To whoever this may touch
The CASA Family service in Islington encourages the children and families they work with to express their feelings in different ways and the annual Family Voices competition is a good opportunity to share their written stories and help others in similar situations.
The team were delighted to hear that Josephine*, aged 15, had been placed as a runner-up this year. As part of her prize she attended Adfam’s star-studded Carol Concert on 6 December where her story was read aloud by Martha Kearney, a journalist and broadcaster who currently presents the World at One programme on Radio 4. Martha also presented Josephine with her prize, £100 voucher, and you can read her prize-winning entry below:
To whoever this may touch
You are not alone, I know it’s hard to believe sometimes but it’s true. Many other people are going through what you are too, more than you think, although you may not necessarily see them or know them. Even I was. Having a family member that is affected by alcohol use really weighed down on me. When I was younger, I didn’t understand what was going on, it especially hurt as I felt so powerless and small; like I didn’t have a voice. This was because I could tell that she was normally so dismal before the drinking started again each day and I yearned to try and make her happier so they could stop but the glass had more power over her than me.
The drinking continued but my knowledge grew, I started noticing that it was other problems that lead to her drinking and that these problems were also the cause of her sadness. The bottle was her crutch even though it made her slowly deteriorate in front of me, in terms of her personality and more. Her health problems started increasing and so did my worries at full speed, meaning I had to grow up extremely fast and take on the things and chores she wasn’t able to do. This resulted in me plastering a permanent smile on my face to mask my real feelings and hide what was going on at home ‘so that I wouldn’t reflect negativity or upset anyone’.
I thought this was it and it could only go bad from here, however, after one of her usual appointments she came home and told me that there was a place we could go that could to stop her from drinking as she could tell how much of a negative impact it was having on me. Little did I know that this place could open so many doors for me and are currently getting her on the road to recovery.
There is one thing I have learnt from this experience and it is that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, you are not alone, I know it’s hard to believe sometimes but it’s true…
The CASA Family Service helps children, young people and families who are affected by parental alcohol or drug use. They offer non-judgemental and respectful support to families living in Islington who have a child or children under 18 years of age.
The Family Voices, competition run by Adfam, allows friends and family members who have lived through someone else’s substance use to express their thoughts and feelings in a creative and constructive way. While it is often difficult to talk about this subject, it can be helpful to write about it.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of our service users.