It’s impossible to become a perfect parent. But being a great parent is within reach, even for adults struggling with alcohol abuse. By developing healthier coping mechanisms, including technology’s help, parents may boost their recovery efforts and improve their relationship with their children.
One tech-based recovery tool is the Soberlink remote alcohol monitoring system. Consistent alcohol monitoring without having to leave home helps parents establish healthy routines and remain accountable to their children and co-parents. When custody and alcohol use is in question, Soberlink’s detailed reports enable parents to maintain custody or parenting time that could otherwise be in jeopardy.
Alcohol Use During the Pandemic
Since state and local governments issued lockdown orders in early 2020, people have experienced wave after wave of fear, worry, stress, and grief. Circumstances force parents to juggle remote work while caring for children and managing their distanced learning. Other factors include unemployment, financial distress, working on the front lines, losing loved ones, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
All of these troubles may explain why alcohol consumption increased 14% between 2019 and 2020. Even more concerning, women’s alcohol consumption jumped 41% in that time. Other studies have found similar results — people are drinking more than in previous years.
Increased alcohol use doesn’t equate to alcohol abuse. But some parents may drink heavily or binge drink, which can significantly impact their relationship with their children and parenting time. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines binge drinking as four drinks or more for women and five drinks or more for men on the same occasion, while heavy alcohol use includes binge drinking five or more days in the past month.
Parents should view these as guidelines when it comes to deciding whether or not to pursue sobriety. Some adults may have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol without meeting these definitions. For example, a parent who has two or three drinks daily may find it impacts their mood or capabilities. A parent may drink less in each sitting yet regularly feel a compulsion to drink.
When is a parent’s drinking too much? When it effectively takes them away from their children.
The Impact of Alcohol Abuse on Children
Parents aren’t the only people under tremendous stress during the pandemic. Children feel the pressure too, and their situation is made worse by a parent abusing alcohol.
Parents struggling with alcohol abuse can have mood swings, be irritable, and quick to anger, which is particularly troublesome for children who need help with school. Parents may not maintain the children’s routines, keep promises, or support their children’s emotional needs. All of this impacts children’s ability to trust and cope now and as adults.
A Fundamental Recovery Tool: Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Staying sober as the pandemic drags on is possible with personal, professional, and technological support. Parents pursuing recovery can focus on healthy coping strategies, including:
- Eating a nutrient-rich diet.
- Exercising regularly.
- Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
- Taking one or two rest breaks per day, which could be time for meditation, prayer, yoga, or a nap.
- Avoiding excessive caffeine.
- Doing something fun or enjoyable every day.
No one should build a healthier lifestyle alone. Another recovery tool is a support network. Parents benefit from reaching out to family, friends, or other people in recovery by phone, email, or video calls. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.
For parents who find technological tools helpful, there are mobile apps that can help. Numerous apps offer an anonymous community, motivation, and coping mechanisms. Other apps focus on mindfulness and meditation.
Using Alcohol Monitoring as a Recovery Tool
While a friend or relative can’t be beside a parent every day, technology can. Alcohol monitoring is an option for parents to build healthier habits during recovery. Soberlink’s system is more than an alcohol testing device. It’s a way for parents to build momentum in their recovery while establishing a record of their success.
Soberlink is easy to implement at home, which is necessary to stay safe during the pandemic. A parent doesn’t have to worry about trips to an office or lab for testing. Instead, they choose from one of two devices. One connects to a smartphone, the other works using a built-in cellular connection. Both use facial recognition and have tamper detection. Then, parents create a testing schedule that works best for them, their children, and their parenting schedule if they share custody.
The benefits for parents and their children start right away. Sober parents are better able to maintain a routine for their families, be patient, and focus on their children’s physical and emotional needs. Children who see their parents abstaining from alcohol and testing may feel less stress and discomfort over time.
A parent practicing healthier coping mechanisms can pass that on to their children, who also have to manage their emotions during this pandemic. While alcohol monitoring is performed by the parent, the ritual can foster new, healthy habits leading to creative family activities. Sober parents are better equipped to cook nutritious meals with their children, incorporate kid-friendly exercise, or learn to play the latest video game with their children.
Most importantly, parents can begin rebuilding the trust between them and their children and co-parent. Soberlink tracks their test results and offers court-admissible Advanced Reporting, which is essential during a child custody case.
Recovery Is Possible with the Right Tools
Recovering from alcohol abuse is challenging under the best of circumstances. Pursuing sobriety during a pandemic when there are many additional stressors can feel impossible. But it isn’t. Parents can slowly build new, better habits individually and with their children. One of those habits could be routine, remote alcohol testing with real-time results, proving to themselves and their families that they can abstain from alcohol.
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, but great parents take their recovery as an opportunity to grow as individuals and as role models for their children.