Welcome!

All my choices have consequesces.

Click on other dates for additional motivational phrases.

NACoA is grateful to Jerry Moe, National Director of Children's Programs at Betty Ford Center, for providing the inspirational phrases for the Motivational Calendar.

Introduction

A letter for you

Are you a kid with a mom or dad that drinks too much? This is a letter that was written by a child of an alcoholic who is grown-up. No two families are exactly alike, but maybe you have some similar feelings.

Addiction: Q&A

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a disease. People who have the disease have lost control over their drinking and are not able to stop without help. They also lose control over how they act when they are drunk.

How does alcoholism start?

Doctors don't know all the reasons why people become alcoholics. Some start out drinking a little bit and end up hooked on alcohol. A person might drink to forget problems or to calm nerves, but then they end up needing alcohol to feel normal. Once a person loses control over drinking, he or she needs help to stop drinking.

If the alcoholic is sick why doesn't he or she just go to the hospital?

At first, the alcoholic is not aware that he or she is ill. Even when the alcoholic becomes aware that something is wrong, he or she may not believe that alcohol is the problem. An alcoholic might keep blaming things on other people, or might blame their job, or the house, or whatever. But, really, it's the alcohol that's the biggest problem.

Is there an "average" alcoholic?

No. There is no such person as the average alcoholic. Alcoholics can be young, old, rich, poor, male, female, and any race or religion.

What is the cure for alcoholism?

There is no cure for alcoholism except stopping the disease process by stopping the drinking. People with alcoholism who have completely stopped drinking are called "recovering alcoholics". Recovering alcoholics can lead healthy, happy, productive lives.

Can family members make an alcoholic stop drinking?

No. It is important to know that an alcoholic needs help to stop drinking, but no one can be forced to accept the help, no matter how hard you try or what you do. It is also important to know that family members by themselves cannot provide the help that an alcoholic needs. An alcoholic needs the help of people trained to treat the disease.

How many children in the United States have at least one alcoholic parent?

About eleven million children in our country are growing up with at least one alcoholic parent. There are probably a few in your class right now. And remember, some adults grew up with alcoholic parents too.

I know I can't make my alcoholic parent stop drinking, so what can I do to make myself feel better?

Talk to someone you trust about the problem. Talk to a teacher, a Scout leader, a coach, a school counselor. Also, there is a group for kids who have alcoholic parents called "Alateen." It has meetings, like a club, and the kids share tips on how to make life easier. You can look for the phone number of Alateen in the phone book or call directory assistance for the number of Alateen. Someone at Al-Anon or the Alcoholics Anonymous answer line can probably tell you how to find the meetings too. Ask at school if there are any Alateen groups or school-sponsored support groups. http://al-anon.alateen.org/for-alateen

Share this resource by clicking on a social icon below

Facts for You

Please don't forget these four facts. They come in handy when you least suspect it.

Alcoholism is a disease. You can't cure it.

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. Complete the worksheet "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 for you. You can get more information by calling 888-425-2666 (888-4AL-ANON), 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., ET, Monday – Friday, or email wso@al-anon.org. You can also visit their website by clicking here.

12 STEPS FOR KIDS

12 STEPS FOR KIDS

Here is a version of the 12 Steps created just for kids! The Twelve Steps have helped many alcoholics find recovery. Because they are simple and very helpful to a lot of people, they are also used by families and friends who attend Al-Anon and Alateen. Jerry Moe & Don Polman provide this kid-friendly version in the book: "Kids' Power: Healing Games for Children of Alcoholics."

ACTIVITIES

Find a variety of brochures and worksheets designed for kids throughout the year. Touching on important topics like Addiction is a Brain Disease or Feelings are OK, these exercises help kids break the silence, learn ways to live healthier, and find comfort that they are not alone.

BROCHURE

WORKSHEET

JANUARY Your job is to be a responsible kid and to have fun. All around the world children like you celebrate the coming of the New Year
FEBRUARY I know I can't make my parent stop drinking or using drugs, so what can I do to make myself feel better? Remember there are lots of kids like you, and you are very special.
MARCH Alcoholism is a disease. The brain is responsible for your thoughts and feelings.
APRIL It feels so bad... but it doesn't have to. What can kids do?
MAY Think prevention and good mental health. Use these activities to help you on the road to good mental health.
JUNE Make the most of your Summer! An important part of being a kid is to have fun. Enjoy these Summer activities.
JULY All feelings are okay. Feelings can be overwhelming, and at time we feel as if we are juggling our emotions.
AUGUST I know I can't make my parent stop drinking or using drugs, but can I solve some of my problems? Problem solving can at times feel like a maze. Take your time and Stop, Think it through, weigh your Outcome options, and Pick your course
SEPTEMBER You can ask for help from safe people. What makes a "Safe Person?"
OCTOBER How do I make myself feel better when I feel bad? Growing up with parents who drink too much can be hard. But there are ways that you can make tough times easier.
NOVEMBER How can I be grateful when I’m worried about my Mom or Dad. What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?
DECEMBER Remember your parent's drinking is not your fault. Having a parent that drinks too much can make the holidays confusing and hard.

More Information

Wallet Card

Cut out this card and keep it in a place where you can get to it easily, like in your bookbag, pencil case, or in with collector cards.

Remember the 7 Cs

Some children with moms and dads that drink too much think that it is their fault. Maybe you are one of those children. Well, it's not your fault and you can't control it. But, there are ways that you can deal with it. One important way is to remember the 7 Cs.

It’s Not Your Fault!

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.
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. Read More »
Two girls look at book written for COAs

Children's Book List

You can search for these books through your local library’s online catalogue. Or you can take this list to the library and ask the librarian for assistance.