Tips for a Sober Father’s Day
Sober Father’s Day
A Guide to Managing Stress and Making Amends as a Sober Dad
Father’s Day is coming, which can be an extra tender occasion for dads in recovery. Drug and alcohol abuse may have strained relationships with your children and partner. The very act of celebration becoming instead a challenging trigger to relapse.
But take a moment this Father’s Day to appreciate how far you’ve come as a dad since getting sober. You are now more approachable. For your children, their “real dad” has emerged: less burdened by guilt and regret, and more available to appreciate this Father’s Day, and many more special occasions to come.
What about those amends? And how can you manage some of the stressful triggers associated with Father’s Day? First, we’ll start with some tips for managing stress. It’s really as easy as ABC (Father’s Day is, after all, a great time for some dad jokes).
Seriously though, ABC is an effective anger management technique that also works well to both improve communication and help you stay true to yourself during stressful times in sobriety.
Here’s how it works:
Does Father’s Day push all those old family buttons? Remember, those buttons only have the power you allow them to have. Instead, redirect, disengage, or call them out. Then you’ll be the one in control and not the triggers.
The power of conscious breathing to calm the nerves and refocus the mind cannot be overstated. Remember to breathe this Father’s Day when you feel yourself slipping out of control.
Despite your instinct to talk and fight when under stress, acknowledge and breathe before clearly and calmly communicating where you’re at in your own head, and how you need the dynamic to change.
This Father’s Day, you might be ready to make a new beginning. But this doesn’t mean your children and partner are ready to completely accept you back in their life.
If you’re still in this stage with loved ones in your life, consider instead writing a letter (or email!) to an individual family member, or your family as a whole.
The written word can be a particularly affecting way to open the door to reconciliation for the following reasons:
- It shows you value these relationships to the point you put it down in writing
- It lets your family know how you feel about them as people
- It presents a picture of how you see them all as people
Making amends can be slow, full of trial and error and long periods of space and processing for every person involved. But this Father’s Day, take the first step.