Baumholder to host Children of Alcoholics Awareness Week

by U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder Army Substance Abuse Program

BAUMHOLDER —  U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder’s Army Substance Abuse Program will host Children of Alcoholics Awareness Week Feb. 9 to 15 to help raise awareness of the risk factors and long-term trauma of alcohol abuse on children and families.

Activities include a free showing of the 2013 film “Saving Mr. Banks,” starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, at 4 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Wagon Wheel Theater on Smith Barracks. Participants will have the opportunity before, during and after to meet with specialists and discuss what they have viewed or personally experienced.

The film delves into the painful truths about the author P.L. Travers and the real-life inspiration for her most famous character, Mary Poppins, said Sarah Phillips, ASAP prevention coordinator.

“We welcome all ages to this film. It’s especially important that caregivers see this movie with their children to gain a better understanding not only of themselves, but of their children as well,” Phillips said.

Other events include an informational booth from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Community Mail Room lobby and Al-Anon training from 1 to 2 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Baumholder Health Clinic, Room 3105, Bldg. 8743.

Al-Anon is a self-help support group that provides guidance and resources to a person who is either living with someone or grew up in a home with an individual who had a severe alcohol problem.

Because severe abuse often alters how the adults in their lives cope with routine events, it’s important to make sure the involved children are properly cared for, said Greg Pryor, ASAP prevention coordinator.

“A person who has a severe alcohol problem actually has their brain altered. This brain change gets in the way of emotions, memories, feelings and judgment,” Pryor said.

These changes create cravings for alcohol that are five times stronger than our hardwired instinctual craving to eat food when we are hungry. These brain changes can affect parenting skills and the emotional support they provide their children.

“Children who grow up in this environment have been negatively impacted. It’s our goal during Children of Alcoholic Awareness Week to help people understand their childhood and encourage them to create new family traditions,” Pryor said.

ASAP offers additional educational programs and rehabilitation services to help those who have been adversely impacted by secondhand drinking.

For more information, call the Baumholder ASAP clinic at 485-1710 or 06783-6-1710. To speak with an adolescent substance abuse counselor, call 0162-234-1790.