The main difference which exists between alcohol addiction and being addicted to other drugs is that people make too many excuses for alcoholism. I used to make those excuses to myself and people around me. However, the day that I almost crashed my car with my daughters in the backseat, and got a DUI is when I realized how deep I was in trouble. I started the journey to make amends in my life, and things haven’t been the same since. Here is how quitting has made me a better parent.
1. I am more present
Previously, I rarely used to have time for my kids. I was always out there with my friends drinking and hopping from one entertainment spot to the next. I had left the parenting role to my wife and I would sneak in past midnight totally drunk and then leave for work before they woke up. However, now that I have stopped drinking, a huge chunk of time is available for me to bond with the kids.
2. I listen more
If there was a penny for every argument that I have had with my wife over my drinking problem, it would possibly add up to millions or more. The think about being addicted is that others see it and you just do not get why they keep nagging about it. The fights were horrible for the kids, I know I have a lot of emotional damage to repair, but I am glad to have the chance to model better behavior.
3. I stopped yelling
There is a strange connection which exists between being addicted to alcohol and general lack of patience. I would yell like crazy to my kids because they made a small scratch or soiled the car and other small inconsequential things. Fortunately, I can now manage my emotions better, and when they are doing something wrong, I patiently explain why they need to stop.
4. I attend more of their functions
My wife must have warmed a thousand spots in the bleachers over the years as my daughters played tennis. I always had excuses to wriggle out of the responsibility. Now that I am sober, I am present for everything from the school play, picnics at the pack and hopefully, the upcoming graduation speech for my daughter. I love the fact that I have been able to reconnect with them and form that father daughter bond which had been lost.
5. I am a better example
They say that a girl learns about how men should treat her from the way her daddy treats her mother. Well, I am not ashamed to say that when I was addicted, I was a terrible example to my daughters with all the yelling and the abandonment. To be honest, I am lucky that she stuck around and I know how blessed I am to have her. I am most glad that I get to show my daughters how a gentleman treats a lady and hopefully, I am now setting a precedent for healthy relationships with men who will come into their lives.
6. I have discovered more hobbies
Apparently, I am an excellent painter. This is what I learned when I was helping my youngest with her art project a few months ago. Nowadays we paint and visit art galleries during all the free time that we can get. It is an awesome shared talent to bond over.
7. The guilt is disappearing
No one should lie to you that alcohol is effective in numbing emotions. There is always that lingering guilt because you know that you aren’t present as you should be but you also do not know how to get out of the mess. The guilt often leads to lashing out which isn’t pretty. I am glad that slowly my guilt is disappearing.
8. I am more stable financially
You have no idea how much alcoholism has compromised your finances until you quit. There is the time that it takes away from you and the opportunities you do not pursue because you are stuck in something else. When I quit, I did a refresher course and got that promotion and now my family can have what they need far more easily than before,
The benefits of quitting are countless as a parent. As you struggle to clean up, remember the reward will be really worth the struggle.