Though the recovery community is vast, we are all loosely connected by the journey and the common desire for a better life.
But all of our stories are unique and everyone comes to this place via a different path. If you ask a group of people in recovery what made them stop drinking and seek sobriety, the most common answer will be some sort of stressful event.
Pregnancy May Eustress Sobriety
The stressful event or events that spur sobriety can be either positive or negative, eustress or distress respectively. Perhaps some of the most impactful distress is the death of a loved one or friend from alcoholism or an alcohol-related death. In these and other situations of distress a person may having a hard time staying on the recovery track because they haven’t spent adequate time building coping skills. Eustress is positive stress like a new job or getting married. Sure the situation may be demanding but the outcome is usually more exciting than it is distressing.
Arguably the most life-changing form of (hopefully) eustress is a pregnancy. It’s been said on countless occasions, and in several ways that becoming a mother or a father changes your life, and that change is irrevocable.
A lot of women who struggle with alcohol dependency credit their pregnancy as a jump start to sobriety. They start thinking in terms of “we” instead of “me” because they are now responsible for two lives while they carry a child. This shift in perspective can result in a newfound determination to succeed. Expectant mothers typically find themselves part of a specialized group and program while in treatment.
Pregnancy spurring sobriety is not exclusive to women. Expectant fathers often hear the news and are compelled to get sober for the new arrival. It can be more difficult as there is nothing physically preventing an expectant father from drinking. But there can be a boost in willpower and a renewed sense of purpose upon learning of a pregnancy.
Action Plan for Pregnancy & Sobriety
Ultimately having a baby can be a wonderful and joyous experience for all involved. If you are pregnant, and can help it, be sure you have the right amount and type of support. Developing coping skills and mechanisms is an essential part of any alcohol recovery journey; this goes tenfold for a recovering person preparing for the arrival of a child.
Coping skills and support, at the very least, should include:
- A sobriety program to follow.
- Some type of therapy or release for emotional stability.
- A way to keep yourself accountable.
- A sober support system.
- An emergency support system that is willing to step in if the baby is put at risk.
The desire to get sober can strike at any time. Keep in mind that pregnancy is not the only way to begin a sobriety journey.
Alcoholism and Pregnancy Are Not Compatible
Babies who are subjected to alcohol while in the womb can be born with a myriad of birth defects, from behavior and attention problems to severe physical and mental conditions, the consequences for babies could be devastating.
If you are pregnant and having the urge to drink see a doctor and seek professional treatment, or the appropriate type of recovery support, right away.
About the Author
Shelby Hendrix is a blogger from the Northern Midwest with close personal ties to the addiction world. She focuses on the addiction landscape to reach out to those fighting alcoholism and compel them to seek an informed, healthy recovery.