Thursday, February 17, 2011
Alcohol kills more than AIDS, TB or Violence
"Approximately 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol related causes, the WHO said in its 'Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health.'"
Numbers like this, combined with my personal history, are why I talk to my kids about alcohol. I haven't shared a lot of details yet, but just some basics about why I go to meetings, and why it's important to wait until you are 21 to try it. My parents are awesome, and I adore them, but they never talked to me about alcohol. The first time I got caught drinking in my teens, my father said to me that he had always worried about my brother, but never thought to worry about me. (Since it was the men in his family that all had drinking problems, his father & uncles included.) But that was literally all he said. He's a recovering alcoholic, but didn't talk to me about it. I don't judge him or my mom for it; they were raised very differently, and just didn't talk about certain things. It is what it is. But I also don't want to leave my kids in the dark about why it's important to stay away from alcohol in their youth, and to be smart about it when they are adults. I pray that none of my kids will have the disease that I have. But I'm well aware that statistically there is a good chance that one of them will struggle. And there are other statistics that say that E will struggle with it, being a person with ADHD. I can't control what my kids choose to do, but I will do everything I can to educate them ahead of time, and try my best to guide them now while I can.
I can honestly say that I have never had a hard time talking to my kids about tough subjects. I'm not a nervous person by nature, so it's a God-thing for sure, and not anything I've worked at. I hear people say how nervous they were to discuss the birds & the bees. I do think it's a mistake to reserve a topic of magnitude for a one-time-only discussion or lecture. I have used a hundred teachable moments with A to prepare her for the changes her body will go through soon. We read Christian books on human sexuality & puberty, and she has always known that it was safe to ask me questions about anything.
I've taken my kids to AA meetings and have not hid this part of my life from them. E and TC are too young to understand, but A knows and we've talked about it. At 11 years old she is too young to understand all of the ramifications of her mother being an alcoholic. But I do know that someday, when she is grown, she will truly get it, and will be thankful that her mom was sober. I'm so grateful that I can stay sober for my kids, and be the mom that they need.
Don't avoid the hard subjects with your kids. I know it can be intimidating, but you'll be so glad later that you were the first voice they listened to about it.