Monday, 3 March 2008

COAP , a burden shared...

It's strange how issues arrive in your lap. There I was talking about Mother's Day and feeling very proud of my three children, savoring the independent adults that they have become. I guess I have been fortunate that they still talk to me!

And just now my daughter sent me a text telling me to look at this website, which has been set up by an old school friend of hers. It jolted me into recognising how very lucky I have been in my life not to have faced such problems.

I started to look just out of curiosity. I remembered Emma and her family as a gaggle of blonde haired glamorous creatures who clustered around the school gates in the afternoon. Then I read on and started to remember the gossip and innuendo that also happened. Little did we realise what a dreadful experience that family were living through. And truth be told I guess we didn't really want to know either... It's a sad indictment of the human condition how we can gloss over the more upsetting aspects of everyday life. Probably in the mistaken belief that if we don't talk about them then they won't exist.

Alcohol is an ever present problem in the sailing community too. Probably not affecting many children but an issue that we don't talk about openly. A lot of the social life in the cruising community revolves around the bar and drinking. What with everyday happy hours, regular 'Sundowner' invitations and 'Cocktail Hours'. I am sure we all know the cruisers who regularly imbibe one too many. And the ones who seem to sail solely for the access to cheap booze...

After a hot day on board there is nothing better than that ice cold beer or rum punch is there!

Anyway, conscious as I am of trying not to preach, I am deeply impressed by the maturity that Emma has drawn on and her commitment to helping others who face the predicament that she has lived through. Her organization , COAP, Children of Addicted Parents, deserves to be widely publicized. A burden shared is a burden halved and we could all learn a lesson from Emma. It is far better to face up to the issues and speak out loud about them than to labour under the belief that ignorance is bliss!

In Emma's words;

My mother has been an alcoholic since I was a young child. I felt different as a child, yet I did not know at that time that my mum had a drinking problem; I just saw it as normal. Through my teenage years her addiction became more of a problem for me, as I began to become aware that it was a problem for her.

... So it was in 2006 I founded COAP. The drive behind COAP is to provide children with something that I did not have as I was growing up. I set the website up for young people to talk about their concerns and fears about a person who is abusing drugs and alcohol, or is addicted to some form of behaviour. I felt like I had no one to talk too who understood. And I don’t want others to feel like there is no one to talk to.

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