Parental Drug and Alcohol Problems

What can I do?

How can I cope with all this? | How can I look after my well-being?

Question How can I cope with all this?


You cannot control or change the person who is using drugs or alcohol but you can make some good decisions for yourself.

As a young person with your own life to lead, you need to make decisions that will help you to be healthy and safe, and allow you to enjoy life as a teenager. In this way you will protect yourself from the harmful effects of living in a home with a parent with drug or alcohol problems.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics have developed the Seven Cs for children. It is hoped that by using these core beliefs, children and young people will get help to protect themselves from alcohol and drug related harm.

  • I did not CAUSE it.
  • I cannot CURE it
  • I can’t CONTROL it
  • I can COMMUNICATE my feelings
  • I can make healthy CHOICES
  • I can CELEBRATE myself

Celebrating yourself means looking after your life. Recognising what you are good at and what is going well in your life.


Question How can I look after my well-being?



  • Meet up with your friends and do things that help you to have fun and get on with your own life.
  • Do things with other members of your family. This may mean going to the park with your little brother or having a day out visiting cousins or grandparents with the family members who are not misusing drugs or alcohol. Families can recover and do well even if one parent doesn’t stop their drinking or drug use.
  • Get involved with sport or activities outside your home which will keep you busy, fit, healthy and well.
  • Do not take on the responsibilities of your parent. It is not your job to be a parent.
  • If you are worried or do not feel safe, find an adult you can trust to talk to and get the help you need.


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