Last week was National Children of Alcoholics Week.
According to a parliamentary group there are 2.5 million children of alcoholics living in the UK and one in five children under eighteen are exposed to a family alcohol problem.
The National Association for the Children of Alcoholics (NACA) have a helpline which received 32,000 phone calls and e-mails last year, some from children as young as five.
One of the services they provide is reading bedtime stories for kids whose parents are too drunk to do it themselves. Some children call so regularly that the staff keep their favourite books by the phone.
To read more click here for a harrowing article sent to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Catherine. Thank you Catherine!
It's really easy to read articles like this one and to think that's not me. I never neglected my children. But I know that, even though I always read bedtime stories to my kids, there were many ways in which my drinking affected them and that, had I not quit, it would only have got worse.
What about all those times when you skipped a few pages so that you could get to 'me time'? All those little signals that let your kids know that you are not really enjoying this. You'd really rather be somewhere else.
I was constantly engineering family and social events in a way which would separate the kids from the adults, thinking that everyone would have more 'fun' that way.
Even when I was with my children, my head was often elsewhere.
Here's a post I wrote six months after I quit drinking about how quitting booze changed the sort of parent I am. Click here.
The ramifications of being a boozy parent are deep and long reaching. In 1983 Dr Janet Woititz published a bestseller titled Adult Children of Alcoholics in which she outlined thirteen characteristics that these children tend to share.
These include: fear of losing control, fear of emotions and feelings, conflict avoidance, harsh self-criticism and low self-esteem and difficulties with intimacy.
It's no wonder that the children of alcoholics are four times more likely than average to become addicts (and five times more likely to develop an eating disorder) themselves.
So quitting booze isn't just the best thing you could do for yourself, it's the best thing you could do for your kids too....
By the way, if you live near Birmingham and would like to meet up with some other fabulous sober people then lovely reader Tori has set up Club Sober.
The first meeting is on Thursday March 2nd at 6.30pm and is free (all funded by Tori).
To find out more, and to connect with Tori, go to her blog by clicking here. And please let me know how it goes so that I can post an update on my blog.
Love SM x