It’s Never Too Early to Talk to Your Kids About Alcohol

I’m an alcoholic.

That’s the first time I’ve ever said, written, or even acknowledged that fact about myself.

I’ve never been to rehab, although; I probably should have at a couple points in my life. I’ve never been to AA or any recovery program, for me, but I’ve attended a lot for other people. And, I’ve never gotten a single DUI…sadly, not from a lack of trying in my younger days.

But, I have done a lot of damage to other people in my life, including my former marriage, and worse, to myself, because of my issues with alcohol. My ex-wife and I may not agree on much, and we may never see eye-to-eye on most things, but one thing I will never deny, is that I should have gotten help a long time ago, and because I used alcohol to self-medicate a lot of issues from my mental illness; irreparable harm was done…and that’s on me.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not the only reason my former marriage ended, but it definitely played a part in the the early days, of doing harm to trust and and responsibility.

While I never got official help, I am proud to say, I’ve worked very hard since my son was born, to no longer be that person. To reclaim my sense of responsibility, and to show him, and his sister, that things like alcohol need to be taken seriously, and use in a responsible way.

Are you picking up on the theme here?

I’m proud to say I have recently teamed up with Responsibility.org to become one of their #TalkEarly ambassadors. Responsibility.org is an amazing organization aimed at educating everyone (especially parents and children) that alcohol responsibility is a lifestyle worth investing in, and, the consequences of alcohol abuse, don’t only effect the person abusing the substance; it effects everyone around them as well.

The #TalkEarly campaign is designed to assist parents with children, ages 6-9, on having those tough talks early on, and continuing to have them as your children get older. That way, hopefully those kids will make smarter choices as teenagers, young adults, and even more so as they become members of society, and possibly parents of their own.

Now, before you get upset, and think I’m telling you not to drink, or that you shouldn’t share that meme about the parent and their need for wine, that’s not what I’m doing. You do you. I’m simply going to tell you some stories, and why I’m making the choices I’m making.

What it all boils down to, for me, is wanting my kids to be far better educated, than I was, and act far more responsible, than I did, when it comes to making decisions surrounding alcohol.

Some of you may be feeling like I was, when I agreed to join this campaign; “How do you even start that kind of conversation with a 6-9 year old? Well, not to worry; the awesome people at Responsibility.org got your covered. They have all kinds of great resources and tools for parents to use. Like some amazing conversation starter videos.

Luckily, it didn’t take much for me. Not because I’m some parenting genius, who has it all figured out…you follow me here and on my Facebook Page; you know I spend half my time talking out of my rear end.

I forget from time to time that my (now) 7yo is starting to read read really well. Last week; just prior to his birthday, I was talking my brother over text, and making some off-handed jokes about some person or other, and I used the phrase, “Are you drunk?” To which my son promptly asked, “Dad, what does drunk mean.”

While I was in no way prepared for that question; fortunately, and unfortunately, I have a wealth of experience to rely on in explaining. I kept it simple; explaining that alcohol was something everyone is allowed to have – once you’re of legal age, and that many things his mother and I have already talked to him about; having too much can make you feel yucky, and have negative consequences.

I know this is a conversation that will need much more, in depth, explanation, as we move forward, but for now, it was good enough.

My kids aren’t the only reason I have worked so hard to curb my issues with alcohol; my main, and most important reason, is me. Alcohol has, over the years, contributed to my negative body image, my poor sleep habits, as well as my depression and anxiety. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy an alcoholic beverage now and again, because I do, but it’s a far rarer thing than it once was.

If you feel like alcohol is having negative effects on your body, or mental state; there is no better time than Dry January to make a fresh start, and maybe see how you feel after setting that substance to the side for a bit.

I am a #TalkEarly ambassador for Responsibility.org. I have received compensation for my work, but all opinions are my own

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