Of the 35% of children that live in single parent households the vast majority of them live with their mothers. No one will question the challenges of raising a child alone; aside from providing life’s necessities, they also need social and emotional guidance through every phase of their lives. Sometimes, for a single mother, meeting all of these needs can be overwhelming and they turn to other strategies for relief.
Drugs have become one of those options that single mothers have turned to for a number of reasons. In these cases, it may be best for the mother to seek out help through drug and alcohol treatment programs. But for the single mother, this decision opens up a whole new world of problems that she will have to face.
Most drug rehab centers will require at least the initial phases of recovery to be in a controlled facility until they are able to eliminate the drug from their system. Depending on the extent of abuse, this may represent a major hurdle. Add to that, many of their employers are not willing or in a position to allow them an extended period of time off to go to a rehab center and many of those that do will not be in a position to pay them while they are away from the job. This can throw many of them into a state of poverty, which opens up a whole new set of problems.
Issues of Child Care
She may also face issues with who will take the responsibility of caring for her children while she is recovering. As reported in the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment, there are approximately 14% of drug treatment programs nationwide that offer childcare services while a parent is in recovery. If a parent is not located in an area where she can find one or for some reason does not meet their entrance requirements, she is then put in a position where the children will have to be placed in the home of a relative or friend, trusting their care to someone else.
Single parenting is hard; the single mother may also have some emotional issues that are tied to her singleness. Perhaps she’s recovering from a messy divorce, a death of her mate, guilt over a past relationship, or just dealing with her own inner struggles. Add to that the emotional drain that she will experience while going through rehab. She may end up sacrificing the need to meet her emotional needs or her children’s.
Risk of Losing Custody
Many mothers may be reluctant to seek out treatment because of fear of losing custody of their children. This is a very real fear but it is one of the most dangerous ones to neglect. The longer it takes to find treatment the more of a negative impact it will have on their lives. Keep in mind however that drug rehab is a medical treatment, which affords the right to doctor/patient confidentiality.
While the challenges a single mother will face may seem like they are insurmountable there are alternative ways to overcome them. There are some treatment programs for single mothers that take these challenges into consideration and include a childcare program in their recovery options. These programs work well as they can meet the needs of both mother and child. However, if none of these programs are available, her next step would be to look for outpatient programs that allow her to attend to a daily job every day while at the same time making room for her recovery. This way, she is better able to meet her financial obligations as they come up. Some of these programs may even be at a lower cost or free depending on how they may be supported.
Finding treatment for a drug addiction is the best thing any mother can give to her children. While the challenges may seem overwhelming and the process will not be easy, there are ways that she can get the help she needs without running the risk of losing her family. If you are a mother with an addiction there are a few things to keep in mind: never try to go it alone – always ask for help, it is there for you. Seek out a mentor and never take your eyes off the end prize; your children in a clean and happy home.
More From DivorcedMoms:
- Substance Abuse: Turning To Bad Habits To Cope With A Bad Marriage
- Waiting For The World To Change. Or The Meds To Kick In
- Why Are We So Hard On Single Mothers?