Happy Father’s Day! Just like each person has a unique addiction story and approach to recovery, everyone has a different relationship with their dad. Some are close with their fathers, some have a strained relationship, some have lost their dads, some are in recovery while their dad is in active addiction or vice versa, and so many other circumstances. There are as many relationships with dads as there are dads.
Coping With Painful Feelings
If this holiday is difficult for you, remember that it is okay to feel whatever you’re feeling. It’s a day where you are constantly reminded of a relationship you either don’t have or lost.
I’ve heard from people who are estranged from a parent that social media can be hard on Mother’s or Father’s Day. If it helps, stay off social media until tomorrow. Try putting your phone in another room, or only using it to call a supportive person in your life. Do things that feel nourishing to you, like engaging in hobbies or relaxing with a book.
If you’re not spending the day with your dad, this day can either be for reflection or healthy distractions. Whatever feels more appropriate for you is best; it might switch throughout the day. For reflecting, you can try journaling, contemplating what you didn’t get from that relationship that might be possible to give yourself. Or you might just get your feelings out on the page.
If you don’t want to think about it today, try looking for “flow state” activities (we shared some tips for reaching this state here). These are things that put you “in the zone,” and they’re inherently distracting. Go for a hike or a walk around your neighborhood. Call a supportive person that you know isn’t with their family.
Recovery and Father’s Day
Even if you have a great relationship with your dad or kids, if you’re in recovery, this day can still be hard. Father’s Day is the fourth-largest holiday for beer sales. If either you or your dad (or both!) are sober, there are lots of ways to celebrate without drinking. Have a meal together, go on a hike, watch a movie at home. Anything you would do with a drink in your hand—beyond just sitting and drinking—you can do sober.
If you are a father yourself and in recovery, take this day to be proud; recognize the huge gift you give your kids by staying sober. One dad in recovery said, “Being sober has shaped the way I father basically by allowing me to be present. When I was drinking, by the end of the line I was usually either angry or absent—not the kind of person who would be a fit father. Being sober has given me the tools to engage with people in a healthy way and be present and contribute to my relationships, including those with my kids.”
Father’s Day is a great day for some and a hard one for others. Wherever you’re at, honor the experience. Part of recovery is letting yourself feel everything you feel, without using drugs or alcohol.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help available. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build a great life in recovery. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.