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Children of Alcoholics Week

Emily Miller works as a Family Support Coordinator for Adfam in Haringey on the Insightful Families Project. She provides Peer Support, workshops and free family activities for those affected by someone else’s alcohol use.

From the 9th- 15th February it’s COA week.

NACOA hold an annual campaign to raise awareness for children of alcoholics. This gives children and adult children of alcohol dependant parents/carers the space to say: I am affected, what I experienced or am experiencing affected me; I am a COA. It also allows those currently within these situations to realise they could be affected or begin to understand their situations and potentially reach out for support. As COA week has grown year on year, more people are becoming more aware of the potential effects alcohol can have on children.

Children can sometimes be lost in families affected by alcohol as the focus can be solely on the person drinking, which can be a drain for the significant other. Working with families, whatever stage they are at, to support them to gain skills, awareness and better understanding helps the whole family recovery.

The Insightful Families project provides whole family support; from hidden harm support for young people in the family to parenting support for parents/carers using alcohol and supporting parents to understand the effects their drinking can have on their children.

As a family friend or carer affected by a loved one’s alcohol use you can access:

Family activity events – our next will be London Aquarium during half term

• Children in families affected by alcohol enjoy time with other children in similar situations

• Parents and carers were able to meet with others and enjoy a day out

• For some of the children the activities were new experiences for them

• Significant others spent quality time with their children in a safe enjoyable way.

6 weeks of workshops

• Supporting significant others affected by someone else’s alcohol use

• Gain awareness and understanding

• Meet other people who are affected- reducing isolation and stigma

• Understand the potential effects on children within the family

Plus extra one off bespoke workshops- chosen by attendees

Coffee mornings within community cafes

• Front facing friendly atmosphere

• Drop in outside of the service

• Support, advice and signposting

• Meet others in similar situations outside of the service

Peer Support Training

We’re looking for Peer Supporters in Haringey. Are you a family, friend or carer over 18? Do you have time, energy, enthusiasm and lived experience? Living in a family affected by alcohol can be extremely tough. Could you support someone to gain family friends and carers support? Get in touch to find out more about our Peer Support training.

Our family activities encompass children and have been a really positive step into support. They enable us to break down barriers to accessing services and give the significant other and the child space and time to get back to themselves, enjoying a free day out, building their own relationships and connection. For some families this can be the only positive outlet they have. This can lead to other steps towards support and interaction and reduces isolation.

Our biggest challenge can be overcoming to the barriers people feel. Not many people want to stand up and say that alcohol harms them or someone in their family, let alone their children. This is often due to stigma, shame, cultural values and beliefs, normalisation or taboo, plus much more. It can be even harder for children to comprehend and seek support.

Supporting the family is known to enhance and improve chances of sustained recovery for the person using alcohol. Families begin to understand the situation from their perspective too and can learn informed ways to better support their loved one and gain awareness of the harms to children in the family; for example, through boundaries, communication, awareness around the substance and more.

Having lived experience, myself I understand some of the challenges, struggles and upset caused to families affected by alcohol. While everyone’s experiences can be different, those affected often gain a sense of relief from their peers. CoA week highlights that ‘you are not alone’ and many other children and adults are affected by a loved one alcohol use. Which can be very powerful.

If you would like more information on the support NACOA provide:

Kooth : free safe and anonymous online counselling for young people

For more information on the Haringey Insightful Families Project please visit:

To contact the Adfam Family Support Co-ordinator:

Emily Miller, ,    07548999414

To search for support in your area around a loved ones substance use:

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