Posted: 11 February 2019

Children of Alcoholics Week: Young people create a book for parents who struggle with alcohol use

There are an estimated 920,000 children (under 18s) living with one or two alcohol-dependent parents in the UK today. Children of Alcoholics Week aims to raise awareness of these children and let them know there is plenty of support available.

The Community Hidden Harm Awareness Team (CHHAT) at The Children’s Society East works with young carers aged 8-19 years old who are affected by parental substance use (also known as Hidden Harm).

Last summer, four young people who received support from CHHAT decided to come together and create a book. Their hope is that ‘this book will help parents understand how we feel when they are drinking and that it will help them realise the effect that their drinking has on our relationship’.

Through this book, Billie, Chad, Jessica and Josh hope to start a conversation with their parents about something which is so difficult to talk about.

The book contains illustrations, poems and heartfelt messages with each section covering a particular emotion that the young people feel living with substance-dependent parents. Here are a few extracts from the book: 


young people's messages to parents affected by substance misuse


young people's messages to parents affected by substance misuse


young people's messages to parents affected by substance misuse

Other emotions and feelings covered in the book include sadness, lonely, helpless, responsible, embarrassed, unworthy and empty. You can view the full book here.

CHHAT supports young people to express these feelings through one-to-one support, group work and activity days. Services like CHHAT are invaluable in helping these young people understand their experiences and improve their emotional well-being and resilience. 

A huge thank you to the incredibly talented Billie, Chad, Jessica and Josh for creating this resource for parents.

If you have any questions about the CHHAT project, please contact 01245 493311 and ask to speak to a member of the CHHAT team. You can also visit The Children’s Society East website and check out more amazing work from the young people that attend the groups.

To find out more about our work with children that grow up around substance use and find support services near you, please visit our substance misuse pages.


By Kaja Zuvac-Graves

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