𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐀𝐥𝐜𝐨𝐡𝐨𝐥 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐥𝐞 𝐦𝐲 𝐄𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧.
It’s both a memory that I hold dear and one that I’d love to erase at the same time.
And this is not about some whiny kid not getting her candy. This is a personal story about the generational impact of alcohol on families. What I wished I had known.
What I know to be true is that the negative ramifications from nights of partying parents are far-reaching & can rob children of more than just their holiday traditions.
And this is a bold statement that over time, a household that over-drinks can disrupt/distort the very foundation upon which children are meant to Thrive: impacting their safety, security, presence, affection, reassurance and consistency. And it happens more than we realize.
By all accounts, most parents I know are hardworking people, provide for their families and put food on the table. So for the parent that feels they “deserve” the drink for all of their efforts, I totally get it; but this drink ticket is often disguised as a way to check out, de-stress & quiet the noise — and since you can’t selectively numb — this thing you think is the answer also buys a one-way trip to being emotionally unavailable, low energy and eventually (and mostly subconsciously) absent &/or addicted.
And you never meant for ANY of this to happen! Marketing is tricky — alcohol claims to be fun & sexy … and yet a night of over drinking is so freaking predictable with many nights ending up stressy & messy.
Marketing never shares “the rest of the story”.
Today I share my own perspectives, being both the child of drinking parents and also the parent of a son that watched his mother drink.
For the latter is why I write this message.
Children are smart (& intuitive) and they remember EVERYTHING #nopressure #sorrynotsorry
Humbly I say, parenting is not for the faint of heart and neither is learning the truth about alcohol and it’s rippling family effects.
So you’d think that after raising some pre-teen hell with my Mum that Easter morning, swearing that “I’d never do this to my kids!” that I would ever pick up a drink?! Not true! My drinking ‘innocently’ escalated over the years from once in a while, to happy hours, to drinking at home on a regular basis.
I can’t tell you when or how it happened.
I just know that No-One intends for any of this to happen!
Truthfully, and this is the case for SO many parents I know: I didn’t know that over-consumption of alcohol would be a root cause of dysfunction in my home and the homes of many people I love so dearly.
𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐞’𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐤𝐢𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐤:
•Kids pick up small clues & indicators in their environment when a parent drinks that causes them to formulate coping and protective mechanisms.
•They learn to be on the defense.
•They’ll make excuses for you & put more responsibility on themselves.
•Their focus is on surviving (leaving little room for thriving).
•These children are never 100% certain of what to expect so they unconsciously learn, early-on, survival behaviors like people pleasing and walking on eggshells so as not to rock the parent’s boat.
•Kids from drinking households grow up too fast.
•They are over-achievers & can burn out (escalates into adulthood)
•Kids from drinking households have a REAL fear of their parent or guardian dying (they can feel that you’re irresponsible with your choices and that’s scary to them)
•As a result, Kids from drinking households over-function in their future relationships and struggle with self-worth and self-esteem…often just like their parents.
…and the cycle continues
This has been both my experience and my heart-felt message that things can be SO different.
𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞: 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐊𝐢𝐝𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐝𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐧 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐲 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭.
•Their forced independence can serve them & they learn well by contrast.
•They are resilient (kids are amazing and pretty resilient anyways).
•They develop a beautiful capacity for compassion (afterall, they’re well-versed in giving compassion to the drinking parent)
•They want NOTHING MORE than their parent to love themselves as much as they love them)
•They are so freaking smart!
•And they are very forgiving to a parent who is clear and honest with them.
•They won’t let you forget Family traditions
•IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! But it is your responsibility
𝗣𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆, 𝗜’𝘃𝗲 𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘄 𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝘆 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗺𝘆 𝘀𝗼𝗻.
Kids from households that over-drink scratch their head & wonder, “who the heck is in control here?”
And here’s why my childhood Easter morning memory still holds dear to me —
THE MOST important thing I’ve learned about alcohol and people with alcohol-use-disorder is that “𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻” 𝗶𝘀 𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗕𝗥𝗢𝗞𝗘𝗡.
We may have broken promises and come from “broken homes” but the amazing people that make up these homes —the parents that drink— are human, they love their family & they are NOT broken.
Alcohol is addictive to humans period. And it wasn’t until I began to dive into the reasons why I drank and the beliefs that I had about alcohol that I was able to unravel the truth.
It takes more than it gives.
I loved something that never loved me back (wine).
It’s possible to cut back and even completely change your desire. There’s no room for judgement here; ONLY curiosity! It’s worth it to explore and experiment life without drinking.
𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮’𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐜𝐨𝐡𝐨𝐥 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮, 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐞 𝐚 𝐏𝐌 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐈’𝐥𝐥 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐭 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐩 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦 𝐨𝐫 𝟏:𝟏 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐬
𝐘𝐨𝐮’𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡 𝐢𝐭! 𝐈 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮! Shelley xoxo