Alcohol abuse 'huge' in Tweed
SHOCKING revelations on the impact on children of alcohol abuse by parents have sparked the Salvation Army to address the issue.
The organisation conducted a survey prior to Alcohol Awareness Week in November, discovering that 22% of Australians know families where children may not be cared for properly due to alcohol usage by parents or carers.
Al Anon Tweed worker "Sandra" said she was not surprised by the findings.
"Where do I start?" she said.
"The problem of alcohol abuse is huge on the Tweed.
"Many kids are missing out on learning basic skills, affection and just parent/child time, but they often repeat their parents' behaviour, including alcohol consumption.
"It can be a vicious circle because they are also often attracted to partners who are similar to their parents.
"It's what they know and in turn they may treat their kids in the same way they were treated.
"The problem is absolutely enormous in the Tweed."
Co-ordinator of St Joseph's Youth Service at Coolangatta Gerina Appo said many young people were forced out of home due to alcoholic parents.
"I see the repercussions of alcohol abuse," she said.
"It can cause family breakdown.
"I blame a lack of education to an extent, but I think it's also a cultural thing where alcohol is part of the rituals or habits people get in to."
Major June Grice from the Salvation Army Lifestyle Centre at Banora Point said many people turn to alcohol due to family breakdown.
"They come to us because they fel their life has no meaning and want a better way of life," she said.
"But it also works the other way.
"Alcohol can break family bonds and some families don't want anything to do with someone who is an alcoholic.
"Others try to build bridges. But alcohol is ingrained into the Australian culture.
"It comes to the point where they need to see that alcohol is a poison and that one drink is one too many and that it's possible to have a good time without it.."
Major Grice said the first step for an alcoholic is to contact Alcoholics Anonymous.
"They will help with a strategy," she said.
"The old boys help the new ones and there's an affinity that really helps them."
The Salvation Army runs detox programs and a rehabilitation centre.
AA meets at Tweed Heads on Saturday at 8pm at the Anglican Church Hall, 13 Powell St.
AA Coolangatta meets on Sunday at 7.30pm at the St Augustine Parish Hall, McLean St.