The legacy of growing up in an alcoholic home inspired me to write my story, Supreme Sacrifice, to be a cheerleader for others who have walked a similar path, to not be doomed by their past. Instead it’s how you bounce back from your lowest point that makes you who you are and how suffering can lead to positive change.
Dr. Tian Dayton, PhD paints a picture: “Picture the child in the alcoholic home…the parent is big…the one who holds the key to the house, the car, the refrigerator, bank account…has the authority…yelling at a child, telling him/her that (s)he is the problem, that if (s)he would only change, everything would be better, the child tends to believe him…When the parent is the one causing the stress, it’s a double whammy for the child. Not only is the child scared and hurt, but the person they would normally go to for comfort and solace is the one who is scaring and hurting them. They are disempowered by the very nature of their youth and dependency.”
Having been on the receiving end of drinking behaviors as a child of an alcoholic, the first time I heard the term, SecondHand Drinking SHD, it stopped me in my tracks. It spoke volumes about the emotional, physical and even spiritual impacts and consequences I experienced growing up. Unfortunately, families of alcoholics desperately try to cope with alcoholic abuse, but continue to circumvent healing by pretending, not facing the truth, because there is shame. It hurts to admit a family addiction problem. We are not only dominated by the presence of alcohol, but also with the denial of alcoholism. Denial only helps to delay healing from this disease, and it is truly a disease and can be cured.
SecondHand Drinking is a term coined by Lisa Frederiksen, author, speaker, and consultant. Ms. Frederiksen states, “SecondHand Drinking is real and preventable. Preventable is not about outlawing drinking. It’s about people staying within low risk drinking limits because it hurts and changes lives.” She reveals the impacts of those of us wo have lived with a parent or family member and been on the receiving end of those drinking behaviors. More details on this subject can be found on Ms Frederiksen’s #BreakingTheCycles.com.
From Psychology Today:
- 45% of U.S. population have been exposed to familial alcoholism
- 27m of them are children
- 1 in 4 children has a parent who is an alcoholic
- These children are more @ risk for alcoholism & other drug abuse than are children of non-alcoholics
- These children are more @ risk of marrying an alcoholic
- An alcoholic family is one of chaos, inconsistency, unclear roles, arguments, violence & illogical thinking
- Children in alcoholic families suffer trauma as acute as soldiers in combat; they carry trauma like an albatross throughout their lives
From Parker& Rebhun, 1995;Pernanen,1991:
- 90-95% of all cases coming before judges (civil, criminal, family) involve alcohol
- alcohol is part cause in much juvenile delinquency, illegitimate pregnancy, truancy and fights
- 73% of felonies are alcohol-related
- 67% of child-beating cases
- 41% of forcible rape cases
- 80% of wife battering
- 72% of stabbings
- 83% of homicides (either the attacker or the victim or both)
- 90% of incest may be alcohol-related
- 30-80% of suicides are alcohol-related
- 60% of mental cruelty divorce cases
As noted from the staggering data listed above, it’s easy to understand how the devastating effects suffered by children of alcoholics under the influence of a parent’s alcoholism all begins. Is any other explanation required to understand why and how SHD can forever alter people’s lives?