Parents have a vital role in the lives of their children. This relationship could affect the child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being, if the relationship is positive or negative. But what happens if their parent or parents are addicted to alcohol? This week is Children of Alcoholics Week (February 8-14, 2015).
National Association for Children of Alcoholics
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 membership and affiliate organization help work with children of alcohol and drug dependent parents. They believe that no child should grow up in isolation and without support. They work to raise public awareness and provide leadership to the public at national, state, and local levels. NACoA advocates for appropriate, effective, and accessible education and prevention services to these children.
NACoA started in 1983 and have help create affiliate organization throughout the country, and in United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada! To reach their audience they publish a periodic online, print newsletters, videos, booklets, educational materials, and will send information packets to anyone who asks. They have a website with information to help children and a toll-free phone number (888) 554-2627.
Children of Alcoholics Week
Children of Alcoholics (COA) Week is a week long campaign that NACoA have led to help raise the awareness of children who are affected by their parental alcohol problems to the public. COA Week is celebrated internationally each year during the week that Valentine’s Day falls on.
This year’s COA Week is about the seven C’s that are important to children about their parents alcoholism. There are 7. :
1. I didn’t cause it
You do not deserve it and it isn’t your fault. Alcoholism affects people of all ages and all walks of life. There can be many reasons why people drink. Children can often feel guilty that they have not been able to help their parent to stop drinking, feeling in some way that they have caused it.
2. I can’t cure it
You had no control over the problem starting and you can’t make it stop. Only your parent can take responsibility for their behavior; but you can look after you.
3. I can’t control it
Your parent’s behavior is not your fault and you can’t control their drinking. When someone has an alcohol problem, they have lost control over their drinking. There is help available, but they have to accept they have a problem and want to stop.
4. I can take care of myself
Look after yourself. Sometimes when a family member has a drink problem, you can spend so much time worrying about them that you forget to look after your own needs. Find someone you can talk to who understands the problem. Talk to someone you trust about how you feel and what you are going through.
5. I can communicate my feelings
Sometimes people feel that they are to blame for their parent’s drinking and feel guilty or ashamed. Understand that your feelings are normal. It’s OK to hate the problems that alcoholism cause, yet love the person who is drinking. Alcohol problems in the family can result in a lot of complicated, confusing and upsetting feelings. It is really important not to bottle things up. Talking and writing about your feelings can help you make sense of them.
6. I can make healthy choices
Remember you are important too. Living in a family where alcohol is a problem can be stressful so looking after you is vital. Find time for things that you enjoy. Sometimes worries can take over, and taking a break can help.
7. I can celebrate myself
Living with alcohol problems can be tough. The problems can take over and things that matter to you can get pushed aside. Remember that you are important. COA Week is about raising awareness of the problems faced by families to help everyone feel less alone. But it is also a chance to celebrate too. Try to think about what makes you happy and to remember things you’ve done that you feel proud of. You are special and worth celebrating.
It is estimated that 25% of children under 18 are exposed to a family member with an addiction to alcohol. Research shows that children in these environment are more likely to develop depression or anxiety and may abuse drugs and alcohol early in their lives.
If you know someone who is affecting their children’s lives with their addiction to alcohol please contact Bridgeway Behavioral Health at 866-758-1152.