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Telling my kids I'm an alcoholic (recoverying)

Old 10-11-2010, 02:58 PM
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Telling my kids I'm an alcoholic (recoverying)

My daughter is 8 and last weekend I told her I am an acoholic. She asked why I had so many AA books. Now after telling her, I'm afraid I did the wrong thing that maybe she is too young and that maybe if she tells her friends they might treat her poorly or that her friends' parents might treat her differently.

What age is a good age to tell kids? What if they tell their friends and the friends make fun of them (because these kids don't understand)? etc...
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:05 PM
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To me, that seems awfully young. But I don't have kids. Other than my therapist who is equipped to deal with it, I don't feel it's anyone's business, or burden to carry.

I'm sure there will be folks around here with lots more experience than I, I'm just not the type of alcoholic who feels anyone needs to know. It's what I do about it, and how I live my life that matters.
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:06 PM
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That is something outside of your control..other people's reactions. Personally as a parent I would be fine to have my kid over at someone is recovery's house. Most people have some sort of experience with addiction..who doesn't have an uncle, mom, sister, kid, that has been down that road? I think it's better to tell kids the truth than grow up wondering. She asked. You told her, sounds age appropriate to me. DOn't be so hard on yourself, you have given your child quite a gift..a parent in recovery.
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:14 PM
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the truth is freeing to everyone. an 8 year old can understand. you did good in my opinion. stay open and honest with her, we don't give children enough credit. they don't miss much, as they are sober 100%.

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Old 10-11-2010, 06:02 PM
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My daughter, LMC (Little Miss Coyote), is 9 now. I've always been straight up honest with her about her mom's alcoholism as well as my own.

Honesty IS the best policy with kids. They do know plenty. She's known all about alcoholism since she was 5, for sure, and probably before that when the elephant was just sitting there at the dinner table with us.

To my knowledge she's never told anyone, but I'm not ashamed to be in recovery and I know she's not ashamed of me either. I figure if some ignoramus doesn't want their kid to play with her because of me, that's probably a good thing in the big picture of life.

BTW, I don't broadcast it either, but if it came up, I wouldn't flinch.

Here's what she thinks about my recovery:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...idnt-know.html



Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:19 PM
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I have found out it's always best to be honest with our children. They are a lot more perspective and aware of their environment than what we, as parents, have given them credit for. Honesty is how our children learn to trust us. However, we need to consider their age and maturity when we talk to them. As an alcholic you may have insulted or did something else negative with your daughter. She may have thought she had done something to have caused that. I certainly see nothing negative about you opening the door to honest communication between you and your daughter.

I perceive you are still suffering from a lot of guilt. Hopefully as you continue working your recovery program you can overcome this. Remember there are a lot of good people who are recovering alcholics. "Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open. "
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:22 PM
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There is no fooling a child. I was raised in a home of an alcoholic. Maybe, I didn't know the word "Alcohol" I knew something was very wrong. No one ever explained it to me, and, to this day, I think that it was wrong, it took me along time to work through their little secret.

Personally, I think that you have opened the door, and, when she is ready she will ask you questions, and, to me, this is good.

Just my two cents.
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:34 PM
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my children are 9 & 8...trust me...THEY GET IT...and UNDERSTAND IT....

they have been volunteers for Friends of Recovery for about 2 years before it closed...(doing odd jobs, sweeping, raking, doing dishes..etc) they know they are different, and they ask questions...well, I am str8 up to them...IN THEIR LANGUAGE...references to something they understand...I am so honored to have these children of mine...they are my angels....
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:34 PM
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I think you did just fine in telling her RMAC. Maybe the word "alcoholic" might be a little too advanced for an 8 year old?? But probably not because kids today learn words and concepts in elementary school that I did not learn until college! No exaggeration either.

Great share Coyote. I was hoping you would chime in on this one.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:38 PM
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Your kids probably knew before you did.......
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:24 PM
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Thanks everyone for your replies. Really helps!
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:37 PM
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RMAC - the great thing is your daughter is getting to live with a recovered alcoholic. Didn't happen for me till I was 15, but wow what a change in my Dad. He really blossomed into this deep, warm, available human being once he got out of the bottle. He made his amends to all of us kids - in words and in deeds, and most importantly by staying sober and by embracing recovery. Oh and trust me, I would have been thrilled at 8 yrs old if someone had just told me the truthabout the huge problem in our family: alcoholism. And then if they added "It's not your fault," that would have really been life-changing for the better!
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:07 PM
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There are so many good comments here already. RMAC, great job opening the door to honest communication with your DD. IMO, if she's old enough to ask about the AA books, she's old enough for an honest discussion on the topic, at a level she'll understand.

Coyote, thanks for sharing LMC's thoughts. Wow, did that make me cry. Kids take in so much more than we adults give them credit for. They are amazing, aren't they?

I've pretty much kept it to telling DS, who is 5, that his daddy has an illness called alcoholism. I have and am struggling with deciding whether to explain more or not. Not yet, I think, but like LMC, I think he has a pretty good idea of what it means, just not the technical jargon.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by theuncertainty View Post
There are so many good comments here already. RMAC, great job opening the door to honest communication with your DD. IMO, if she's old enough to ask about the AA books, she's old enough for an honest discussion on the topic, at a level she'll understand.

Coyote, thanks for sharing LMC's thoughts. Wow, did that make me cry. Kids take in so much more than we adults give them credit for. They are amazing, aren't they?

I've pretty much kept it to telling DS, who is 5, that his daddy has an illness called alcoholism. I have and am struggling with deciding whether to explain more or not. Not yet, I think, but like LMC, I think he has a pretty good idea of what it means, just not the technical jargon.

Makes me well up every time I read it, I was clueless. I've got that note hanging next to my monitor.

Thanks and God bless us all,
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Old 10-15-2010, 04:43 AM
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I agree with others: you did the right thing. My kids are 7 and 12 yo and they know about alcoholims. I told them when RAH was in hospital with liver cirrhosis few months ago, and I believe that was the best thing I did for them. As an ACOA who never got her reality validated I know how important this is.
I believe educating your kids about alcoholims (in a age appropriate way) is the greatest thing you can do for them, as by having that kind of knowledge in future life, I believe they're more protected from becoming A's themselves.
Last night my 12 yo D asked me why does daddy goes to meetings all the time. So I explained it to her, that it is important for him to be constantly reminded of the danger of active alcoholism, and to meet with people who share his struggles, as alcoholism is adiction, same as drug adiction, and it is really hard for an adict to stay off the drug, as his mind and body craves it. And that doing the meetings is the best known thing to prevent him from drinking again. So daddy is doing it because he is trying the best he can. She said: wow, I dind't know that, but it makes so much sense.

I agree with people when they say alcoholism is a family disease, so I do believe it is important that the whole family is aware and involved in recovery, as they all can only benefit from it.
Aslo, it is possible that some kids can make fun of her, if she told them, but you'll be there to talk things through with her and teach her to know better. You are who you are, you did things you did, and your kids would learn about it sooner or later one way or the other. I think it is great you were honest with her, it was very respectful thing to do, and I'm sure she'll appreciate it more and more in the years to come.
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:08 AM
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Parents sitting in the kitchen, one says; "I found a condom on the balcony" The kid hears and asks, "what's a balcony?".
Just a stupid little joke there to show that kids know about things that we don't expect. I have always been of the opinion that, when they ask about something, it is a loaded question. They have been thinking about it and can't figure it out. It is bothering them. They deserve an answer. Kids are soooo much smarter than us. No stupid secrets unless they are "trained to". If you ask a child, "do you want to go to granny"s" They have no qualms about just saying "no". None of the adult hangups of "should I?" etc.
She had seen the books, probably went as far as she could with her little 8 yr old head and then asked. Simple, you answered. I wouldn't unload on a child too much though. We as children were too privy to our financial situation and this was very worrying, and of course we could do nothing about it. She is now going to relax about these strange books.
As for other kids, if she does say it at school or whatever, she is entitled to. They can have an 8yr olds conference! They may make more sense than we do!
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