Children First: Kids with an alcoholic parent are at risk - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Kids with an alcoholic parent are at risk to follow in their footsteps

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According to a new government study, at least 1 in 10 children live with an alcoholic parent, putting them at an increased risk of developing a host of health problems of their own. Children of addicts are also at a greater risk of following in their parents addictive lifestyles.

Counselors in KOTA Territory provide parents with the tools to avoid continuing the destructive cycle.


Amber could be enjoying this beautiful day with her daughter, but because of her addictions, she only sees her 5 year old every other weekend.

"I have a lot of fear about my daughter ending up like me," said Amber.

Because of her addictions, Amber says she's been in and out of her daughter's life and she wants to change that.

"I don't want to continue the drinking and abuse in my family. Our kids tend to do what we did and I want to stop the cycle," said Amber.

A cycle that Chemical Dependency Counselor Kristina Gray says is a real problem.

"When children grow up in terrible, all they know is terrible," said Kristina Gray, a Chemical Dependency Counselor.

Gray says children react to a parent's addiction and the environment that comes with it in one of two ways.

"I think children either follow in the footsteps because that's all they know and then I've seen children act in the absolute opposite way and want absolutely nothing to do with that lifestyle," said Gray.

Unfortunately, Gray says she sees more children follow in their parents footsteps rather than choose their own paths. But there's always hope and help.

Gray says treating the whole family is an important step toward recovery. Full circle, a program at Behavior Management Systems in Rapid City is a good step.

"A lot of programs focus on just treating the addict themselves, and I believe that Full Circle does a great job of focusing on the family as a whole unit. I think that can be a powerful weapon against the disease as it impacts the family," said Gray.

And for Amber, keeping her family together is her motivation.

"It gets me to where I want to be, to remind me of what I'm going to lose, what I can lose. I just don't feel like losing my family, that's all I have," said Amber.

Amber says she hopes her third go at rehab will be the one that sets her free of addiction.

"The end goal is to be able to make it out of here and say that I did the program and I worked it the way it should have been worked and doing it for me and my child. It's a long journey but I'm willing to take the next step," said Amber.

Amber is already on her way to recovery, she just landed a job, one of the important steps toward being reintroduced into society as a sober mom.

She says she hopes to regain full custody of her daughter as soon as next month.

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