The Top Benefits of Sober Parenthood
Despite what social media likes to try and tell us, alcohol is not a requirement for parenthood. A drink at the end of a long day isn’t necessary to unwind, and dealing with the trials of raising children doesn’t have to be numbed by a toxic substance. The idea that alcohol is a requirement to “survive” being a parent is a dangerous narrative that only benefits the bottom line for alcohol companies. This idea doesn’t do anything to give parents real help or support. As a parent myself, I have found that my sobriety helps me be the best parent I can be, and drinking would make this journey more difficult.
So while society likes to joke about how important it is to have something to take the edge off, let’s look at another perspective of how I think being alcohol-free benefits parents.
1. Not being able to sleep in isn’t that big of a deal.
If you are a parent of small children or have ever had a small child, you will understand that there is no such thing as sleeping in on Saturday morning. Most young children wake up early in the morning and are ready to go right off the bat. Early mornings can be challenging to deal with if you suffer from a hangover or are trying to recover from a late night of drinking. When you wake up well-rested because you weren’t drinking the night before, having to get up early on a Saturday isn’t that big of a deal.
2. There is more energy for family fun.
Being under the influence of alcohol or recovering from a hangover drains the energy from a person. Children have a lot of energy and can be challenging to keep up with. One of the great things about being a sober parent is that you have more energy to spend with your children than you would if you were drinking. Alcohol often robs us of the energy and motivation that is required to be an attentive parent.
3. Financial resources aren’t wasted on drinking.
Even drinking once or twice a week can add up quickly; when a person consumes more than this, it can make a severe dent in their budget. The more areas you can cut back on unnecessary spending when raising a family, the better. Groceries, bills, and extracurricular activities aren’t cheap, but more money will be available to cover these expenses when you aren’t wasting money on alcohol. Why waste money on alcohol when there are so many more productive things that you can spend your money on?
4. We can form meaningful memories.
One of the worst things alcohol can rob a person of is their memories. When we live a sober lifestyle, we can better form lasting memories with our loved ones. Unfortunately, the more a person drinks, the less they will remember and the more they will miss out on. It is hard to form memories while under the influence of alcohol and far too easy to make harmful mistakes.
5. We don’t run the risk of making drunken mistakes.
I once heard someone say, “I don’t mess up every time I drink, but every time I messed up bad, I had been drinking.” If you have ever made a mistake while under the influence you later regretted, you will understand what I am talking about. Alcohol makes people say and do things that they usually wouldn’t. Sometimes these things can be harmless, but sometimes these things can forever alter the course of a person’s life for the worst. Unfortunately, when it comes to our kids, we only get one shot at giving them a good childhood. We all make mistakes when it comes to being parents, but cutting out alcohol significantly reduces the number of unnecessary ones.
6. Our long-term health will benefit.
Drinking alcohol harms a person’s health. The longer a person drinks, the more likely they will develop adverse health effects because of it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long-term health risks from alcohol include but are not limited to:
- High blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, stroke, and digestive problems.
- Memory problems and dementia.
- Weakened immune system increases the chances of getting sick.
- Cancer of the most throat, breast, esophagus, colon, liver, and rectum.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Alcohol dependence.
- Social, family, and job-related problems.
Not drinking alcohol is one of the best things that a person can do for their physical health and emotional well-being.
7. We show our children how to stand up to peer pressure.
Let’s face it, drinking alcohol is very popular and commonplace. This is true to the extent that alcohol is the only drug you have to explain not using. If you told someone you don’t use heroin, they wouldn’t think twice about your response yet tell someone you don’t drink, and the questions usually come pouring in. We often try to teach our kids the importance of not giving in to peer pressure; whole events are taught at schools going over just this very thing. By not choosing to drink in a society that glorifies drinking, a parent can show their child how to stand up to peer pressure.
8. Our priorities are in check.
Alcohol often skews a person’s priorities. Because priorities get altered, physical health, mental and emotional well-being and relationships are often the first to suffer. When we can focus on our priorities with a clear and sober mind, we can better decide what is most important to us. By doing this, we can better show our children the importance of prioritizing things like self-care, family, and health.
9. We show our children healthy ways to cope with stress.
While drinking alcohol may help reduce stress levels for an hour or two, it is not a healthy or sustainable way to deal with the problems of everyday life. People need to develop healthy coping mechanisms. Stress will never completely disappear; it is a part of our daily lives no matter how we wish it weren’t. Because this is something a person will have to deal with throughout their life, it is vital to figure out ways to deal with stress that do not cause more damage.
10. We can be present when it matters most.
Perhaps most importantly of all, being a sober parent allows us the opportunity to be fully present without our children in a way that would otherwise be unattainable if we were under the influence of alcohol. Our children don’t have to see us drunk or hungover; they don’t have to wonder if we will remember what is happening the next day because sobriety allows us to be fully in tune with the current moment, and isn’t that what life is all about?
So while social media will continue to crack jokes about the humorous aspects of drinking to deal with parenthood, I will continue to live a life free from the adverse effects of alcohol. Having a buzz for a few hours is never really worth the long list of adverse side effects that come along with it.