The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service


Nacoa is here for everyone affected by their mum or dad’s drinking. It’s OK to hate the problems drinking can cause, yet love the person who is drinking. If your parent, step-parent, grandparent, or anyone else important to you drinks too much, finding out more about alcohol problems can help you feel better.

Why people drink alcohol

People have drunk alcoholic drinks for thousands of years. There are many reasons why people drink. Some people like the taste. They drink at social occasions such as parties, often with family and friends. Some people drink because they like the feeling of being drunk. Alcohol is a drug made from fruit or grains that have been put through a special process called fermenting. Drinking alcohol affects the brain and the body, so it can change the way people feel and act.

Some people use alcohol as a way to help them feel calm, or to try and cope with problems. Alcohol can affect memory, meaning people often don’t remember silly, embarrassing or other things they have done when drinking. People keep drinking because the good feelings they experience outweigh any horrible effects, such as being sick or feeling ill the next day (a hangover).

When drinking becomes a problem

Many people drink alcohol without it being a problem. But for some people, their drinking can start to cause problems in their lives.

Alcoholism and the family

Alcohol problems do not only affect the person drinking, but also everyone around them, including family and friends. It can be especially difficult for children when their parent has a drink problem.

See how a young boy called Toby is affected by his dad’s alcoholism in a short BBC film called "Toby's Dad". Watch Toby’s Dad on the BBC website.

Newsround have also made a special programme called "Living with Alcohol" which shows how children can be affected by their parents’ drinking. Watch Living with Alcohol on the Newsround website.

You are not alone

Remember Nacoa is here for you. If you want to talk about anything on this page or in these videos, please call or email us.

However you are feeling, or whatever questions are on your mind, we will always try to help.

When a parent has a drink problem, it isn’t easy for children but you don’t have to cope on your own.

See Help & advice for ideas on ways to feel better.

You may also find it helpful to read Experiences of other children affected by their parents’ drinking.

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