Alcoholism is known as a family disease. This is because your drinking does not only have negative effects on your life, it hurts those closest to you. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that there are are 18 million alcoholics in the U.S., estimating 26.8 million children are exposed to various degrees of alcoholism in the family. These young children are then twice as likely to develop an alcohol or drug abuse problem.
How Children Are Affected
Children of alcoholics, commonly referred to as“COA”, are directly affected by their parents drinking. Many COA develop coping skills, become resilient and mentally stronger than many other children their age so they they can seemingly function normally in day to day life. However not all COA will gain strength, some will become anxious and depressed, developing antisocial behaviors and behavioral problems, having difficulties in personal relationships, and many turning to substance abuse.
What Your Drinking Brings to Your Child’s Life
Nearly every aspect of your child’s life is affected by your alcohol abuse. These children often experience chaos in their daily life. There is uncertainty, instability and inconsistent discipline from their parents. They may be emotionally and physically neglected. Many of these children see arguments, instability of parents’ marriage, disorganization, violence and/or physical from their alcoholic parents. Alcohol can distort a parent’s judgement, COA are often sexually abused, leaving them feeling emptiness, loneliness, the terror of repeated abandonment.
Each day your alcohol abuse is pushing down on your child’s self esteem as tension, fear, and shame characterize the environment they live in. You child may begin to blame himself for your alcohol problem, they quickly assume you’re drinking because of them. Silly little things like leaving a toy out, not making their bed or getting a bad grade on their test may cause your child to worry that they did something wrong and you will keep drinking. As a parent it is your job to tell your child that your drinking is not their fault, alcoholism is NOT their fault.
Start on the Road to Recovery
It pains you to think of all the damage you have caused to your child mentally, emotionally and even physically. It is now clear that if you continue to drink that your are going to not only destroy your life but the lives of the people you love the most.
It isn’t too late to get the help you need. Reach out and ask for help, start on the road to recovery today and show your children that change is possible. Your alcohol problem is not because of them, but your sobriety is. Get sober today, do it for yourself and your children.