Unless you’ve been a child in a home with untreated, unhealthily discussed alcohol (or drug) misuse or addiction, it’s difficult to image what it’s like to be a child in such a home.
Devastating. Scary. Shame-filled. Life-robbing. Sadness. It’s a set-up for a “rest of your life” that NONE of us would ever wish on a child.
Secondhand Drinking Impacts on Children
I was moved to write this post after reading Alana Levinson’s recent article, “Surviving the Secret Childhood Trauma of a Parent’s Addiction.” Not only does she describe the impacts she experienced as a child whose dad was active in his disease of alcoholism, but she also brings in the research that sets forth what those impact can do. For as you’ll read, even after her father disappeared from her life at around age six; even while being raised by a loving, competent mother with a successful career; even after her dad got sober and wanted a relationship; even after she went to college, those impacts were still there. And it was this that turned the table for her:
“Two days before my boyfriend’s flight, I woke up feeling as if I couldn’t breathe, my body burning up, my head pounding. Stripping off my clothes, I lay in the fetal position on the floor, sobbing and gasping for breath, consumed by racing thoughts: I am going to fuck up my romantic relationship. I don’t deserve the kind of healthy love he provides. He will find out that I’m not the person he really wants, that I’m not normal, that I’m damaged and worthless.
“…That night, I decided that I had to call my boyfriend, not sure if I was going to ask for support or break it off. But right before I picked up the phone, I had a moment of clarity. I wasn’t going to push him away. I was going to accept his love. And, most importantly, I was finally going to confront the elephant.”
Alana Levinson isn’t / wasn’t alone. “Over 8.3 million children, nearly 12 percent of all children in the United States, live with an addict,” she writes in her article. And millions of those children never get the help they need to unravel the damage of secondhand drinking (drugging).
Ms. Levinson is a beautiful writer and tells an important story we all must read, so please check out her article, “Surviving the Secret Childhood Trauma of a Parent’s Addiction.”
Additional Articles on the Impacts of Secondhand Drinking on Children
- “What Happens to the Family When Addiction Becomes Part of It?”
- Recovery and Mental Health | Time for a Tune Up
- Secondhand Drinking Prevention
- Shatter the Shame of Addiction
- The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs Study) – the largest, most important study you’ve never heard of – began in an obesity clinic
© 2014 Lisa Frederiksen