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Helping children of a recovering alcoholic

Old 10-31-2007, 10:26 AM
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TKL
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Helping children of a recovering alcoholic

This is my first time posting...I'm here because I am looking for some help and advice. I never thought I would be looking on a website for help about alcoholism again - I left my alcoholic husband (now ex) 4 years ago. After years of living with an alcoholic with 2 young children I finally decided to get out. It was the last push that he needed and he thnakfully went into rehab - he has been dry ever since.

My children now live in a happy 'normal' home with me and my partner and are now aged 10 and 7. I don't (or at least didn't) view them as "children of an alcoholic". From my point of view I had got them out of a destructive (but not violent) environment and their dad was dry. They see and stay with him every Thursday overnight and every other weekend.

The problem is that although he is not drinking, he is still very clearly not functioning. He has passed his addiction on to the computer, playing online games until the early hours of the morning. When he has the children to stay he does absolutely nothing with them - he often stays in bed until midday and the children pretty much have to fend for themsleves. They just watch TV and play computer games and wait until he makes a microwave meal...

My youngest child is now having serious problems at school - she has had to repeat a school year (veryunusual in the school system where we live) and she is even bottom of that class. I have just had a full educational diagnostic report done on her and the specialist described her as extremely anxious, angry and confused, yet perfectly intelligent - she should be doing well but she is not. The counsellor puts her academic problems down to the fact that she has been completely 'closed' to learning for the past 3 -4 years. She said that my daughter told her openly about life with her dad and is clearly very distressed about the situation. She knows the way he behaves is not 'normal' but does not understand why and feels that no-one else seems to see it.

I have rambled on enough. My question is - does anyone have any experience in helping young children of recovering alcoholics who still do not function properly? Should my little girl have therapy? How can I help her? I know that if I speak with their father directly I will just make matters worse. Catch 22......
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:30 AM
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Sounds like your kids could benefit from some individual therapy. Divorce plays havoc with them even if there isn't an ism involved.

You might also want to rethink the visitation arrangements since it is doing them harm.
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:37 AM
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My husband and I separated over 2 years ago. My children are now 15 and almost 11. They both see a counselor at least twice a month, more if needed. It pains me that I didn't get out of that unhealthy situation sooner and they have been hurt because of it. Therapy is helping, but the biggest thing I think that helps them is the changes in me.

My advice would be to shop around until you find someone who not only treats children, but understands addiction and codependence. Also, it is very important to have an open line of communication with both your daughter and the therapist. And listen to what they say. A lot of times, I don't like hearing the things the counselor says to me regarding my children and my behavior. I'm still learning, too.

Good luck to you. You sound like a wonderful, caring mom who only wants the best for her kids. Welcome to SR.

L
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:51 AM
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Welcome....I am just leaving my AH, so no words of wisdom yet, but a big hearty welcome!
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:52 AM
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Al-Anon has programs for teens and kids that do wonders. And they are free. Call your local al-anon office and ask about al-ateen and ala-tot.

Mike
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Old 10-31-2007, 11:27 AM
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I would also make the suggestion for professional counseling. Divorce even under the most amicable situations will effect the kids in ways that might not become apparent right away. Both my children benefited from counseling and there wasn't even an addiction or non-functioning adult in the mix at the time. Shop around for a counselor that seems like a good fit. Maybe a professional can help with decisions you are trying to make regarding visitation as well.
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Old 10-31-2007, 03:21 PM
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Just spend time with them, For the most part i just listen to them.
Listen to them...hear what they are saying and not have a pre-conclusions.
wait until they finish talking. don't intrupt them while they are
expressing themselves. In other words don't fix them.
Just love them.

Pretty much how people treated me in recovery and passing on living
tools the I've learned in recovery.

A lot of encouraging them. Whatever they want out of life is okay.
Their dreams shouldn't be for them to make me or thier parents feel okay
or live that way of what i think is right for them.

Allowing them to feel what they feel.
Bascailly respecting them as human beings.
Ask them to do things...don't tell them.

don't label them

Sometimes i had to remind myself, I sicker than they are.
Becuase they are relative young and havn't gone through
it as long as i have. In some situations i learn from them.

Yes, i know I'm the adult..I guess that's what makes me
an adult, knowing that i can learn some everyone.
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Old 10-31-2007, 04:16 PM
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Alateen. That's the way to help. Look them up in the yellow pages. If you cant find them, call AA. They will have all the numbers and help you find Alateen.
Also, get yourself into Alanon. It's free help.
Counseling also helps. So, take that step and do what you need to do to get order back into your lives.
Take care and keep coming back.
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:26 PM
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well for kids, they should go to alateen. with that group they learn what is going on and they understand it better. Just get help for your kids.
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