Shareen had struggled with alcoholism for years but thought she had finally kicked the habit. She had a good job and was nearing 40 when an unexpected pregnancy changed her life. She thought she was making the best of the situation but could not shake the disconnect she felt with her child. Frustrated and overwhelmed, she felt forced into a role which she had never intended to play.
After years of sobriety, she eventually began drinking again as a means of coping with the day-to-day stress. One day she picked up her 7-year-old daughter from school while intoxicated. The school called the Department of Human Services and Shareen was ordered to take parenting classes.
When Shareen and her daughter came to CCFI, they both were struggling emotionally. Shareen was having difficulty getting through the day as a single parent, and bonding wasn’t a priority. She didn’t know how to play with her daughter, or how to allow her to be the free-spirited child she needed to be. She felt distanced from her daughter and couldn’t relate to her as a child, instead expecting adult behaviors and responsibilities from her. The result was a relationship based on criticism and disappointment.
Through Child Parent Relationship Therapy, Shareen learned the power of play. She learned to listen and observe, taking cues from her daughter, rather than dictating activities. She learned to be present in her daughter’s life, paying attention and talking about her feelings and activities. Through CCFI, Shareen gained an understanding and respect for her daughter as a human being, rather than a burden. And more importantly, she learned skills that made her confident and comfortable in her own role as a mother.
Shareen also found support and understanding with CCFI’s Parents Assistance program. By connecting with other struggling parents, Shareen was able to feel less alone. She was treated with respect by the group facilitator and the other group members, which helped build her self confidence as a person and a mother. Shareen now has people she can call upon when she feels overwhelmed.
Shareen and her daughter have a long way to go, but by strengthening their relationship, CCFI has given Shareen a second chance at being a positive force in the life of her child.