Having experienced the harsh realities of living with an alcoholic parent, a 20-year-old from Chelmsford is showing the difficulties a young person can face when a family member misuses drink or drugs.
Her story was broadcast on ITV News Anglia on Thursday 5th February.
‘Anna’, whose real name has not been used, is highlighting the effect substance abuse can have on the children of addicts, while reassuring them that help is available.
‘My mum is an alcoholic and has been for as long as I can remember,’ explains Anna.
‘For a long time I felt lonely.
'It was just me coping with it on my own and that could involve anything from cooking the dinner to cleaning up sick.
‘But now I’m part of a support group, and I’m surrounded by other people in a similar situation.’
With Fixers, Anna and her team are helping to create a film to demonstrate the problems young people encounter when living with a parent who takes drugs, or drinks excessively.
‘Many young people feel they have to keep it a secret to protect their parents,’ Anna says.
‘I’m never angry at my mum. It’s just the alcohol that I don’t like.
‘When she is drinking she is verbally abusive – it’s like she’s two different people.
‘One side is my mum, who’s loving and caring, the other side is this woman that I don’t know.’
Lisa Scivetti from The Children’s Society in Essex appears in the broadcast in support of Anna’s campaign.
‘Anna’s story is a lot more common than people realise,’ she comments.
‘In Essex alone there are currently something like 58,000 families where at least one of the parents is misusing alcohol.
‘Having a film to show to young people will be really useful.’
Anna adds: ‘It is a big issue and it’s really important that we spot the young children that are affected by it.
‘They should be aware that there are support groups out there that they can go to for help.’
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‘Michael’ also grew up witnessing his mother’s alcohol addiction and wants to
show how a parent’s drinking can impact their children. Watch his TV film.