Help for children of alcoholics and dysfunction
By CATHY THOMAS BROWNFIELD
Family Recovery Center publicist
Family history isn’t “just” about the names and dates on the family tree and where each person’s talents and abilities come from.
The gene pool determines the growth and development of everyone. And that information is important for everyone to know. We all have heard about someone who was adopted and nobody knows anything about the health background of the family that informs of potential health risks.
Family Recovery Center focuses on the well being of individuals, their family members and the communities in which they live and work. Today we want to look at self-help groups that offer assistance to teens when their lives are affected by someone else’s drinking problems. There are others who understand because they have lived through or are currently facing similar difficulties as their lives have been or are affected by someone else’s substance abuse.
While it appears that genetics is involved in becoming an alcoholic, that doesn’t mean children of alcoholics also will become alcohol abusers, said Know!, a program of Drug Free Action Alliance in Columbus. “It does mean that child’s risk for developing a problematic relationship with alcohol is increased About one in four children of alcoholics also develop the disease.”
Parents need to teach their children about family problems with alcoholism in the family tapestry, how that can affect their lives, how they can reduce their risks for alcoholism and let them know how you feel about inappropriate, underage drinking. They need to know how to be responsible for themselves and their well being, the National Association for Children of Alcoholics advises.
It is important for teens to understand that the alcoholic isn’t a bad person. They can’t control their drinking. Teens can’t control an adult’s drinking and they are not the reason for the adult’s drinking problem. There are other teens going through similar things, about 11 million teens in the United States.
Sometimes they find someone they can trust to listen a teacher, a minister. Teens should make a list of “People Who Can Help Me” and carry it with them so they don’t have to try to cope alone. There also are group meetings, Alateen and Al-anon, which are held at 7:30 p.m. Mondays at Fleming House, the big yellow house that love built behind McDonald’s in Lisbon.
The meetings offer teens a place where they can find support and understanding from people their own age who also are affected by someone else’s alcohol problem. Can they help you? How do you know if you need them?
There is something posted online that everyone should read called “The Problem.” You can find it at www.adultchildren.org/lit/Laundry_List.php. The same criteria can apply to victims in dysfunctional families.
If the Twelve Steps sound familiar to you, they are adapted from the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and have helped many members of Al-anon and Alateen to grow spiritually. The support groups are a fellowship of family and friends of alcoholics who share what they know from experience. They help each other.
Part of their preamble statement says, “We believe alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.” There are no membership dues and the purpose of Al-Anon is to help families of alcoholics to cope with alcoholism in the family.
For more information, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. FRC is funded, in part, by OhioMHAS (Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.)