TIPS FOR CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS
For family members, neighbors, teachers and others in a position to talk to a child from an alcoholic family, it's important to know what to say. Here are some tips for youngsters from the National Association for Children of Alcoholics:
- DO talk about how you feel. You can talk with the safe people in your life maybe a close friend, or relative, a school counselor, a teacher, a minister or others. Sharing your feelings is not being mean to your family. When you talk to someone, you might feel less alone. In my home we never talked about anything that happened at home. It all was considered private family business and "we took care of our own."
- DO try to get involved in doing enjoyable things at school or near where you live. The school band, softball, Boy or Girl Scouts, or others. Doing these types of activities can help you forget about the problems at home, and you could learn new things about yourself and about how other people live their lives. I was not the only child in my neighborhood dealing with the same issues. Every adult I knew had a problem with alcohol and/or drugs. I rode horses, I painted, took art classes and read everything I could get my hands on to escape the realities of home.
- DO remember that feeling afraid and alone is a normal way to feel when you live with alcoholic parents. It's confusing to hate the disease of alcoholism at the same time that you love you alcoholic parent. All people have confusing feelings. Having two different feelings at the same time is the way many kids feel about having alcoholic parents. I remember the first time I went to therapy as an adult and being told that I did not hate the drinker only the alcohol. I told them they were full of shit because the bottle could not force itself into my fathers mouth. In time and with the help from my father I was able to work through all these issues and now I have a great relationship with him.
- DO remember to have fun! Sometimes children from alcoholic families worry so much that they forget to be "just a kid." If things are bad at home, you might not have anyone who will help you have fun, but don't let that stop you. Find a way to let yourself have fun. I will not lie, my mothers drinking partners had daughters of their own. We each had many things in common and had a lot of fun during their drinking binges. We got away with many things and saved each other from harm.
- DON'T ride in a car when the driver has been drinking if you can avoid it. It is not safe. Walk or try to get a ride with an adult friend who has not been drinking. If your parents are going out to drink somewhere, try not to go with them. (If you must go with them, sit in the back seat, sit in the middle, buckle up and stay calm.) I can't begin to tell you how many times I rode in the car with my mom or dad driving drunk. Both of my parents had car accidents involving alcohol. Thankfully no one was hurt in either accident.
- DON'T think that because your parent is an alcoholic you will be one too. Most children of alcoholics do not become alcoholics themselves. This is just one of the reasons why I refuse to drink alcohol. I was responsible for changing the sheets on my parents bed after nights of heavy drinking and I have never forgotten the smell of sweat and alcohol. It was just so gross!
- DON'T pour out or try to water down your parent's alcohol. The plain fact is that it won't work. You have no control over the drinking. You didn't make the problem start, and you can't make it stop. It is up to your parent to get help. What your parent does is not your responsibility or your fault. I wish some one had said this to me as a child. Looking back it really would have made a big difference in my life and saved me from years of guilt, anger, confusion and given me the power to make better decisions in my own personal life.
Many of you have emailed me concerning the last post and have asked questions about the circumstances surrounding the Things Left Unsaid post below. In all honesty it takes a lot to make me truly angry and when I feel backed into a corner I come out with what my mother used to call "my acid spewing tongue". While that may be true, my words and feelings are very real and are always backed up with facts and the truth. Writing the post felt liberating and left me with a great sense of peace. Try it yourself and you will understand exactly how I feel =-)
I am still taking antibiotics and I am no longer in need of pain medications. Yay me!
How was your weekend?
Labels: Health, misc
N Posted by Rain at 2/12/2007 12:19:00 AM
jules posted at 5:13 AM
Glad you're feeling better girlfriend.
Wally Banners posted at 2:29 PM
Happy your better now:)
Rav`N posted at 8:16 PM
Went back and read your last post. I second that commenter that said "You go Girl!"
My dad is an alcoholic. He wasn't as bad as some alcoholics gets, but he did get worse towards the end. What finally convinced him to give up was when his liver gave out and he started halucinating. That scared him into getting off the drink permanently.
laine posted at 12:02 AM
glad you're better honey.