It’s Not Your Fault!

Hi!

 

Are you worried that your Mom or Dad drinks too much or uses drugs? You are right to be concerned— about their safety and health, about what will happen to you, about their embarrassing you or criticizing you unfairly, about breaking promises, about driving under the influence, and about lots of other things that create unpredictability and confusion. While you cannot stop your parent from drinking or using drugs, you can take steps to make things better for yourself.

Facts You Should Know…

One in four youth under age 18 lives in a family where a person abuses alcohol or suffers from alcoholism. Countless others are affected by a family member’s use of drugs.

Remember: You are not alone. Lots of teens are in your situation and it’s important to address it.

Addiction to alcohol or drugs is a disease. When one member of the family has this disease, all family members are affected.

Remember: It’s not your fault; it’s a disease.

You didn’t cause it, and you can’t make it stop.

You need and deserve help for yourself.

Young people with alcohol- or drug addicted parents are four times more likely to become addicted if they choose to drink alcohol or use illegal drugs.

Remember: You can’t get addicted if you don’t drink or use drugs.

Take Care of Yourself…

Talk with an adult—maybe a teacher, school counselor or nurse, friend’s parent, doctor, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or neighbor—who will listen and help you deal with problems at home.

Join a support group—they’re great places to meet other young people who are struggling with the same problems at home that you face. To find a local support group, talk to your school counselor or social worker.

Remember: It is important to find caring adults who can help you.

Talking to them really helps.

Get involved in activities at school and in the community where you can hang out with other young people, use your special talents and strengths and learn new skills while you are having fun.

Remember: Even if the person with the disease doesn’t get help, you can still get the help you need to feel better and to have a safe and productive life.

 

Remember the Seven Cs

I didn’t

Cause it

I can’t

Cure it

I can’t

Control it

I can take better

Care of myself

by

Communicating my feelings,

Making healthy

Choices,

and

Celebrating myself.

Remember Alateen

Alateen is a group for teens who are affected by someone else’s alcohol or drug use. It holds meetings, like a club, where young people share tips on how to make their lives easier when a family member drinks too much or uses drugs. The meetings are sponsored by Al-Anon. You can find the location of meetings near you by looking in the phone book under Al-Anon or Alateen, or you can ask your school counselor, a clergy member, your doctor, or another adult you trust to help you find meetings near you. Another way to find out about Alateen is by logging onto their Web site at www.alateen.org

National Association of Children of Alcoholics – USA

 

Related Reading:

Beyond the Influence: Understanding and Defeating Alcoholism
Living Today in Alateen
Everything I Never Wanted to Be: A Memoir of Alcoholism and Addiction, Faith and Family, Hope and Humor
An Elephant In the Living Room The Children's Book