Media and shame




Hi Everyone,
I’m sure you’ll all have seen that within the last few days there have been revelations made by the police that a missing person has a vulnerability that they later disclosed was alcohol related. My first reaction was empathy for her and her family.
The next round of stories have really upset me though. It’s the nature of the outcry that paints this as a shameful secret that’s been revealed. It’s horrible. I feel like it is reinforcing the idea that we should hide alcoholism away in the privacy of our homes. It’s a narrative I want to see someone speak out against. We need openness and honesty. The scale and impact of a parent with alcohol problems will never be noticed if it’s forever hidden within the family home.
Obviously disclosing a medical condition is a minefield so I don’t want to go into that, just that the way prior have reacted had really upset me. I want someone to say “It’s not shameful to have an alcoholic in the family”, it’s the most painful thing, it’s traumatic, a life and death rollercoaster, you may feel embarrassed, but it isn’t shameful.

  • listener

    Hi onthemerrygoroundagain,

    Totally understand all of your feelings towards those recent news stories. There is still so much stigma and shame surrounding alcoholism, which is one reason why it's so hidden in families and often not even spoken about within families.

    You might know that this week is COA Week 2023, and the theme this year is 'The Family Secret'. As you described, often rules can develop within these families —don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel—to keep problems hidden from the outside world.

    COA Week aims to help break down the silence and lessen the shame surrounding alcoholism. Like you say, it's so important to get the message out there this problem isn't shameful.

    Take good care,

    • onthemerrygoroundagain

      Thank you for commenting.

      I've spent the last couple of years really struggling as my dad has lost homes and been near death a few times and then made a miraculous recovery.

      I've been trying to be much more open about the struggles but I'm always conscious that I have to be careful as he gets judged and I don't think that's helpful for him.

      Over the last few years, I've been having anxiety attacks and think I may have C-PTSD (one alcoholic and one psychotic parent did not make a perfect childhood but local services aren't great for trauma). I now find I get thrown into anxiety so easily from reading news stories that bring out all the feelings of hurt. I have been following what's happening this week, though haven't attended any event as I'm not sure I'm in the right place. I've only recently started to rebuild my inner walls.

      • listener

        Hi again,

        I'm so sorry to hear about all that you've been going through with your dad. To have almost lost him a few times must be incredibly difficult and draining. I'm sorry to hear how much you're struggling with this.

        It can be difficult to find the support you need when there is a lot of judgement. Do you find that anything helps with the anxiety? You're doing the right thing to not get too involved in the events when you're not feeling ready. Even though much of it is positive, it is still very close to home and emotionally charged, so I'm glad you're thinking about yourself and what you need.

        I hope you can find some support on here, and remember Nacoa is there for you too.

        Take care,

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