Bill White shared an important post this week that I imagine will evoke a variety of reactions.
Stigma reduction efforts have sought to challenge assumptions that people with addiction are neglectful or abusive parents. Those assumptions are wrong and should be challenged.
It’s also true that addiction does inflict harms on the families of people with addiction. Bill’s guest blogger (Dr. Tim Cermak, from the National Association for Children of Alcoholics) reflects on being the child of a parent with addiction and the mark it left.
The first 13 years of my life were marred by living with an alcoholic father, even without overt abuse or neglect. The arguments, disappointments and random disruptions of family life created enough tension to leave me with character traits and expectations that took years to untangle and drop away.
Dr. Cermak describes the support and psychological/emotional/social safety he found outside of the house and imagines sheltering in place.
All these resources have been stripped from the 11 million children of alcoholics under 18 years old isolated today in the time bomb of their home. No meeting with friends. No school. No acceptance by teachers or coaches. No activities outside the hot box where they live.
The post is good food for thought and well worth the few minutes it will take to read.
UPDATE: This post initially attributed the childhood story to Bill rather than Dr. Cermak.