Alcoholism is a disease. Your parent is not a bad
person; he or she has a disease that makes him or her lose control when
drinking. Alcohol does that; when you drink too much, you do and say things that
you normally wouldn't. Maybe the disease makes them do mean or stupid things that
they would not do if they didn't drink.
You cannot control your parent's drinking. It is not your fault. Don't
hide the bottle or try to be perfect; you can't do anything about your
parent's drinking. You are not the reason why your parent drinks. You
did not cause the disease.
You are not alone. There are lots of kids just like you. I'll bet there
are some in your class at schoolkids you would never think of might have a
parent who drinks like yours. Maybe you know some of them because you've seen
what goes on in their house. In fact, from all the surveys done in
the United States, we know that there are about eleven million children with
alcoholic parents living in our country. You really aren't alone.
You CAN talk about the
problem. Find someone you trust who will talk to you. It
could be a teacher, a friend's parent, a big brother or sister, or someone else who will listen to you. At school it might be a counselor, nurse, teacher, or coach. These
are the 'safe people' in your life. You can fill out the sheet we have here called "People Who Can Help
Me". Just keep this list with you so that you can call someone if you feel like talking. We also have a list
of phone numbers here that you can call if you need someone to talk to or for help of any kind. The
phone numbers are on a card that you can keep in your bookbag or other safe place. These numbers are on
the same page as your personal list "People Who Can Help Me." All of the numbers are free; just dial
1-800- and then the number. Also, there is a group for kids called "Alateen". This group has meetings, like a
club, and the kids there share tips on how to make their lives easier. Some schools
have Alateen meetings on the school grounds during the day or after school. Maybe your teacher could help you find one. Or,
you could look for the phone number of Alateen in the phone book or call directory assistance and ask for
the number. (Sometimes you need to call Al-Anon or Alcoholics Anonymous to find Alateen meetings in
your area.) Maybe a grown up you can trust will help you get to a meeting if transportation is a problem
Please don't forget these four facts. They come in handy when you least suspect it.