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You Don’t Have To Drink To Suffer From Alcoholism – by Rodger Dinwiddie, Executive Director


This is the title of a public service announcement that will be used to bring attention to the celebration of millions of children of alcoholics who will participate in National Children of Alcoholics Week beginning February 14.  Many organizations, schools, community agencies, faith-based communities and individuals all across the country will do whatever possible to bring attention to the issues that families impacted by substance abuse face each day.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) is the sponsoring organization of this important work in our nation. Since 1985 STARS Nashville and Kids on the Block have been committed to delivering important information to the community on the impact of addiction in families. According to information from NACoA:

  •        Children with a biological parent who is alcoholic continue to have an increased risk (2-9 fold) of

developing alcoholism even when they have been adopted. This fact supports the hypothesis that

there is a genetic component in alcoholism.

  • ·        Children of addicted parents are more at risk for alcoholism and other drug abuse than are other children and  Children of addicted parents are the group of children most at risk of becoming alcohol and drug

These are but a few of the important facts that communities across the country need to know about families impacted by addiction. Each week in local schools across the Middle Tennessee area, STARS Staff work with young people helping them understand the effects of living in families concerned about family addiction. In some cases, the family member impacted by substance abuse may not be a parent. It might be a grandparent, a close family member, or even a sibling, who causes disruption and that, contributes to the unhealthiness of the family system. Kids on the Block conduct wonderful presentations on the impact of substance abuse on families and provide younger children the opportunity to ask questions of the puppets bringing about hope and encouragement in what can be a very difficult situation.

One of the adages that STARS has tried to help young people understand about the issue of substance  abuse in their family is that that there are some simple yet extremely profound statements that can really help them navigate the maze of family addiction. Children living in substance abusing families did not cause it, they can’t control it, they can’t cure it, but they can learn to cope in more positive ways. The important work of STARS is to help young people, through small group work and educational presentations, understand these very basic principles and find a safe place to address this very sensitive issue with adults and peers who care.

If you are having problems as a result of living in a fairly impacted by addiction there are wonderful resources all across the country and right here in our backyard. Alateen and Al-Anon are community resources where families can find help. Many adults who have been impacted by substance abuse can also find support and help through Adult Children of Alcoholics. And if alcohol and drug abuse are concerns please contact Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous for help and assistance.

As the saying goes … You Don’t Have To Drink to Suffer From Alcoholism and you also don’t have to suffer alone. Join with many across our nation this next week in celebration that there is hope and recovery for families impacted by addiction. If we can help call STARS at 615-279-0058.