From the 8-14 February 2015, Nacoa celebrated the 7th Children of Alcoholics Week in the UK in the same year that we celebrate our 25th birthday and continue to remain a friendly face reaching out to the 1 in 5 children in the UK living with parental alcohol problems.
COA Week is an international campaign held annually during the week in which Valentine’s day falls to raise awareness of the millions of children around the world being affected by parents who drink too much. We want children to know they are not alone and support is available. Every day of COA Week we shared one of the seven Cs, important messages for children of alcoholics to remember.
“Without help these children become lost in the system; they grow up feeling un-noticed at best and abused at worst. Nacoa’s work is all about planning for a positive future – helping them to transform their negative beliefs about themselves into an ‘I can do’ attitude.” COA Week supporter and Nacoa Patron, Elle Macpherson
Craig Revel Horwood, Calum Best, Marco Pierre White and Kim Woodburn are also among the many celebrity supporters of COA Week.
When alcoholism is the family secret, children battle with the fear of being disloyal to their parents and try to hide their problems from the outside world. This can leave children feeling isolated and alone. It is perhaps the secretiveness that grows with addiction that causes most harm.
Despite the prevalence of drink problems, there is still a long way to go to dismantle this taboo subject. Demonising people with drink problems prevents them and their children from speaking up and asking for help. This year, Nacoa wanted to see COA Week reach even more people. Media agencies, businesses, charities and the general public are all invited to get involved.
Nacoa co-founder and Chief Executive Hilary Henriques explains: “For many children a Nacoa volunteer will be the first person they tell about a parent’s drinking. The fear of being “taken away” or “betraying” their family means that they keep it a secret. Our work is crucial because as a first point of contact our trained volunteers can help children to make healthy decisions for themselves, regardless of whether their parents continue to drink or not. We would like to invite other charities and organisations to work with us in promoting COA Week so that we can overcome the stigma surrounding this issue and break the cycle of addiction. Together we can give these children the chance of a brighter future.”
There are lots of ways you can take part, from putting up a poster to downloading the charity single, posting on social media or organising a fundraising event. Visit coaweek.org.uk for more details and ideas of how to be involved.