DRINKING LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY.

DRINKING LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY. Reading Time Approx: 7 minutes

COA (Child of an Alcoholic) Week is a campaign to raise awareness of children affected by parental alcohol problems

“Imagine coming home from school and dreading what you might find. Imagine having no friends because you’re too embarrassed to bring them home in case Mum or Dad are drunk, or worse. Imagine living in a home full of fear and having no one to turn to because everyone denies there’s a problem.”

COA Week is celebrated internationally each year during the week in which Valentine’s Day falls.

That’s THIS week…

To do our bit to raise awareness of COA Week, I’m humbled to bring you Alys’s story.

No more introduction needed.

Read and reflect.

D.

*****

(First published during Alcohol Awareness Week, November 2017).

With my first blog post ever (scary) falling on Alcohol Awareness Week, I thought it would be fitting to discuss just that.

Alcohol.

This is something that has affected myself and my family for a number of years and is something I hold very close to my heart. Alcohol was the elephant in the room from a very young age. And when I say elephant, I actually really mean a massive, scary, aggressive tiger that roared on a daily basis.

My mum is an alcoholic; or was? Which ever is politically correct. She had an addiction for a long period of time (on and off). It consumed her and it sure as hell tore our family apart.

Alcoholism is dark and dangerous and grips the lives of so many people without even realising because it’s so easy to cover up. You don’t have to arrange to meet a drug dealer; you don’t have to have loads of money; you don’t have to have an explanation as to why you’re having a bottle of wine this evening; it’s just normalised and even encouraged in our generation.

In fact nearly £10,000 has been spent promoting alcohol in the UK alone just whilst you’ve been reading this!

My Story. By Alys.

I remember the day I found out my mum was drinking again like it was yesterday. My younger brother had just been born and my mum told me that she was recommend by nurses to drink red wine to help with her breast feeding. My heart sank. At just 9 years old I vividly remembered what it was like years before when my mum battled her drink problem for the first time. From that point the deterioration began; a couple of drinks on the weekend turned into a few in the week, which turned to a couple a night and before you know it its escalated once again to a couple of bottles a day and maybe even 3 or 4 on the bad days.

The impact of having an alcoholic mother, an absent father and an abusive stepfather all began to take its toll on me and I turned to self harm as my coping mechanism.

Until I was about 14 I had no voice. I coped with my mum’s drinking quietly, hoping that it would eventually stop, but it only grew worse and I started to ‘rebel’ for the want of a better word. I lied constantly about where I was going, who I was with, what I was doing and all because I lived under a roof where I wasn’t allowed freedom to do anything.

Arguments with my mum were daily, even a few physical fights – and it would always boil back down to her drinking.

Why wouldn’t she stop when her own child is begging her?

My behaviour at school was disruptive and I probably wasn’t doing as well as I could have. Then, in an argument with my mum one day, she told me to ”get out” of the house. So I did. And that was the first time I left home. About six weeks before I was 16.

I completed my GCSEs whilst living with my friend, having no financial support from my mum or dad during this time. I screamed from the rooftop that my mum was an alcoholic and I did anything to try and make her stop. I was referred to a youth worker, who will always mean an awful lot to me. My Youth Worker most definitely saved my life; he gave me strength in the times when I felt I had nothing to give anymore and he tried relentlessly in supporting me to re-build a relationship with my mum, but unfortunately, at that time in both our lives, she just wasn’t ready.

Fast forward a year or so of house-hopping, seeing my mum occasionally, arguing a lot more and then eventually moving home, I moved with my mum and brother to Leeds for a ”fresh start” whilst my older sister would go to University. I made it very clear to my mum that I would only move with her on the condition that she would promise to quit the drinking and get help. She said she would and off we went.

Sadly the drinking grew worse and worse.

Our arguments were daily screaming matches and the same hurtful words would be thrown at each other every single day. I ended up breaking down and telling my new college everything (something which I wished to leave behind) and the authorities began get involved. I left the college as I just couldn’t cope with the stresses of everything and within 3 weeks I had left home for the third time. I moved back to Shropshire by myself with about £300 to my name. It probably wasn’t my wisest move, but I managed to make it work out.

After I moved back to Shropshire my mum had no choice to get sober.

By that time she had lost me, my sister was at university and my mum’s family were stepping in with interventions for her and my brother.

Although it took time, patience and forgiveness, I can proudly say that my mum is today nearing 2 year’s living sober.

Unfortunately I know this isn’t how everyones story ends.

You are probably wondering why I’ve written this post and why I’ve exposed a lot of sensitive information about my life?

The truth is I am no longer embarrassed about my sufferings or my family’s suffering. You never know what is going on behind closed doors and more than anything I just simply wish to raise awareness. I want to help people who may be suffering similar things, and however cringe-like it might sound, I want to encourage others to realise that they are not alone.

Some crazy statistics about alcohol:

100 children per DAY are being left homeless due to their parents misuse of alcohol and or drugs.
In the UK, in 2015 there were 8758 alcohol related deaths (the mortality rates are highest among people aged 55-64).
In England alone, there are an estimated 595,131 dependent drinkers of that amount only around 20% are receiving treatment.
Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill health and disability among 15-49 year olds.
Around 61% of people seeking treatment for alcohol completed it successfully.
In 2015, 196,00 prescriptions for drugs to treat alcohol misuse were prescribed, costing nearly 4 million. This is double the number in 2005.
If you’ve made it this far, I want to thank you for reading.

Thank you for reading.

Alys x

*****

If any of the above strikes a chord with you, head on over to NACOA to find out what they are doing to help.

COA Week is a campaign to raise awareness of children affected by parental alcohol problems.

Imagine coming home from school and dreading what you might find. Imagine having no friends because you’re too embarrassed to bring them home in case Mum or Dad are drunk, or worse. Imagine living in a home full of fear and having no one to turn to because everyone denies there’s a problem.

COA Week is celebrated internationally each year during the week in which Valentine’s Day falls.

Follow: