The overwhelming nature of recovering from addiction is often likely to cloud one’s vision from the potential of being a parent. Christopher Dale recounts lessons he’s learned from AA and being a sponsor for other recovering alcoholics and how these lessons translate for how he plans to raise his own child to be a well-adjusted adult and avoid the dark cycle of addicted parents leaving trauma on children who grow to become addicted themselves.
The first lesson is that “Coddling is Unproductive”, and how that AA sponsoring lesson translates well to parenting in an age of helicopter parenting. That focusing on immediate relief in exchange for gaining long-term pain is no lesson for growing youth. Discipline and level-headedness are qualities an adult should hold to live a productive and enriching life. A coddled sponsee won’t learn the discipline to recover, and a coddled child won’t grow to be able to endure hardship and achieve.
Recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous has helped me build an incredible life. A restored marriage, a promising career, and a comfortable suburban home highlight the tangibles; the wisdom of the program and mentorship of its members have provided the intangibles – accountability, purpose, sanity.
Two years ago marked the most notable blessing to date: The birth of my first and only child, Nicholas.
This gift, however, also presents my most vexing sober challenge yet: How do I, an alcoholic with a dysfunctional childhood who didn’t even begin maturing until his early 30s, go about the daunting duty of raising a son to manhood? How do I break, as much as any parent can, the cycle of insanity Nicholas has inherited?