It’s Children of Alcoholics Week, one of my favorite weeks of the year!
This week, thousands of people and organizations around the world are working hard to raise awareness about how common it is for children to be living with alcoholics. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 7,500,000 children in the U.S. live in a home with a parent in need of treatment for alcohol dependency (Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). According to SAMHSA, these children are at greater risk than their peers of suffering from problems such as depression and anxiety, physical health challenges and learning problems, are three times more likely to be abused, are four times more likely to be neglected and face four times the risk of developing substance abuse issues.
Let’s break the cycle.
Here’s how you can help:
Donate to the non-profit organizations that are effectively supporting, educating and saving lives such as:
- The Partnership at DrugFree.org
- National Association for Children of Alcoholics – Nacoa.org and Nacoa.org.uk
- ChildHelp USA – ChildHelp-USA.com
Educate yourself about alcoholism and share informative sites with friends and family.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- BreakingThe Cycles.com
- Others at: JodyLamb.com/Resources
If you are a child of an alcoholic or have/had alcoholic loved ones, please consider the following:
- Talking about it openly among your circles. How have you learned to cope? What do you wish you’d known before?
- Listening, really listening when people share their stories.
- Writing about how you’ve coped on your own blog or offering to write guest posts on established blogs.
- Posting links to helpful articles on the subject on your social media accounts.
- Attending Al-Anon meetings. There are people who need to hear your story.
- Contacting your nearest substance abuse treatment center and inquire about volunteer or speaking opportunities.
- Writing articles for your local newspaper and alert your local events calendar editor when there are substance abuse-addiction-related seminars in your community.
- If you know respected authors, musicians and athletes who can reach larger numbers of people, asking them about championing the cause.
This is near and dear to my heart – and my purpose in life.
I have a loving family in which alcoholism is a major problem. I grew up believing this was unique to my family. I’m still healing and learning from my experiences. I wrote a middle-grade novel with parental alcoholism in a leading role. It was rejected about 30 times before I found a publisher who believed in the story.
Since I began writing about my loved ones’ alcoholism and how I’ve learned to heal (and in the process, help the alcoholics in my life), I’ve had the great pleasure of hearing from kids, teens, young adults and grownups from all over the world. They share variations of the same story, of my story.
They are the most inspiring people I’ve ever met.
I am forever stunned by how widespread alcoholism is in families but hopeful that with education efforts and more people speaking out and sharing their stories, we’re beginning to break the cycles of addiction in families.
Take good care of yourself today and every day.