Silent Voices, is a new campaign which aims to show how Ireland’s toxic relationship with alcohol hurts so many people.
This campaign is not about blaming people, or pointing fingers. Silent Voices want to stop the cycle of damage repeating and repeating across generations. As Father Peter Mc Verry says
“Hurt people hurt other people”.
Marion, Barbara and Carol are 3 brave women
The 3 brave women leading the campaign have spoken out about the impact of their parents drinking on their lives.
Marion Rackard has been acutely aware of the silent stress including feeling powerless to do anything about it.
Barbara Whelan had feelings of anxiety and depression throughout her life. She began to realise the impact it had on her and sought professional help.
Carol Fawsitt found her self-esteem was “shot”. She felt different to everyone else, always on the outside, never being good enough, always feeling inadequate.
By setting up this campaign, these brave women are helping to start a much needed conversation about the harm alcohol does.
Fergal felt shame was like his second skin
The celebrity BBC TV presenter Fergal Keane grew up with alcohol misuse. He felt shame all the time. It was like a second skin. The other big feeling he has is grief, because he never had a normal childhood.
In the video launching the campaign, Fergal talks about his own misuse of alcohol. He also makes the really important point that his parents did not wilfully set out to harm him. Useful to remember if you’re a parent drinking too much and feeling ashamed of the impact on your children.
Fergal’s book a memoir of his life called “All of these people” is well worth while reading and is available from libraries or online
Are you more likely to have a problem with alcohol?
The research on whether children with parents who misused alcohol are more likely themselves to have problems with alcohol is mixed. Some studies report there is a higher risk of such children going on to have problems with alcohol, other say it is less likely. It seems to be generally accepted though that children affected by alcohol harm are more likely to have mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression etc. as adults. Silent Voices has more information here.
Everyone in Ireland knows some affected
Since the early 1960’s our average drinking per person has gone from 4.9 litres per person to a high of 14.3 litres in 2001. The Health Research Board report that over 1.3 million people drink too much and the Silent Voices group estimate over 400,000 adults have been affected by parental drinking
Are you a silent voice?
Are you an adult child affected by your parents’ alcohol misuse?
Well half the battle is to acknowledge that alcohol harmed your childhood and this harm may still be affecting you to-day. It might even be affecting your own ability to manage your drinking.
You might find it useful to read the stories of other adult survivors which you can find here.
You might also find our tips here on coping with emotional neglect useful. Click here for details