Parents Drinking and Taking Drugs

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Parents Drinking and Taking Drugs

Dear GZ Advisor,

I am worried about my parents - I think they drink to much and I also think they might be taking drugs.  What should I do?

Signed, Sarah

Dear Sarah,

One out of four kids has a parent who drinks too much or uses drugs. That's a lot of kids. Maybe you or a friend of yours is one of those kids. It's confusing to hate the drinking or the drug use and still really love the parent who is doing it. Lots of people (even very cool together people) have times when they feel two very different feelings at the same time. It's normal. Perfectly normal. It's also normal to feel like YOU have to make your parents stop OR to feel like YOU are the reason that they're drinking or taking drugs in the first place.

But, that's a lie. A BIG FAT LIE!!!!

You have no control over your parent's drinking or drug use. You didn't make the problem start, AND you can't make it stop. What your parents do is not your responsibility or your fault.

As weird as this may sound, one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is to remember to have fun. Sometimes kids with parents who drink too much or do drugs worry SO much that they forget how to just be a kid. Try to find something you really enjoy doing and get involved with a group doing it.

Meanwhile, some important things to remember...

DON'T ride in a car when the driver has been drinking or using drugs if you can avoid it. It is not safe. Think of ways to avoid this. Ask an adult you trust to help protect you from having to ride with someone who has been drinking or using drugs. If you have not choice, try to sit in the back, in the middle, wearing your seat belt.

If your parent is an alcoholic or drug abuser it doesn't mean that you will be. Most children of alcoholics or drug abusers don't become alcoholics or drug abusers themselves. While alcoholism and drug addiction tend to run in families, you can't get this illness if you don't drink alcohol or use drugs.

Any kid, 11-years-old or older can contact a local Alateen where there are others who WILL understand them and help them to cope with parents who drink too much or do drugs.  YOu can also check out this website for help - http://www.addiction-treatment.com

What adult DO you trust? A favorite aunt or uncle? Your grandparents? A minister or school counselor? Talking to them might really help you to feel less crazy and overwhelmed. AND it is NOT disloyal to get help for yourself!

REMEMBER...
YOU didn't cause it. YOU can't cure it. YOU can't control it. YOU can take care of yourself by talking about how you feel. And you need to celebrate your OWN life by making healthy choices for YOU.

GZ Advisor