Professional Perspectives
Children of Alcoholics Series

You can help a child affected by someone’s addiction to alcohol

Sis Wenger, President/CEO of the National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA), shares how the seven Cs help children and teens affected by the family disease of alcoholism.

Alateen is a support program for adolescents that have been affected by someone else’s alcohol addiction or alcohol misuse. Find an Alateen Meeting.

If you work with children or teens that have benefitted from Alateen and would like to help us increase awareness about Alateen, message us at publicoutreach@al-anon.org for information about how you can participate in our ongoing public outreach efforts.

Disclaimer:

Al‑Anon cooperates with therapists, counselors, and other professionals, but does not endorse, oppose, or affiliate with any professional, organization, or entity. The opinions expressed in the video were strictly those of the individual who expressed them. Their comments reflect their professional expertise and use of Al‑Anon as a resource for their clients and patients who are or have been affected by an individual’s addiction to alcohol.

Video Transcript

You can help a child affected by someone’s addiction to alcohol

Interviewer: Al‑Anon has a tool that members use it’s called the three Cs, “You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you can’t control it.” This brings newcomers to the program relief and it’s kind of a springboard for their recovery. Children and teens of alcoholics also have something similar called the seven Cs, the first three are the same as Al‑Anon’s three Cs. Can you tell me what the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh Cs are and how they help teens?

Sis Wenger, President/CEO of NACoA: Many years ago, probably almost 25 or 30 years ago, I was actually working with Jerry Moe from Betty Ford Center. And Jerry Moe and I, and Jerry was particularly concerned about the children not getting enough directed at what they needed to heal with the three Cs. And so, we – we worked a lot on it, and basically Jerry developed the final ones. And so, what we thought was that – yes, children need to know that they can’t control it, and they needed to know that they can’t cure it, however, they need to know that they can take better care of themselves. That’s the first C: “Take better care of yourself.” And you do that by “Communicating your feelings,” that’s the second C; and “Making healthy choices,” and “Celebrating me.” So those are the extra, the extra four Cs and we actually at NACoA use the seven Cs as well as the topic area for the children’s program kit. But we use the seven Cs as a guide, to make sure that whatever we’re developing, any programs that we’re endorsing or encouraging actually have the impact of addressing the seven Cs. We didn’t think about that when we were developing them, but they became very clear that this is a tremendous guide. If you can help a child to understand all seven of those Cs, in an age-appropriate way, they will have a totally different perspective on what’s happening to them and probably begin to feel free to do things to help themselves.