September is National Recovery Month and this week we are shining a spotlight on one of Illuminate’s most impactful programs: Circle of Parents

Circle of Parents groups are led by parents for parents and provide a free, confidential, non-judgemental space where caregivers can discuss the successes and challenges of raising children. 

In addition to general Circle of Parents groups, there are specialty groups offered across Colorado– including Circles for parents in recovery. 

Recently, we had the chance to speak with Circle of Parents Program Manager Toni Miner about Circle of Parents in Recovery and how she has seen it impact participants’ lives. Let’s talk about what we learned!

Social Connections are Essential to Recovery


The purpose of Circle of Parents in Recovery groups is to break down barriers and reduce shame for parents recovering from substance use disorders. Building community and social connections are critical components of recovery, and Circle of Parents provides a space where parents can do just that. 

Group discussions center around recovery and breaking down the associated stigma. Parents with substance use disorders face unique challenges, and Circle of Parents in Recovery groups give parents the hope that they might not find in other spaces.

Circle groups talk about the importance of social connections, how long (or if) group members have been sober, and the challenges specific to parenting with a substance use disorder. Toni explained how helpful it is for parents to discuss challenges with people who have been in similar situations and can relate to their experiences. That way parents don’t feel judged, but instead are building the connections that are so important to recovery.

Lived Experience is an Invaluable Resource

Group members are able to support each other at every stage of their recovery and parenting journeys. Toni has known group members for several years who are now able to encourage new members who are struggling with the beginning stages of recovery.

Some parents first join Circle of Parents when their children have been removed from the home. Toni has seen many of these parents progress so far in their recovery and parenting journeys that they can now share their story with new members who are dealing with similar situations and serve as examples of why not to give up.

The caregivers in Circle of Parents in Recovery groups are the experts on recovery resources in Colorado. Group members are able to recommend community resources for anything another parent might need, from sober living resources to detox support.

“The parents who come to these groups are the resource kings and queens.”

– Toni Miner, Circle of Parents Program Manager

Parents don’t need to be in active recovery to join a Circle. All caregivers are welcomed with open arms regardless of whether or not they are in recovery. Toni explained that parents in her group would rather a parent who is dealing with substance use join the group and receive the support they need than to see them turned away.

The Opposite of Addiction is Connection

When parents have the connections that are necessary for recovery, they are able to reach their full potential. By coming to Circle of Parents in Recovery meetings, Toni has seen parents gain self-esteem, start to believe in themselves, and become leaders in their families and communities. Parents truly become strong advocates for themselves and their children. 

Circle of Parents in Recovery groups have become genuine communities for parents where they can build relationships with their peers and extend and nurture friendships outside of meetings. Toni has even seen how the group members’ children connect with each other and are excited to play together each week. 

Toni’s favorite part about facilitating Circle of Parents in Recovery groups is watching members grow as individuals and as parents.

“I see parents gain self-esteem and really start to believe in themselves and become leaders in their own families and communities.”

– Toni Miner, Circle of Parents Program Manager

There is a Circle of Parents group for everyone.

Choose from Spanish-Speaking, Fatherhood, Parents in Recovery, Parents of Children with Special Needs, General Parenting groups, and more. 

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