"Imagine coming home from school and dreading what you might find. Imagine having no friends because you’re too embarrassed to bring them home in case Mum or Dad are drunk, or worse. Imagine living in a home full of fear and having no one to turn to because everyone denies there’s a problem."
COA Week UK
Today begins a week dedicated to Children of Alcoholics.
I didn't even know there was such a week. Of course, when I was a kid, we didn't have the internet. People still didn't talk to each other, but it wasn't because they were glued to a computer screen. Nobody talked about anything; or was that just my family?
It's comforting to know that organizations exist to try to help kids like I used to be. And, even if a kid is too embarrassed to attend a COA event, at least they can surf over to these sites and maybe not feel completely alone.
The COA US site has some personal stories posted. Unfortunately, I can relate to almost all of them. Throughout this week, I'd like to share some of the stories from the website.
On a personal note, my advice to anyone who suspects that a kid is going through a difficult time is to spend a little time with them and talk to them. If they're geeky pre-teens, they might be inarticulate, but just having somebody who cares can get a kid through the next few scary days or weeks. I know.
Here's one kid's story:
Neglect Is My LifeThere are many trials in life that one must go though, and everybody deals with things differently. Some write, some fight. Everyone in my family seemed to drown their problems with alcohol.
As a six year old, I didn’t’ see the problems that my family faced. My world was big and full of wonder in the eyes of a curious little boy, but having alcoholic parents made my world a lot smaller. I could never put into words how scared, embarrassed and annoyed I was at their drinking.
I learned quickly to figure out what my parents were thinking and feeling. I needed to know what I was coming home to. At some point, my parents split. I stayed with my dad most of the time because my mom’s drinking was really bad.
One time though, my dad left me and my friend on a Friday night to go out and didn’t come home. We went to my friend’s house; I remember his mom was real nice about it. My dad didn’t come home till late Saturday; he didn’t leave me any money or anything. He came to pick me up at my friend’s house and I knew he was hung over. He didn’t talk at all on the ride home and he went right up to bed as soon as we got home. The next morning he acted like nothing had happened. The thing he really forgot about though was that day was my birthday – he never even mentioned it.
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