Are you looking for a child of alcoholic support group? Do you need emotional support as a caregiver to an alcoholic parent? Are you a child living with an alcoholic parent? Do you know a child of an alcoholic who can benefit from joining a support group? If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, this article is for you.
Hi. My name is Sean Galla. I am a facilitator of support groups and support forums for men, including alcohol addiction recovery groups and child of alcoholic support groups, with over 10 years of experience. My work involves providing safe spaces for men to talk about men’s issues, including living with an addicted parent. In my line of work, I have seen firsthand how important being part of a support group is, especially for men caring for their alcoholic parents.
A child of alcoholic support group is a fantastic place for anyone to get the support, information, and help to understand addiction and find ways to help their loved one. This article gives you all the information you need about support groups for children of alcoholics.
Table of Contents:
What is a Child of Alcoholic Support Group?
By 2018, there were at least 20.3 million Americans living with substance use disorder (SUD) related to either alcohol use or drug use. According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), taking part in a treatment program helps the addict and the family.
Alcohol addiction is considered to be a family disease because it affects the entire. Family members go out of their way to ensure their loved one gets the help they need to overcome alcohol addiction. This way, the person with an addiction to alcohol gets plenty of support to help them get through the tough times once they decide to go through recovery.
Even though the addict is the one directly affected by the addiction health-wise, they’re not the only ones experiencing hard times and frustrations caused by their addiction. Their family members and loved ones face an uphill battle, too, with the children being the most affected.
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Children of alcoholics experience emotional and psychological trauma from watching their parents hurt themselves through the addiction. Most struggle with these feelings because they do not know where to go for help. Children of alcoholic support groups are forums dedicated to offering support to young and adult children of alcoholic mothers or fathers.
Family members of an alcoholic play an integral role in the addict’s recovery process. For them to offer support to their alcoholic parent, they need to be in good mental shape. Through these support groups, a child of an alcoholic can better understand what is happening to the person they care about and why they require their support as part of the treatment to beat their addiction.
A child of alcoholic support group also helps children understand that they are not to blame for the addiction as most children go through self-blame and confusion when a parent is an addict. By receiving the support, children become better equipped to help their loved ones beat the alcoholic addiction and prevent a relapse.
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Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA)
According to statistics, one in every four children under the age of 18 in America was raised by a parent who is an alcoholic. In some cases, children grow up in dysfunctional homes where both parents are alcoholics. This often leaves a lot of psychological and emotional damage in a child.
If you grew up around a parent with a drinking problem, you probably thought things would change after moving out. However, you probably realized that things did not get better, if anything, they probably got worse. This is the story of hundreds of adult children of alcoholic parents.
When you grow up around an alcoholic parent and family dysfunction, you can develop psychological issues that last a lifetime. As an adult child of an alcoholic, you can develop issues such as emotional struggles or even alcohol addiction and drug abuse. This is due to growing up around alcohol and not knowing any better. Learn more about the effects of alcoholism on children and what happens to children of alcoholic parents.
Here are some of the most common issues you are likely to go through as a child of an alcoholic.
Struggling with Relationships
Children of alcoholics have a hard time when it comes to forming meaningful relationships with other adults. This is caused by several issues that have to do with their need for control.
When people grow up in dysfunctional families where everything is unpredictable, they develop an unexplainable need to feel in control. Children of alcoholics find it hard to be vulnerable and open in relationships because of a lack of trust stemming from the inability to trust their parents.
According to studies, a child who grows up around an alcoholic parent is up to 4 times more likely to develop alcoholism than children who grew up in normal homes. Most children of alcoholics struggle with alcohol use. Research further shows that daughters raised by alcoholics gravitate towards forming relationships with alcoholic men, carrying on the problem to the future generation.
Struggling with their Emotions
Adult children of alcoholics often develop and struggle with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and shame. This is caused mainly by a subconscious belief that they had something to do with the parent’s alcohol use and did something to deserve the neglect they experienced growing up.
This is because most children of alcoholics were neglected by the person who was supposed to protect them and love them unconditionally. The lack of love, attention, and care messes up an adult’s ability to control their emotions, which breeds angry people with the inability to trust.
Codependency in Families
Codependency is highly common in children who grow up around an addict. Codependency occurs when an individual develops unhealthy coping skills as a response to the effects of alcoholism or living with an alcoholic. Common codependency traits include lack of clear boundaries in relationships, caretaking, lack of a coherent identity, difficulty in understanding what normal behavior is, and even denial of the existence of problems.
A codependent child believes that they are caring for their alcoholic parent by helping the addict when they just enable the behavior.
Examples of codependency caretaking include calling in sick on behalf of an alcoholic when they are unable to go to work or helping the alcoholic get into bed after coming home drunk.
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Where to Get Help for Children of Alcoholics
Experts and psychologists recommend therapy and 12-step meetings for children in need of help to cope with the effects of growing up in alcoholic families. Therapy and 12-step programs help adult children of alcoholic parents to come to terms with their trauma and overcome it.
Seeking family therapy helps you understand how your parents’ alcoholism has affected your life and how this experience influences your decisions as an adult. The best therapist is one licensed to offer mental health assistance and has previously worked with adult children of alcoholics and trauma survivors.
Alcoholic anonymous twelve-step programs are mostly free support groups for family members and friends of people with alcoholism. It focuses on helping members complete the 2-step recovery program to address and overcome issues they have experienced growing up around alcoholic parents.
Alcohol anonymous meetings are facilitated by children of alcoholics just like you. In these meetings, you learn practical tips and skills that help you cope better. In these groups, you do not have to feel isolated and embarrassed about being the child of an alcoholic. Al-Anon groups help you let go of that shame.
Good options for 12-step programs include Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA), Alateen, and Al-Anon family groups. You can call their helpline to learn more.
If you are a child of an alcoholic who has developed a substance use disorder and wants to stay sober, you can find the support you need from therapy and by attending Alcoholics Anonymous substance abuse meetings.
Joining a child of alcoholic support group
A Child of alcoholic Support Group is an informal support group created for people struggling with alcohol use disorders (AUD), co-occurring mental health disorders caused by alcohol use, and families of alcoholics.
For male children of alcoholic parents, Men’s Group is an online men’s support group that offers group support, help, and guidance to men interested in becoming better versions of themselves, including men interested in open sharing and overcoming childhood trauma.
It is a supportive network of men ready and willing to help others like them through shared life experiences. The mensgroup.com group session is rich in relevant information to help you lead a better life. It offers one the support and guidance to become a better man and lead a better, more fulfilling life.
As an online support group for men, the group meets virtually over video or chat, making it perfect for busy men who prefer not to attend physical therapy or 12-step program meetings, especially in this coronavirus pandemic era.
Growing up around an alcoholic parent can be difficult for any child. Like any other mental health problem, understanding addiction is a necessary first step in recovery for children of alcoholics and learning how best to support their parents.
This article has all the information you need to understand alcohol addiction and help you get the help you need to be able to give your loved ones the help they need. MensGroup offers a strong social network of friends who will walk with you in your recovery journey open to men who need a support network.
*Sources: 1. Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics 2. The effects of parental alcoholism on child development 3. Adult Children of Alcoholics 4. What Happens to Children of Alcoholic Parents? 5. Children of Alcoholics: The Impacts of Alcoholics on Kids