A Week for the Kids

Children of alcoholics need care and support

(RxWiki News) Music icon Belinda Carlisle and reality television star Calum Best are two of many showing support for the sons and daughters of those suffering from alcohol use disorder this week.

NACoA, the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, is leading a campaign to help raise awareness about the issues faced when a parent abuses alcohol.

For one week, from February 12th to February 18th, NACoA encourages people to educate themselves and others regarding the struggles of those living with alcoholics.

""Be someone people can talk to.""

In their campaign, NACoA asks others to "imagine coming home from school and dreading what you might find... or worse. Imagine living in a home full of fear and having no one to turn to because everyone denies there's a problem;" further explaining how many children with alcoholic parents refrain from making friends for the simple fear of having to bring them home, dealing with their problems alone and embarrassed.

Calum Best, most recently in Channel 4's Come Dine With Me, struggled with a family history of alcoholism.  Best says, "I’m honored to support Children of Alcoholics Week, if we can spread the word and help people understand the effects and address issues that come along with being the son/daughter of an alcoholic, we will be able to help each other cope with the inevitable harsh effects that come with it." 

His father, George Best, is a legendary Northern Ireland soccer player and the son of an alcoholic mother. Although George was known for his immense talent and charisma, winning the European Cup in 1968, he developed serious drinking issues early in life that lasted its entirety, and George died from liver issues in 2005.  

Calum hopes raising awareness will help others struggling with an alcoholic parent. He believes, "It’s a hidden topic and the more we can reach out to the children and young adults suffering, the better their futures can be."

Here to help these children understand they have nothing to be ashamed of, contributing expert LuAnn Pierce assists dailyRx raise awareness by sharing her experience and expertise.  "Children of alcoholics come in all ages and from every walk of life," says Pierce, a therapist at the Turning Points Counseling Center in Denver.

"Having survived an alcoholic home myself, I can say with certainty that living in that environment can be very damaging.  Secrets, lies, emotional unavailability, unpredictability, shame and often violence or neglect lead to a wide array of problems." 

LuAnn remembered her experiences growing up and the blame faced by her and her siblings.  Her father told them he stayed out so late because they were too rambunctious when they were awake.  

"When I saw the same pattern playing out in my brother's family," Pierce shares, "I made sure my niece realized that it was not her fault that her dad left or didn't come home. She was six at the time."

In both the case of our dailyRx expert and Calum Best, alcoholism recycled through generations causing the same hardships to repeat themselves, but everyone has the choice to break the cycle.  

Pierce hopes dailyRx readers will do their part and be the type of person who reaches out and makes a difference.  "The impact of one caring adult can turn a child's life around," she says.  

NACoA provides a checklist of ways to help on their website. Number one on the list is to "Be someone people can talk to," and this week is a good time to try it out.

Make the extra effort the next few days; it's no coincidence NACoA picks the week of Valentine's day every year to honor these special children.

"Simply listening does make a difference," Nacoa reminds.

COA Week