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To Sam

I hate it, christmas....

it feels like chrismas is just shoved like right in my face, i hate christmas its nothing like it is shown on tv etc everyone always argues and dad drinks and mum and dad argue, and grandpa drinks to much and everyone argues and mum ends drinking and cooking and things get set on fire. its like the same thing every year and im fed up of the christmas season already and its like only november.... i hate how tv shows that everyone has a good xmas, i never have and never will its the same thing every year, i wish xmas didn't exist. i feel like i'm making a fuss over nothing but whilst my friends are wishing for things like a new phone or a new laptop im wishing for a christmas where dad isn't drunk!!!
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Sam

Hello,

Thank you for your letter. It sounds like Christmas is a very difficult time of year for you. Often the media can give a really unrealistic picture of the “perfect” Christmas. The TV can show families having fun with lots of expensive gifts, food and drinks. Sadly, for lots of people this is not always the case.

It seems like lots of your family members drink a lot of alcohol at Christmas, which leads to arguments and dangerous accidents. I can hear how upsetting and scary this is for you. It sounds like alcohol might be an issue for several people in your family. Quite often families keep alcohol problems a secret. This can be really difficult for the young people in the family, especially if you are trying to cope with all of this on your own.

The most important thing is for you to remember that none of this is your fault. You have the right to feel happy and safe, not only at Christmas, but all year round. It’s not okay that the adults around you are getting so drunk that they can’t take proper care of you. You have been really brave to write to me asking for support.

Perhaps there is an adult that you trust who you could talk to about all of this? Is there anyone in your family who might share your worries about how much people drink at Christmas? Or is there a teacher at school that you trust? It may help for you to make a list of places and people who make you feel safer. You could include telephone numbers of people you trust such as family members or friends you could contact in an emergency. If you ever feel unsafe, remember you can call 999 at any time.

It may be as well as getting support for yourself, your family may also need support. It is not your responsibility to stop your family from drinking too much. People will only stop drinking if they are willing to work really hard at it. That doesn’t mean that you should just have to put up with feeling unhappy at home.

You might find it useful to look at our section about home and families and the parents and alcohol.

Organisations like social services can support whole families to work through the problems that might be caused by people drinking. That’s something you might want to talk to a ChildLine counsellor about. You can contact us by calling the free helpline on 0800 1111 or logging on for a 1-2-1 chat. Even if you just want someone to listen, the counsellors are there for you.

Take care,

Sam

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