How Can Al-Anon Help My Kids?
How Can Al-Anon Help My Kids?
Alcohol addiction can have a devastating impact on everyone. It doesn’t just hurt the alcoholic, it can also hurt their friends and family. Children of addicts, are the ones who suffer the most. As the spouse or family member of an alcoholic, you are probably wondering about how alcohol addiction affects children. And, how you can find support for children of alcoholics. To help you best support your child or family member who has been hurt by addiction, below are specific issues that children of alcoholics face and programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (Al-Anon) can provide support for children of alcoholics.
Al-Anon and Kids
Fortunately, with intervention, having an alcoholic parent doesn’t have to be a life sentence for the children. It is possible to halt the cycle of addiction and suffering before it takes root in your child. There are support programs geared towards helping the children of addicts, including Al-Anon. When most people think of Al-Anon, they think of 12-step programs for alcoholics who want to escape their addiction, but Al-Anon isn’t just for the addicts themselves. It also has resources and meetings available for family and friends who are impacted by their loved one’s addiction. Some of these resources include:
Al-Anon and Adult Children
Even if your child is all grown up, it isn’t too late for them to find help and support as they deal with the unhealthy impact of growing up with an alcoholic parent. One of Al-Anon’s newest programs is Al-Anon and Adult Children, which is directed specifically at adult children of alcoholics. In these meetings, your adult children will meet adults who have gone through the same thing. They can learn to confront the past and move forward with their future.
Al-Anon and Teens
Another offshoot of Al-Anon is Alateen, a support group for the teenage children of alcoholics. Teenaged children of alcoholics can deal with a lot of anger and insecurity issues, and in these meetings, they will find a safe space to express that anger and frustration and learn healthy ways of coping with their experiences. These meetings also talk about self-worth and healthy relationship formation so that your teenagers can build their self-esteem and learn to have healthy relationships as adults.
Al-Anon and Kids
While there are no programs directed specifically at young children, you as a parent can best help your children my making sure your own needs are met. As a spouse or other adult family member, you can attend Al-Anon Family Groups meetings where you will meet people who support you and understand your struggles. When you have the support system that you need, you can then support your children in the ways that they need.
In short, though having a parent who is an alcoholic can lead to significant unhealthy outcomes for children into adulthood, it is possible for you as a parent to provide support to your children. Al-Anon has proven to be one of the most effective organizations for both addicts and those whose lives are affected by them. For your younger children, Al-Anon Family Group meetings can teach you to understand how addiction affects your whole family and get support for yourself so that you can better care for your children. Your teenage children can get support from Alateen. Even if your children are all grown up, they can still find support and understanding through Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings. By seeking support for you and your loved ones, you can help to break the cycle in your family.
Children of Addicts
Growing up with a parent with an alcohol addiction can have a deep impact on children even into adulthood. Children of alcoholics feel stress, anxiety, and confusion because they might not understand why their parent seems like two different people. A lack of stability in the home caused by the drinking further compounds the stress and anxiety. Children often respond to this lack of stability by developing a fear of losing control, which leads to an ability to just relax and enjoy themselves. They may also blame themselves for their parent’s treatment of them when drunk and feel ashamed of their family situation, which leads to low self-esteem and the inability to connect in a healthy way with others.
These childhood feelings can cause significant problems with forming healthy relationships with other people and living stable lives in adulthood. The children also risk becoming addicts themselves when they become older, whether it be to alcohol, work, or even unhealthy relationships. For these reasons, it is of utmost important that you find support for your child from as early an age as possible that your child has a chance to feel safe, secure, cared for, and above all, loved.