Alcoholics and drug addicts often erroneously believe that their drinking affects no one but themselves. However, those who are parents, especially if their children are still at home, are causing lifelong damage to their children. Children are the most vulnerable members of a family and are deeply affected by a parent’s drinking or drug use.

Children who grow up in a family where one or both parents drink to excess or use drugs will be negatively impacted by the experience. Children require loving, skilled parents who are physically and emotionally present to meet their needs and shape them in a positive way. This is impossible for a parent who is abusing drugs or alcohol to do. In addition to low-self esteem, which his rife among children who believe that their parents “choose to drink/use rather than spend time with [me],” children with addict parents may exhibit these issues:

• Inability to understand what is “normal” or “healthy.”
• Difficulty with physical or emotional intimacy
• Difficulty expressing anger or dealing with expressions of anger in others
• Willingness to accept maltreatment from others
• Merciless self-judgment or self-hatred
• Inability to appropriately trust others
• Difficulty having fun
• Abject fear of abandonment
• People-pleasing, often to their own detriment.

If you are abusing or addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is imperative that you seek treatment right away — not just for yourself, but to prevent a lifetime of heartache and difficulty for your children.