Scientists have known for years that having a parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is a factor that makes children more at-risk for becoming addicted themselves. According to the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, children of alcoholics are a whopping 50- to 60-percent more likely to abuse alcohol. Additionally, children of an addicted parent who abuse drugs are 45- to 79-percent more likely to follow in their parent’s footsteps.
Addiction in the childhood home is a huge risk factor in the likelihood that the adult children coming out of the home will have dependency issues. If this describes you, find encouragement in the fact that you’re not alone. Statistics offered up by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics state that approximately 28 million Americans are currently the children of alcoholics, with 11 million of those under the age of 18. While these facts sound dismal, they may actually be a source of encouragement to you if, up to this point, you thought you were in the minority.
Impact of an Addicted Parent
Those coming out of a home that was marked by addiction know all about the elephant in the living room; the elephant is the addiction. Everyone sees it and knows it’s there, but nobody is to speak of it. Ever. If you came from a home that had its own resident elephant, you know all about acting as if. All through elementary school you acted as if your mom or dad never came on the field trips because they had to work. In high school, you acted as if you couldn’t make it to basketball practice because you had too many other things going on. Even in college — you acted as if no one came to your graduation because your addicted parents were out of the country. Your life up to this point has revolved around making the truth into a pretty lie. No one could know. What would people think?
The Herculean Effort Behind Hiding the Truth
It takes a lot of energy to constantly camouflage something as large as an elephant. You may not have realized, until you began recovery, just how large a portion of your entire life was spent covering up other people’s addictions. The good news is that now you can let go of your mission. Your job now is to be honest with yourself, with your counselors and therapists, with your friends and family, and most of all — with that exhausting elephant.
If you’ve spent a lifetime as the child of an addicted parent or parents, your moment to shine has finally come. Take the quiz today to begin your road to freedom. A serene and peaceful location, highly trained and caring staff, and a variety of healing therapies await you on your journey. Your childhood may not have been all you wanted it to be, but that doesn’t mean the rest of your life can’t be spectacular.
- Alcohol and Other Drugs: the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: retrieved from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/AA76/AA76.htm on May 20, 2015.
- Children of Addicted Parents: Important Facts: National Association for Children of Alcoholics; retrieved from http://www.nacoa.net/pdfs/addicted.pdf on May 20, 2015.