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My Dad Loves Me My Dad Has A Disease

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Many years ago when I was a counselor in an alcohol and drug treatment program, I asked a six year old daughter of a man in treatment for his addiction if she knew why her father was in this program. The girl paused, looked at me, and with confidence said, "My Dad loves me, but my Dad has a disease." In spite of her father's addiction she knew her father loved her. That is a message I would like all young people to be able to believe that in spite of your parent's addiction, he or she still loves you. This is a must book for children ages 5 to 12 from addictive families. With pictures and stories by young people, it is designed to be used by and with children, offering them the opportunity to own and express their feelings and perceptions through drawing and writing. This book will help kids understand that they didn't cause their parent's addiction, nor can they cure it. But they can recognize it for what it is and own their experiences around it which allows them to develop greater strengths and resiliency. Growing up in an addicted family means living by the Don't Talk rule. It is not all right to talk about the drinking or using in your family. It's not okay to talk about what you see, hear or feel. But children do see, do hear, and feel fear, sadness, embarrassment, guilt, confusion, anger and loneliness. As adults, we owe them honesty. They deserve to have their reality validated. This book will do that. Some of the many points covered are:

  • The disease concept
  • Personality changes
  • Blackouts
  • Feelings
  • Relapse
  • Recovery

This workbook gives children the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings, and to better understand addiction and recovery. As Claudia tells children, "If you live in a family affected by addiction, you are not alone. There are many other children like you living in homes like yours who feel just like you do. It is important that you not be ashamed of your feelings or try to push them out of your mind, but that you talk and share your feelings with someone. Your parents do love you. They just have a hard time letting you know how they really feel because they are sick with the disease of addiction."

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