Campaign to help children of alcoholics
There are always people ready to protect children from unsuitable adults; from paedophiles, child abuctors and the like. Yet, when it comes to parents who drink to excess there is no one to protect the offspring.
New research shows that Scotland’s love affair with drink has trickled down the generations – to devastating effect. Grandad used to take a bucket. Dad always had a skinful on a Friday night. Now it is the turn of the next generation.
The charity Children 1st has revealed that one in ten Scottish children is being adversely affected by their parents’ drinking. That makes a staggering 93,000 kids.
Parents sit at home, swilling wine out of glasses the size of buckets. They slur their words, they have accidents, they swear, they are irresponsible. Occasionally, they are violent.
Children 1st’s summer campaign: Wish I Wasn’t Here aims to highlight the impact of alcohol-fuelled violence on kids. It features dramatic postcards from children whose holiday memories are fraught.
Children of alcoholics suffer a great deal of hidden harm, such as poverty, ill health, neglect, abuse of various kinds. Newborn babies come into the world with booze coursing through their veins, playing havoc with their tiny bodies.
My mother, who I wrote about in my book Mother’s Ruin, was a briliant, compassionate doctor who fell under alcohol’s powerful spell. Whenever she emerged from our posh Edinburgh house, her bag bulging with empties, our neighbours would look away in disgust, as they did when she returned with something respectable like a can of soup – on top of six rattling bottles of vodka.
I turned into a child detective, adept at pouring half the contents down the sink, replenishing the bottle with water, praying she wouldn’t notice.
There were bottles everywhere in our house: in the wardrobes, inside boots and shoes, in the cistern. We children never dared ask friends round. She was far too unpredictable. Would she suddenly appear without clothes on? Would she fall? Once she fell downstairs and was blocking the front door when we arrived home from school. We thought she was dead, but she was just drunk.
We lived like that for years.
So many of us know exactly when children are suffering in this way yet choose to turn a blind eye to what is going on, ensuring that thousands of children miss out on their childhoods.
Life with an alcoholic parent is a nightmare from which many don’t recover.
That’s why we should all support Children 1st’s Wish I Wasn’t Here campaign.