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The 2019 Family Voices Winner

Ceri receiving her award from BBC presenter Peter Curran at our annual Carol Concert in early December 2019. 

Adfam’s Family Voices Competition allows friends and family members who have lived through someone else’s substance use to express their thoughts and feelings in a creative and constructive way.

Congratulations to this year's winner, Ceri Walker, and to the runners up, Rachel Pattinson and Dympna. You can read Ceri's entry below. 


The glimpse I had of you, By Ceri Walker

It’s all too easy to look back on the chaos of my childhood with anger and sadness but now I understand addiction better, so now.....

I just want to say thank you Mum

Thank you for the four years you gave me before alcohol crept in, thank you for carrying me, for keeping me safe inside you, for feeding me milk for my first year, sounds to me like we once had a wonderful bond.

Thank you for waiting for me at the school gates on the days you could get there, you never knew the excitement I felt when I saw you as I peeped round the door, it wasn’t very often, sometimes weeks or months went by, but I want you know I just loved it, I still remember your blue hoody, it was so cosy to snuggle into,

Thank you for being so brave when you knew it had all got too much, it must have been hard to let me go, but in your own way you made sure I was safe. Sometimes it just wasn’t right for me to be with you, and Grandad did a great job, he wasn’t you though, and I secretly cried too most days,

Thank you for trying again and again, repeatedly to stay sober, you were so strong to do it, and the side effects of that were the most painful to watch! You were a warrior in those times, and I was with you, holding your hand through the chaos that ensued…you even once said out loud that you knew there was a problem, I can’t imagine how hard that must have been!

Thank you for the ridiculous chats, we talked about anything, there was no slurring, you didn’t judge, you cared, I know you did deep down, and that’s taken me 15 years to say, but I get it now and do you know why?

Because I’m recreating those magical glimpses of you with my babies, those tiny special moments are running through me, and as much as you have broken me, and made me worry of the Mum I am, I also love the Mum I am becoming because of you!

I laugh until I cry with them, I’m ridiculously silly with them, I get on their level sometimes so there is no parent and child, just a stream of magic that we’re all part of, and that’s from you, and I know once you felt it too,

I know we started with a bond, a strong attachment, because if not why can’t I think of the grandparent you’d be without my chest aching, literally a breathtaking physical pain? I will always try to separate my memories of you from the drink, and remember the sober times, however small they were, and I’ll tell them about the real you, just my Mum,

Tomorrow I may feel different, no two days are the same, but today I just want to thank you…..