Raymond dreaded the end of the day when his father came home. It hadn't always been like that. He remembered how they had played soccer in the evenings and how he sat on his father's knee listening to stories. But since his father had started drinking and coming home late everything was wrong. Although Raymond was tired by then, he always stayed awake with his mother until his father came. There was always a lot of arguing and shouting and Raymond worried that his father would hurt her.
"You must go to sleep, my boy," his mother said. But every night Raymond lay awake until the shouting stopped. At school he struggled to keep awake.
"What's wrong, Raymond? Can I help you?" his teacher asked. "No, I'm fine thanks," Raymond said, trying to smile. He wasn't fine. He felt sad and ashamed and didn't want anyone to know what was happening at home.
But people did know.
The neighbours stopped visiting and their children weren't allowed to come over to play anymore. Raymond's aunts and uncles stopped visiting on the weekends too. They didn't like the way Raymond's father shouted at them and told them they were all stupid when they said he needed help. And they were right! He did need help because soon he was drinking all weekend and before work in the mornings. It was so bad that he lost his job. But even that didn't stop him from drinking.
"This has to stop," Raymond's mother said. "Unless you agree to get help, the children and I are leaving you. We love you and we'll miss you but you won't see us again."
Raymond's father knew that she was serious. "I'll get help," he said. "You'll be proud of me again."
So he did that. The went to the special Alcoholics Anonymous programme and he stopped drinking. It was very hard, but he did it. His family supported him and encouraged him and slowly things improved. He also got a job that he loved. He had to visit the schools and tell young people about the dangers of alcohol abuse.
His family were proud of him, especially Raymond. By getting help he was changing so many lives for the better.
Alcohol can cause a lot of problems in people's lives...
- Discuss alcohol abuse. Work with a partner.
- Using the pictures as a guide, write a list of the problems alcohol can cause in people's lives.
- Discuss Raymond's problem. Think about what could have happened if his father did not agree to get help.
- Things worked out well for Raymond's family, but do you think all alcoholics would get help if their families threatened to leave? Discuss.