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Posted on 12th October 2021

Drinking and mental health – How alcohol impacts your self-esteem as a parent & how to get back the ‘old you’

Drinking and mental health are very closely linked. Here is ‘how alcohol impacts your confidence and self-esteem as a parent &  how to get back the ‘old you’’

There’s a strong, self-perpetuating link between alcohol and low self-esteem; drinking more ultimately makes you feel low and when you feel low you drink.

Add into the mix the stress, exhaustion and loneliness that being a parent can bring, and you can find yourself feeling trapped.

A parent surrenders themselves to caring for their child, it’s a gesture of love and putting their needs before yours feels natural. But it can leave a parent looking at themselves thinking ‘what happened to you?!’.

Don’t fill that void with alcohol.

Here are 7 ways to boost your confidence and self-esteem as a parent

  1. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend

Not easy to do as it’s not easy to always notice when you’re beating yourself up. But if you do find your own thoughts are giving you a hard time, switch it around and think what you’d say to a friend who was struggling with the same thing.

You might tell yourself, ‘I can’t even help Harry with his maths homework and he’s only 10! How can I not do that?!’  But a friend would tell you ‘Harry’s vocabulary is amazing for a 10 year old – it’s because you have such good chats with him’


  1. Find time to look after yourself

This takes discipline and effort but it’s worth it.

When (if!) you do get some time to yourself, even if it is just literally 10 minutes, do something for you and only you.

One small thing can be the spring board to feeling good and that can be the start of not falling back on a drink to ‘help’ your mood.

Catching up on a episode of something you like that you don’t normally get to watch…ten minutes breathing exercises with a free app…making a cup of coffee and taking the time to enjoy it. Small things that can lead to big changes in mood and positivity

  1. Tell someone

Parents can feel duty bound to just ‘get on with it’, regardless if they’re running themselves into the ground. By doing this, you’re making it more likely you’ll need to take shortcuts, like drinking, to get glimpse of feeling ok again.

Talk to people. Ask for some help. Especially if it’s a fellow parent you speak to because we would all but guarantee they wish they could ask for help too – and they can, just like you can!

It might result in freeing you up for an extra 20 minutes a week so that you can do take time to look after yourself, as discusses in the point above.


  1. Get professional assistance

Like asking a friend of family member for a chat, asking a professional for a chat can be incredibly helpful too.

There’s a few people waiting to talk to people as a result of the pandemic, so get your referral in ASAP via your GP or even self-refer to one of the many not-for-profit counsellors and therapists that work in your area.

A professional can help you see things in a new way and it’s quite possible, through some very well asked questions, you start to feel a little lighter and a lot brighter…and the idea of a drink to ‘help your mood’ becomes more and more unnecessary.


  1. Have something to look forward to and/or aim at

The treadmill of parenting can grind you down. It’s relentless, and unlike when you work hard at other things, such as your actual job, there’s no ‘reward’. There’s no promotion or pay rise or recognition – you just keep doing it. And that can really impact self-esteem.

So book something in to aim at or work towards. A weekend away with the girls (it will take a lot of planning with child care but it’ll be worth it), an online qualification at something you’ve always fancied having a go at, or even squirreling away some money for a savings goal for a shopping spree.

Having a target and focus can give your self-esteem that lift it might need which means you don’t feel the need to have a drink.

If you feel you need additional help with your drinking or drug use, our Outpatient Community Detox is totally discreet and tailored to you. You don’t need to ‘check in to rehab’; the treatment is flexible around your life.

Get in touch today for a call back from our friendly, discreet and experienced professionals.


NB – the NHS has great advice and help for improving both drinking levels and mental health

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