Life experience has taught me that the alcohol dependency of a parent is not something I am ashamed of at the current age of forty one.It is also something I have minimal control over. I can only support that parent to make good decisions. I can encourage that parent to strive for optimal quality of life by making positive choices.
As a child, however, my insight was not mature enough to deal with parental alchohol dependency with these beliefs and coping strategies. As a child, the gradual awareness at age seven that this was a significant part of my life, filled my daily world full of worry, shame and fear. A feeling of accountability remains with me to this day.
Through life experience, I have learned that excess offers of support can have negative consequences for my quality of life and those of my children and husband. However, I refuse to let alcohol dependency of one parent to negatively impact another generation. My long-term coping strategies are to set boundaries on the amount of support I provide to that parent. It is equally important to ensure all my dependents are given due attention for everyone’s’ health and well-being.
In my professional work, I have recently seen HSE guidelines for parents to manage alcohol and children/teenagers. I would like to see readily available resources like coping strategies for children dealing with parental alcohol dependency.