Growing up under the secrecy of alcoholism
On the outside Sam had a good start in life but despite his private schools and wealthy parents he always fell short of fulfilling his potential. From a young age he experienced the impact of alcoholism in his family and the secrecy needed to hide this from the outside world.
To the onlooker Sam appeared to be coping well with everyday life. However, deep down inside he felt like an outsider with a dark secret about his family that he couldn’t share with anyone. Internally he was plagued with worry about his parents and home life. Sam vowed that he would never be like that.
When he was fourteen alcohol rode on to the ranch and he picked up a drink. When he drank, emotional pain and fear went away and worrying about his family and his parents’ addiction stopped. He could now fit in and he no longer felt different to the rest of the world.
At first Sam was the same as his other teenage friends who drank at weekends, but only five years later he would wake up each day dreading drinking but unable to stop. There were blackouts and hangovers that felt like nervous breakdowns and any plans or ambitions for his life had ceased. At the age of nineteen he found himself looking for a way out.
After seeking help he describes the journey of how alcohol went from being a weekend activity to consuming his every waking moment. Today eight years later with a healthy support system in place Sam leads a manageable, productive and happy life.
He is now passionate about talking to young people about growing up in a family with alcoholism, the effects this can have on a child even after leaving the family home and the high risk of teenagers developing the same addiction as their parents.
Sam’s experience and insights into growing up with addiction in the family and to dealing with his own problem makes this a highly relevant talk for young people.