In honor of Children of Alcoholics Week (COA) this February 12-18, across the globe, organizations are hosting events to raise awareness of children affected by their parent’s alcoholism or other addictions.
The campaign, observed each year during the week in which Valentine’s Day falls, is led by The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA).
The repercussions run deep for the approximately 27.8 million children across the United States affected or exposed to a family alcohol problem:
“Children of substance abusers are more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders and to attempt suicide. They are also more likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system, and have social, educational and other problems. These children are also at risk for substance abuse and addiction themselves at earlier stages in their lives,” said R. Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the White House Drug Policy Office, in a COA video.
An anonymous testimonial provided by the Narconon Riverbend, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center in Louisiana that helps children of alcoholic parents recover from the addictive patterns they learned growing up “under the influence,” briefly describes the pain and isolation experienced by children of alcoholic parents:
“I realized my parents were different when I was 4 years old because every time I saw a glass bottle in their hands, they acted different, becoming mean and more disconnected towards me. I would often get yelled at and even pushed around by my father. When I got scared at night, they would lock me in my room so they wouldn’t have to bother with me,” stated “C.N.”
Visit the COA website for tools and resources to help children of alcoholics recover and to find a COA event near you.