Clean and Sober: A Child’s Wish

Diane wasn’t aware that a sixth of Tennessee’s population has suffered from misusing or abusing painkiller prescriptions. She didn’t know that opioid overdoses claimed the lives of nearly 1,500 Tennesseans last year. She was unconcerned with these disturbing statistics — until she realized she was part of the problem.

Diane’s breakthrough moment came when she asked her 13-year old what she wanted for Christmas. Her daughter asked for no gifts, only that her mother seek help to beat her drug addiction.

She fulfilled her daughter’s wish by getting help from an addiction treatment program that included parenting classes taught by educators from The Family Center (TFC).

“Some parents in our classes have never parented when clean and sober,” said parent educator Jessica Prior. “They are anxious to get the tools they need to become good parents.”

The Family Center offers 12 parenting classes each week.   Five of those classes are with parents who are also enrolled in addiction recovery programs.  Participants in these five classes learn important skills which help them parent after addiction.  They learn how to work on developing trust, coping skills, anger management and how to follow routines. They also learn how to repair the parent-child relationship.

“We don’t shy away from talking about how addiction has impacted their parenting,” said Jennifer Martin, lead parent educator. “They feel guilty for poor parenting decisions and ways they have risked the safety of their children.”

The Family Center classes are preparing parents for life beyond the recovery program. “We see the fruits of [TFC’s] work in how parents interact with their children and how their children respond differently to them,” said Amanda Dunlap from The Next Door, an addiction treatment center for women.

The Family Center is taking an active role in helping parents as they recover from opioid and other addictions that are destroying individuals, families and communities throughout middle Tennessee. Learn how you can help fund this vital work.