You may feel like you are the only one in this situation, but you are not alone

Young female sitting on bed

There are other children and young people who live in a family where one, or both, parents may drink or use drugs.

Quotes from other young people

Some of the young people we've worked with told us how they felt living with parents who misused substances.

quotes from young people

Expressing Feelings - exhibition

A powerful exhibition expressing thoughts, feelings and stories has been created by children and young people affected by parental substance misuse. 

Our Community Hidden Harm Awareness team (CHHAT) in Essex work with affected children and young people. They ran a 12-week creative art therapy programme ending in an exhibition to celebrate the young carer’s amazing achievements and reward their contributions. The exhibition includes quotes, artwork and stories from young people.

You can read a collection of pieces - including 'Dear Mum and Dad', 'We want our parents back', 'Drugs and alcohol poem', 'My jar' and 'This group' - here.

Young people's experiences

Other children and young people have made films, written or spoken about their experiences:

Mother's Day: Remembering my alcoholic mum On her first Mother's Day without her mum, Ella (not her real name) shares her story of growing up with an alcoholic parent. WATCH NOW
Children of alcoholics Liam Byrne MP talks about his own experiences growing up with a father who drank too much and his determination to help other young people in the same situation. WATCH NOW
The Feather A haunting animation reflecting the emotions of rehab through a child’s eyes. The Feather is part of a series of films we created in collaboration with the MA character animations class at Central Saint Martins. The films offer a chance to hear the voices of young people who are too often unheard. WATCH NOW
Weight A powerful animation highlighting one boy’s life with a dad who drinks too much. Weight is part of a series of films we created in collaboration with the MA character animations class at Central Saint Martins. The films offer a chance to hear the voices of young people who are too often unheard. WATCH NOW
My cloudy man A beautiful film illustrating the impact a father’s drug use can have on his daughter’s life. My cloudy man is part of a series of films we created in collaboration with the MA character animations class at Central Saint Martins. The films offer a chance to hear the voices of young people who are too often unheard. WATCH NOW
Brought up by booze A documentary film by Calum Best, whose father George was an alcoholic. Calum travels across the UK to meet young people who share stories of chaos and neglect, but also inspirational stories of determination not to end up like their parents. WATCH NOW
Chasing Dad: A lifelong addiction This original and compelling documentary from Phillip Wood depicts one father's long-term struggle with heroin addiction, told through the uniquely intimte perspective of his own son, The film contains strong language and some upsetting scenes. WATCH NOW
Do you care Young carers miss out on everyday things we take for granted. Team v have joined forces with us to launch the #doyoucare campaign to help young carers find the support they need. Find out more about the experiences of young carers in this 'day in the life' film. WATCH NOW
Alcohol’s children A new film from 16 year old Michael. After witnessing his mother’s addiction to alcohol growing up, he is highlighting how a parent’s drinking problem can negatively impact their children. WATCH NOW
No easy answers This film looks at recovery from alcohol addiction and focuses on the role of the people that love and live with those suffering. Among the interviews, an adult daughter talks about her father's drinking and how it felt as a child. WATCH NOW
Addiction: I need help Growing up affected by her mum's alcohol addiction, Daisy has created a film to raise awareness of the devastating effects of a parent's alcohol misuse. She is urging others to seek help to prevent families from being torn apart. WATCH NOW
Alcohol Awareness Week Many young people become carers because their parents have issues with alcohol. At a Media Skills weekend, a team of Young Cares in Focus (YCiF) Champions created this film about Alcohol Awareness Week, exploring some of the ways alcohol misuse can affect families and in particular young carers. WATCH NOW
Action on Addiction A short film made by film-making charity Positive Images showing two young people dealing with their experience of having parents addicted to drugs and alcohol. The film hopes to encourage young people in a similar situation to talk to someone who can help them. WATCH NOW
Kodak Competition These short videos about living with a parent's addiction have been made by film students across the UK as part of the 2014 national Kodak Nahemi Student Commercials Competition. WATCH NOW
Living with alcohol Children's programmme 'Newsround' has made a special film about how young people are affected by their parents' relationship with drink. It tells the real-life stories of three children who have had very different experiences. WATCH NOW
When harm is hidden A group of young people from Essex are revealing the challenges they face living with a parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. WATCH NOW
Liam Byrne - BBC Radio 4 MP Liam Byrne speaks for the first time about having 'loved and lost' his alcoholic father and how millions of children are still being scarred for life by the disease. LISTEN NOW
Josh blogs A Scottish teenager has written an open letter to her drug addict parents, thanking them for showing her that 'life is not sunshine and rainbows'. READ MORE
A open letter to my parents Chelsea Cameron's parents were in the grip of their addiction when they missed her younger brother's first day at school and the day she was made head girl. But in a heartfelt letter she has posted on her blog, the 18-year-old from Dundee does not criticise her mother and father for their absence. READ MORE
Helping hidden carers Relatives who look after a loved one with an alcohol or drug addiction could be classed as carers, says a teenager. Charlie Bowie wants to spread the message that support isn’t just available for people who care for relatives with disabilities and has created an animation with other young carers. READ MORE
Courage to speak out A 22-year-old woman whose childhood was scarred by a drug-dependent and violent father, is encouraging children of addicted parents to speak out. Lucy has helped create a leaflet to inform teachers and other professionals about some of the signs of child neglect and domestic abuse to spot. READ MORE
Fixers A boy whose family was torn apart by alcohol abuse when he was just five is sending a sobering reminder to young people about being mindful of how much they drink. Jamie was taken into care along with his sister after his mum could no longer look after them. Now 16 he has produced a collection of lanyards which were distributed in local libraries. READ MORE
Things they don't tell you about growing up 'There was never just one moment in my family when we found out that my dad was an addict.' - Ashley writes about being the child of an addict. READ MORE
Letter to my dad A powerful letter written by a young carer to his dad before he entered detox has been shared by Gloucestershire Young Carers. They hope the letter will help other children, young people and families in similar situations. READ MORE
How I lost my dad to alcohol addiction 'It was a role reversal because you end up looking out for him and making sure he gets ready for the day. And then always worrying about what he was doing.' Charlotte talks about how she lost her dad to alcohol and how it impacted on her life. READ MORE
7 things that happen when you're a child of an alcoholic A very honest account from a writer who grew up with a father who drank too much. READ MORE
How my famous jockey dad died from alcoholism Natasha Eddery-Dunsdon, the daughter of champion jockey Pat Eddery, says she knew deep down all her life that her dad liked to drink. But, it wasn't until she was a teenager that she realised how bad it was and that ultimately, he'd choose alcohol over his family. READ MORE
Anna's story Having experienced the harsh realities of living with an alcoholic parent, 20-year-old Anna from Chelmsford is showing the difficulties a young person can face when a family member misuses drink or drugs. READ MORE