Parents often wonder how they can tell their children they have an addiction. Truth is, the children probably already know.
When is drinking an addiction?
Imagine this scenario: A single mom arrives home from a 12-hour shift at work after picking up her two children at school. She empties lunch bags, cooks dinner, helps with homework, supervises showers, reads to the kids before bed, tucks them in, closes their door and then she lets out a sigh.
It’s not so much a sigh of relief as a sigh of being exhausted and knowing that she still has chores to do before she can even sit down for the first time that day. She goes downstairs, cleans up the dishes from dinner, makes lunches for the next day, signs permission forms and finally, she is done. She can now relax. She can sit down. Why not have a glass of wine? Wine helps her to calm down and helps her unwind from her day.
There is nothing wrong with having a glass of wine or two when you’ve had a rough day, when you’re having a dinner party, or when you just want to relax. A problem arises when you find yourself thinking about this glass or two or three while you’re at work during the day. So you figure what’s the harm in having a glass while I’m out for lunch at work? Then you come home and instead of a glass or two, you find yourself drinking a whole bottle or two, or more.
When your drinking starts becoming a part of your thought process, a part of your day that you really look forward to, a part of your day that has now turned into a hangover the next day, you may have a problem. If your drinking becomes so intrusive and overpowering in terms of your behaviour, you may have a problem.
If you begin to not be able to function without alcohol in your system, you find yourself waking up and having a drink, or you find that your children no longer have friends over because they are embarrassed of your behaviour, you may have a problem.
Be honest with your kids
Honesty is the best policy and this is true in all areas of life. If you feel you have a problem or you are losing control in terms of your drinking, be honest with yourself and your kids. Of course you will need to discuss this problem in an age-appropriate manner with your children, but they do deserve to know and they need to hear it from you.
You’ll be on the path towards regaining your own self-respect and you’ll regain the respect of your children by committing to take the next step and get help for your addiction. They’ll be proud of you, you’ll be teaching them valuable life lessons, and you’ll set your family back on the path to wellness.