The Imagine Project is an inspirational book of real life stories of people who have overcame obstacles and offer us hope in doing so. In learning the stories of others, we are reminded, everyone has a story and therefore we can offer kindness- because kindness matters.
Today’s story is Kate’s and her experience growing up in an alcoholic household.
Imagine growing up in a home with two alcoholic parents.
Imagine feeling like a burden because your parents couldn’t provide and yet you had needs.
Imagine your dad coming to you and telling you he was going into rehab.
Imagine being 13 and sitting in family counseling, seeing your Dad look sick and dehydrated and not understanding any of it.
Imagine your mom still drinking for another year- fights, nights of her being gone with no idea if she would be home that night or ever.
Imagine your mom getting sober, finally, and with it, the physical abuse she administered, stopping.
Imagine being asked to speak to other high school kids about your experience.
Imagine being able to help other kids by sharing your story.
Kate was the oldest child in her family and took on many of the responsibilities of caring for her younger siblings while they all came second in their parent’s addiction to alcohol, money problems and work. She learned to stop feeling, because the pain of having to provide for and depend on herself was more than she wanted to manage at age 8.
Kate discovered through her parent’s rehab, that people could change, but that change wasn’t easy. Change takes a lot of work. She also learned it was ok to be angry. And she was. She was angry that she didn’t have the life she saw her friends have. She learned the incredible embarrassment she felt over her parent’s behavior and limited that by simply not having friends come over. She was angry about not having someone care for her, explain things to her and giving guidance. In essence, she felt she raised herself and learned things the hard way.
Kate has found that by helping others, and by healing the anger of the past, she is stronger than ever. By sharing her story, she is helping other teens who may feel alone, abandoned and confused, learn there is hope. There are programs for teens who are dealing with addictions in their home. Many of these kids don’t have the financial or parental support to go to a counselor and many fear, just as Kate did, that she or her siblings would be put into social services if anyone outside her home knew what was going on inside.
Many children from alcoholic homes suffer from neglect and abuse, both inside and outside their immediate family due to the dynamic the addiction takes. If you or someone you know is affected by alcoholism and/or drug addiction, Kate encourages you to look online for a local Alanon Service Center.