Missing Out on Our Kids’ Childhoods

There are a great many things we regret about our experiences with addiction. One of the most difficult among them is when we miss out on our kids’ childhoods because of our struggles with addiction. Many of us find that our dependence on addictive substances and behaviors is so strong that we make regrettable decisions. We mistreat, abuse, neglect and abandon our children. We end up looking back and realizing that we missed entire years of their childhoods, years we could have been spending time with them, nurturing, guiding and protecting them, forming unbreakable bonds with them, and getting to know them.

Sometimes we miss out on our kids’ early years because we lost custody of them due to our addictions. We might have been so abusive or neglectful because of our addictions, mental illnesses and past traumatic experiences of our own that we simply were not fit to care for them. We might have not been able to be present with them or focus on them because we were zoned out, too high to function let alone be good parents. Whatever the reason for our lapse in parenting, we are often filled with tremendous sadness, regret and shame as a result. We feel so low, and so bad about ourselves. We wonder if our children will ever be able to forgive us. We try to make amends with them and seek their forgiveness. We hope they will be able to see that it was our addictions fueling our harmful behaviors, and not that we didn’t love them. We will try to clarify that we’re not trying to excuse or justify the ways in which we’ve hurt them, but that the drugs and behaviors we were addicted to literally altered our brain chemistry, our thinking, and our ability to function normally. We weren’t ourselves. We weren’t thinking clearly. We weren’t in a healthy place. We were self-destructive and hurting ourselves as much as we were hurting others.

Many of us will find that our children simply can’t forgive us, and that the years we’ve missed with our children sadly continue to accumulate. We miss them more and more as the days go on, and we pray we can come to some sort of resolution before it’s too late, before we miss our grandchildren’s childhoods too, before it’s past the point of making up, before we’ve passed on. We realize that our fractured and estranged relationships with our children, and other loved ones, are yet another sad and unfortunate reality caused by our addictions, and we wish so badly that we could take it all back and start over again.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you get back the life you love. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.