Therapy for children of alcoholics

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

Your browser is not supported

Switch to Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari

Main page content

  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

  • Suggested Resources

    What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families
    Created for family members of people with alcohol abuse or drug abuse problems. Answers questions about substance abuse, its symptoms, different types of treatment, and recovery. Addresses concerns of children of parents with substance use/abuse problems.

    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
    Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, "It's not your fault!" and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list.

    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
    Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative's suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

    Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness or Addiction
    Explores the role of family therapy in recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. Explains how family therapy sessions are run and who conducts them, describes a typical session, and provides information on its effectiveness in recovery.

    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Your browser is not supported

Switch to Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari

Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.

The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. NSDUH estimates allow researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and the general public to better understand and improve the nation’s behavioral health. These reports and detailed tables present estimates from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).



  • Among the 133.1 million current alcohol users aged 12 or older in 2021, 60.0 million people (or 45.1%) were past month binge drinkers. The percentage of people who were past month binge drinkers was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (29.2% or 9.8 million people), followed by adults aged 26 or older (22.4% or 49.3 million people), then by adolescents aged 12 to 17 (3.8% or 995,000 people). (2021 NSDUH)
  • Among people aged 12 to 20 in 2021, 15.1% (or 5.9 million people) were past month alcohol users. Estimates of binge alcohol use and heavy alcohol use in the past month among underage people were 8.3% (or 3.2 million people) and 1.6% (or 613,000 people), respectively. (2021 NSDUH)
  • In 2020, 50.0% of people aged 12 or older (or 138.5 million people) used alcohol in the past month (i.e., current alcohol users) (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among the 138.5 million people who were current alcohol users, 61.6 million people (or 44.4%) were classified as binge drinkers and 17.7 million people (28.8% of current binge drinkers and 12.8% of current alcohol users) were classified as heavy drinkers (2020 NSDUH)
  • The percentage of people who were past month binge alcohol users was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (31. 4%) compared with 22.9% of adults aged 26 or older and 4.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
  • Excessive alcohol use can increase a person’s risk of stroke, liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, cancer, and other serious health conditions
  • Excessive alcohol use can also lead to risk-taking behavior, including driving while impaired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver daily


  • STOP Underage Drinking interagency portal - Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Talk. They Hear You.
  • Underage Drinking: Myths vs. Facts
  • Talking with your College-Bound Young Adult About Alcohol

Relevant links:

  • National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
  • Department of Transportation Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance
  • Alcohol Policy Information Systems Database (APIS)
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism



  • In 2020, 20. 7% of people aged 12 or older (or 57.3 million people) used nicotine products (i.e., used tobacco products or vaped nicotine) in the past month (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among past month users of nicotine products, nearly two thirds of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (63.1%) vaped nicotine but did not use tobacco products. In contrast, 88.9% of past month nicotine product users aged 26 or older used only tobacco products (2020 NSDUH)
  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, often leading to lung cancer, respiratory disorders, heart disease, stroke, and other serious illnesses. The CDC reports that cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States
  • The CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health reports that more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking cigarettes

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use data:

  • In 2021, 13.2 million people aged 12 or older (or 4.7%) used an e-cigarette or other vaping device to vape nicotine in the past month. The percentage of people who vaped nicotine was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (14.1% or 4.7 million people), followed by adolescents aged 12 to 17 (5.2% or 1.4 million people), then by adults aged 26 or older (3.2% or 7.1 million people).
  • Among people aged 12 to 20 in 2021, 11.0% (or 4.3 million people) used tobacco products or used an e-cigarette or other vaping device to vape nicotine in the past month. Among people in this age group, 8.1% (or 3.1 million people) vaped nicotine, 5.4% (or 2.1 million people) used tobacco products, and 3.4% (or 1.3 million people) smoked cigarettes in the past month. (2021 NSDUH)
  • Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Among both middle and high school students, current use of e-cigarettes declined from 2019 to 2020, reversing previous trends and returning current e-cigarette use to levels similar to those observed in 2018
  • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, or pregnant women, especially because they contain nicotine and other chemicals


  • Tips for Teens: Tobacco
  • Tips for Teens: E-cigarettes
  • Implementing Tobacco Cessation Programs in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Settings
  • Synar Amendment Program


  • Truth Initiative
  • FDA Center for Tobacco Products
  • CDC Office on Smoking and Health
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Tobacco, Nicotine, and E-Cigarettes
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: E-Cigarettes



  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, 3. 3% (or 9.2 million people) misused opioids (heroin or prescription pain relievers) in the past year. Among the 9.2 million people who misused opioids in the past year, 8.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers compared with 1.1 million people who used heroin. These numbers include 574,000 people who both misused prescription pain relievers and used heroin in the past year. (2021 NSDUH)
  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 3.4% (or 9.5 million people) misused opioids in the past year. Among the 9.5 million people who misused opioids in the past year, 9.3 million people misused prescription pain relievers and 902,000 people used heroin (2020 NSDUH)
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Understanding the Epidemic, an average of 128 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose


  • Medication-Assisted Treatment
  • Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
  • TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Criminal Justice Settings
  • Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy
  • Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants
  • The Facts about Buprenorphine for Treatment of Opioid Addiction
  • Pregnancy Planning for Women Being Treated for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Tips for Teens: Opioids
  • Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grants
  • Tribal Opioid Response Grants
  • Provider’s Clinical Support System - Medication Assisted Treatment Grant Program


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Opioids
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Heroin
  • HHS Prevent Opioid Abuse
  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network
  • Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network



  • In 2021, marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug, with 18. 7% of people aged 12 or older (or 52.5 million people) using it in the past year. The percentage was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (35.4% or 11.8 million people), followed by adults aged 26 or older (17.2% or 37.9 million people), then by adolescents aged 12 to 17 (10.5% or 2.7 million people).
  • The percentage of people who used marijuana in the past year was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (34.5%) compared with 16.3% of adults aged 26 or older and 10.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
  • Marijuana can impair judgment and distort perception in the short term and can lead to memory impairment in the long term
  • Marijuana can have significant health effects on youth and pregnant women.


  • Know the Risks of Marijuana
  • Marijuana and Pregnancy
  • Tips for Teens: Marijuana

Relevant links:

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Marijuana
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Centers on Marijuana
  • CDC Marijuana and Public Health

Emerging Trends in Substance Misuse:

  • Methamphetamine—In 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2 million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Data shows that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
  • Cocaine—In 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
  • Kratom—In 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000 people had used Kratom in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.


  • Tips for Teens: Methamphetamine
  • Tips for Teens: Cocaine
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse

More SAMHSA publications on substance use prevention and treatment.

Last Updated: 01/05/2023

ACA syndrome (adult children of alcoholics) » Treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts and alcohol addicts

Children of alcoholics. The most terrible thing that can happen in this life. What are these little innocent souls to blame for, that from birth they can become victims of alcoholism?

Human health is determined even in fetal development. What will happen to a child when alcohol affects him at all periods of his development?

Even Hippocrates paid attention to this issue and wrote that drunkenness is the cause of "weakness and sickness in children. "

Alcoholism has the most terrible effect on children if the drunkard is the mother. After all, all nine months she will poison the baby with alcohol. Therefore, a healthy and strong child cannot be born to a drinking woman. The risk of having a premature or dead baby is doubled or more. Children can be born with various diseases, suffer from increased excitability, sleep poorly, often cry for no reason. Children born to a mother who is in the middle or last stages of alcoholism have a number of serious illnesses. They may be epileptic, suffer from convulsive seizures; be downs, lag behind in development, and so on. I do not want to list a number of serious, sometimes incurable diseases that babies can suffer from.

And their further life cannot be called happy. Very often, their life continues in orphanages.

Back in the 19th century, the genus of alcoholics was studied on the example of several generations. First there was a decline in morals. Then there were signs of alcoholism. Then there were mental disorders. In the fourth generation, the family degenerated. The dynamics of development is disappointing.

Scientists have not proven the direct inheritance of alcoholism.

But most children, due to developmental disabilities, congenital diseases, have a craving for alcohol in order to forget about their problems. They have nowhere to wait for help and support. Therefore, if such a child once tried to drink, it will be difficult for him to stop.

Yes, and often a baby gets enough alcohol from breast milk. In such families, to keep children silent, alcohol is added to food. As a result, the baby may show signs of alcohol poisoning.

The constant presence of alcohol at home can lead to the appearance of early alcoholism in children. Children study poorly, often get sick, have low immunity.

There are quarrels and beatings in the families of alcoholics. Children are constantly afraid. Therefore, as a rule, they grow up as insecure personalities in life. Due to powerlessness to change something, they hide the problem behind aggression or go into an imaginary world.

They don't know what to do to make their parents love them. They still do not understand that it does not depend on them.

But whatever the parents may be, they represent authority for children at a young age. This is why children copy the behavior of their parents. It is later that their ideals appear.

There are several types of alcoholic children. Psychologists distinguish:

  • "Heroic" type. Occurs when there is an exchange of places between parents and a child. The child becomes the head of the house. He has to decide everything. He takes care of his parents, equips his and their life.
  • "Extreme" type. Parental anger constantly falls on the child, he is like a "scapegoat" in all the troubles in their lives.
  • "He who is in the clouds", escape from reality. The child finds it difficult, does not know how to live in this world and invents his own fictional one.
  • "Everything is allowed." This is when parents have financial opportunities and spoil the child. Thus they act, trying to make amends for their guilt. These kids are allowed to do anything. They grow unattended. Therefore, such children do not know the human rules of life, no one has explained this to them. They grow up selfish and spoiled, prone to criminal behavior.

Adult children of an alcoholic take with them from their childhood numerous complexes, low self-esteem, uncertainty of life, feelings of guilt and shame, self-sacrifice. An attempt to hide one's childhood leads to isolation of character. They often get depressed.

Psychologists have created the term "Adult children of alcoholics - ACA syndrome" . Why exactly? As adults, the “children of alcoholics” remain children at heart. They feel insecure and often hold a grudge that they had to grow up as children. They have a hard life. They cannot believe in wonderful good feelings. They think they are not worthy. The constantly nervous state in which ACAs are, of course, leaves a negative imprint on the human psyche.

Such people definitely need support in life. Living with so many complexes is very difficult. Therefore, if there are family nearby, reliable friends, you can try to change your beliefs. But if this does not happen, you may need the help of a psychologist.

Because it is impossible to know where these complexes will lead.

ACA syndrome: how can children of alcoholics survive?

She stood on the threshold of the brothel with her newborn son in her arms and did not dare to step inside. My heart was pounding, my legs were wobbly, but there was nowhere else to go. She stood and looked at what had once been a cozy apartment that smelled of her mother's pancakes. Now in this dirty, sooty hole were those who deprived her of her childhood and left her, trembling with fear, right in the courtroom ...


Anna was the fourth of seven children. Mom did not work - she was constantly on maternity leave, children were born with a difference of two years. At the same time, the family did not need anything: the father was engaged in the construction of cottages in Novogrudok and made good money. In addition to money, every month he sent food home to Minsk, an important help in the 1990s, with their shortage.

There were many who wanted to share the joy of a well-fed life with a mother of many children. At first they came just to visit in a friendly, neighborly way, then alcohol began to appear on the table. One bottle, another...

Mom got drunk. There was no longer enough money, she even began to sell parcels. Children, on the other hand, were forced to earn their own food on their own: they begged, collected bottles. People treated the vagrants differently: some dismissed them with disgust, others gave money or bought food.

One money changer helped the guys for more than a year, Anna still remembers her kindly: “She never gave money, but she always took me to the nearest canteen, where she allowed me to take any food and paid for everything. And you could take it with you."


Father moved to Minsk only when it came to deprivation of parental rights. He was offered a choice: to stay in Novogrudok, where they would allocate a cottage, and take the children there. Without a drinking wife.

Basically, he had to choose between his wife and children. And he did it. At the trial, he said that he loved her and did not want to get divorced.

- I felt anger, resentment, I was very upset by the betrayal of my father. I cried a lot, unable to believe that the dearest people threw us out of their lives, ”recalls Anna. “I was also afraid of the unknown. I saw the orphanage only on TV and was very afraid, not knowing what awaited me there.

Everything is remembered. We are from dysfunctional families, and the attitude towards us was appropriate. I had to fight for my place in the sun. It was lucky that the older sister was already 14 years old, she defended.

Then, in 2000, an orphanage No. 7 "Seven I" was built. And everything became different: apartments with their own kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, separate rooms for two. Each group-family has a permanent tutor and assistant.

We spent the whole summer in the camp, even during the shift change we stayed there. A new orphanage was in a hurry to open by the beginning of the school year. I remember we arrived there in the last days of summer, on the eve of the school assembly. And they brought five puppies, who were adopted in the camp... Their mother was hit by a car, and we, the orphans, took these orphans with us. Couldn't leave.

Director Zhanna Romanovich was shocked, but didn't kick me out. She settled the puppies in the vestibule, put them on allowance. Then, gradually, according to the ads, I distributed four, and one dog remained and lived in the orphanage for quite a long time.

We began to study at a regular secondary school. The difference compared to the boarding school was striking. Home children met us negatively: orphanage children are a stigma. The confrontation lasted for six months, until we caught the strongest ringleader in the class and “dealt with” him. Then they left us behind.

Zhanna Aleksandrovna stood behind everyone, she took pity on us and protected us. She tried to be a mother for each of the hundreds of pupils, and everyone loved her.

People think that children from the orphanage are thieves, drug addicts and immoral persons. But these are the same children, just with a broken fate. Yes, there are some with mental disorders. Basically, those who endured bullying in the parental home, who were tortured, tried to kill. There were two sisters whom mother left at home when they were small and did not appear for weeks. They ate paper from hunger...

Do you know what is the worst? This is when you went through all this horror, and now your children are also in an orphanage. I know those. They probably didn't have the willpower. In the orphanage, we lived on everything ready. And when an independent life begins, it blows the roof from lack of control. The wrong company turned up, the wrong man met...

This is very scary. When you don't know how to stop. Or you can't. But you don't want to. Once you are free, you feel brave, independent, new friends appear. You can safely buy your own alcohol ...


After leaving the orphanage, Anna met a young man. He seemed mature, serious, bold. When it was discovered that 18-year-old Anna was pregnant, the "adult and serious" simply disappeared from her life...

It became frightening again. There is nowhere to live and nothing to rely on for help. While she was in her last year at a construction school, she could stay in a hostel, and then - a frightening unknown, from which she sucked in the pit of her stomach.

. ..And here she was standing on the threshold of her parents' apartment with a baby in her arms. There was no trace of the former well-being: alcoholic parents turned housing into a terrible den, where there was neither light nor water. No front door, no whole window.

“The condition of the apartment was such that even rats were afraid to live there,” Anna sighs. - The court secured the right to this housing for me, but only 12 people were already registered there on 67 square meters of total living space.

But the worst thing happened later, when bailiffs started coming. For more than 10 years, while we were in the orphanage, no one paid utility bills. And it turned out that I now have to answer for the debts of my parents. None of the arguments worked. Adult? Registered here? Pay your bills...

Having learned that the children began to return from the orphanage, a commission from the energy supervision arrived. The meter has not worked for many years, and in order to cook food on an electric stove, the light was connected to the apartment directly from the entrance.

“Of course, they immediately counted every light bulb, every socket and issued a fine,” Anna cries. - This fine also fell on my shoulders and sisters, the rest were still in the orphanage. They confiscated my TV set, refrigerator, bought with the raise money.

When my son was less than one and a half years old, the young mother came to the kindergarten and told about her situation. The baby was taken to a nursery, and Anna began to work at a construction site.

- Lyonka was used to scandals, fights - you can't kick these drunks anywhere ... You call the police, they are taken away for several hours, and they return even angrier - and everything starts with renewed vigor.

I was not afraid for myself, I knew that I could fight back. She was only afraid that one day I could exceed the permissible self-defense and then you would not explain anything to anyone ...


She desperately needed help, and in response she heard: you have an apartment, clean it up and live. But the young mother studied to the commas all the documents that talk about the rights of orphans, and continued to walk and insist on her own. She understood: upon reaching the 23rd birthday, she would lose the status of an orphan, and then there would be nothing more to hope for.

The more time passed, the more the panic increased.

And finally, in one of the high authorities, an official was found who, together with Anna, began to seek the realization of her rights. He fussed about removing or reducing parental debts from her. He explained what information needed to be done and where to take it. The efforts were not fruitless: two months before the 23rd birthday, our heroine was allocated a social apartment. She, too, was far from in the best condition, but one could live in safety here.

The last straw

Gradually, everything began to improve. Anna even studied at a driving school and bought a car. She got married and had a second son. It would seem that live and be happy…

But my husband began to drink. The wife, who did not touch alcohol, was very annoyed. Upon learning of the third pregnancy, I hoped that the loved one would come to their senses. And he really was encoded, once again gave his word to pull himself together. It just didn't last long.

The last straw was Anna's hospitalization with pneumonia. By the time the woman learned that her husband had gone back to his old ways in her absence, the seven-month-old daughter had already spent three days in the crib, and the boys were left to their own devices. Elder Lenya somehow changed her diapers and prepared milk formula. In the crib, the baby fell asleep and woke up, day or night, and when she was already crying completely wet, her father paid attention to her and changed clothes, but more often Lenya did it.

When Anna found out about this, she called her sister from the hospital, and she took away the middle Vadim and little Dasha. The girl was then afraid to go to bed for a long time, she cried a lot, remembering her imprisonment. She agreed to sleep only in her arms, and her aunt had to make a lot of efforts to make the baby calmer.

Then Anna made a firm decision to protect her children from their father's drunkenness. And after 10 years of marriage, the couple broke up.


Health problems began at school age, after the removal of the adenoids. The orphanage loved to get sick and especially - to lie in the hospital, so that they would pity and indulge. After Anya's numerous complaints about difficult nasal breathing, they examined her and removed her adenoids. The nose didn't breathe normally after that. But endless pneumonia began…

“Pneumonia was stable once a month,” says Anna. - I literally grew up in the 3rd Children's Hospital. I studied there, teachers came to the ward. All the nurses knew me, they brought treats.

They will be discharged - and after a few days, as soon as someone nearby sneezes or the wind blows, and again in a hospital bed. I no longer wanted this: my longest hospitalization with pneumonia lasted from December 5 to February 23.

She continued to get sick while studying at the construction school, and then. Only during the first pregnancy, the body became less vulnerable, but later everything resumed - with the beginning of autumn, as soon as she got to the hospital, she spent the whole winter there.

During these periods, Lenya was raised by her older sister, who stayed in her parents' apartment (now they are gone).

Pneumonia became chronic, wheezing became common. Diagnosed with bronchiectasis. Irreversible changes occurred in the bronchi, a chronic purulent-inflammatory process developed in the bronchial tree. Constantly tormented by a cough, accompanied by the release of purulent sputum. Treatment is antibiotic therapy and bronchoscopic drainage.

Then came a period when the fever persisted for a long time - about three months, and the cause could not be found. The search for a solution to the problem led to the 9th City Clinical Hospital, where they performed a thoracoscopy and an atypical resection of the S5 segment of the left lung. More than 5 years have passed since then, and during this time our interlocutor fell ill only once.

Hepatitis C

Unfortunately, the health problems did not end there. During the second pregnancy, she underwent mandatory examinations - hepatitis C was detected. This came as a shock.

Doctors insisted on a caesarean section, as this is the minimum risk of infecting the child. They explained that I would have to stop breastfeeding. More precisely, you can feed, but until the first cracks. And cracks can be both external and internal, and if they form, then the risk will be great.

I did not take risks: both Vadim and later Dasha grew up on artificial feeding. Their health is under control. At first, they were registered in the children's infectious diseases hospital, they regularly took tests. They are doing well, they have been removed from the register. Now they are observed in the children's clinic.

Anna is now feeling well. She needs to be tested for viral load so that the doctor can prescribe treatment. While drinking vitamins to support the body.


Anna has a dream: to build a big house. From real logs, and stain them to preserve the structure of the tree. And that the furniture was wooden. And a fireplace. And a large swimming pool in the yard.

Once she had a car, which she managed to exchange for a plot of 8 acres with a small house in Smolevichi - a start has been made.

Anna tries not to think about her personal life. She admits that she does not feel alone. Nearby is a sister who will always come to the rescue, and also Katya, a former teacher of an orphanage, who eventually became a close, almost family person, with whom you can share the most intimate.

Yekaterina Maltseva, former orphanage teacher, now coordinator of the Belarusian Association of UNESCO Clubs project “Comprehensive and sustainable support for socially vulnerable groups in the Republic of Belarus”.

Anya never gave up. I fought with all my might to break out of hell and start a normal life. This rod was always with her. If you set a goal, you will definitely achieve it.

We still communicate closely, and I can rightly say that Lenya, Vadim and Dasha are my grandchildren. With the younger ones, he comes to me on weekends, we support each other, we share personal things as close people.

Now I work for the Belarusian Association of UNESCO Clubs. With the support of the Ministry of Health, together with the UNAIDS Country Office in Belarus, as well as partner organizations from among state and non-governmental socially oriented organizations, we provide medical, rehabilitation and social assistance to vulnerable groups of the population.

This is a one-time, but complex support: certificates for the purchase of products, sanitary and hygiene products, humanitarian aid for adults and children. We pay for medicines and dietary supplements for our wards (people living with HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, suffering from addictions and single mothers like Anya in a difficult life situation). Legal advice, psychological and psychiatric, narcological assistance, assistance in finding employment - who needs what.

We help meet basic needs. Then the person will more likely get out of the crisis, will be able to see other opportunities, not focusing more on their problems.


Natalya Sheybak, family psychologist:

There is such a syndrome - adult children of alcoholics (ACA). Most people with ACA developed specific behavior patterns that helped them survive in a dysfunctional family. But these qualities can be reflected in the future on interpersonal relationships.

The same thing happened to Anna: she grew up in a family where her father was at a distance, and her mother, by and large, didn’t care about the children so much that she didn’t even leave food for them.

This model of parental behavior influenced the decisions that the girl subsequently made. The first guy who left her pregnant turned out to be an irresponsible person, like her father. And the next, who became her husband, began to drink - like his father. This suggests that she subconsciously attracted people who looked like her father to her. She understood how to live with them, but she simply did not see another.

One of the important factors that prevented her from sliding into the abyss was that she was able to see from the outside how pernicious the situation is and what a father of younger children really is. Being at a distance, in the hospital, and not being able to take care of the children and protect them when a stressful situation happened, she felt the same feelings that she once experienced as a child.

It was a trigger for her to break free from the co-dependent relationship. The desire to be with your children at all costs, not to let anyone offend them overpowered everything else.

Imagine a frog in a pot on fire. At first, she is even happy, because she is in her habitat. But if she could see from the side that the pot is on fire, she would jump out at any moment. But he does not jump out, because he does not understand what is happening. And as a result, he dies.

Anna was able to see the situation from the outside, and this was an important moment. Perhaps if she had been inside this situation (as often happens), she would have endured further. There is always an excuse within the situation. Yes, and an alcoholic can be a good manipulator.

Our heroine did not take the position of a rescuer: they say, it was hard for him alone with children, he should also be pitied... Usually such arguments lead to the fact that a woman forgives.

Learn more