Our antidote to disposable 2-for-1 culture and in support of all children, everywhere...
Buy for 1, support 2. For every book purchased, either directly from us or from one of our carefully selected retailers, a second copy will be donated to charity and gifted to a child who is currently living in challenging circumstances.
The charity that Picture-This Books™ will be supporting from publication date – 8th November 2019 – 7th October 2020 is NACOA UK.
The chosen charity will be reviewed in September 2020, at which point a new charity may or may not be chosen for the following 6-month period.
The 1-for-2 pledge remains the same, regardless of which charity we support at any given time. The charity may only be changed as and when a target number of books has been fulfilled and gifted to them. If ongoing support is required, this will always be honoured.
My experience of living with alcoholism
My Mum raised my sister and I on her own, though that was something I hardly noticed as a child - she played both roles and she played them brilliantly. A real super-Mum. And then something happened.
When I was about 11 years old, my Mum began drinking heavily. She was in an abusive relationship and she started using alcohol to numb the pain. The relationship ended after about 6 months but, unfortunately, the drinking did not. At first my mum drank to escape, but before long she drank because she felt guilty for drinking. And so her cycle of addiction began.
My mother died in a hospice, surrounded by helpless family, on the 7th December 2012 – about 17 years after her addiction began. During that time, she had been in and out of hospital and admitted to intensive care more times than I could count.
She had been treated in some of the best rehab clinics in the country, she had also spent the best part of a year homeless.
In the last few years of her life, my Mum was completely unrecognisable. Medically it was a miracle she was still alive. On more than one occasion she told me she believed she was in hell. She attempted suicide several times. As well as the liver sclerosis and numerous other damage, my Mum developed alcoholic dementia and went on to get cancer - something which was diagnosed very late because it was masked by the symptoms of sclerosis.
On her deathbed, my brilliant Mum apologised for being a bad mother (the guilt was with her until the end) and then she asked me to let her go because she hurt too much to live. She was 48 years old.
My Mum’s addiction gripped hold of her and consumed her from the inside out. It tore our family apart and it broke the strongest woman I have ever known.
Alcoholism is an illness. It cost my mother her life and it changed our family forever.
Being the child of an alcoholic is something that never completely goes away. As children we spend a lot of our time trying to keep the peace, attempting to please, amuse and 'fix'; generally doing everything in our power to stop the person we love most in the world from drinking. We feel utterly responsible. Children of alcoholics spend our childhood feeling like we are not good enough. If we were, then surely our parent wouldn't choose vodka over us? Children of alcoholics are carers. We develop trust issues. What we lose in hope, we more than make-up for in shame. It is frightening and lonely and leaves us feeling utterly helpless. It's hard to shake and the scars stay with us forever.
As a child, it is almost impossible to believe that things won't stay the same forever. The weight of despair is too much. I am living proof that things do change and they do get better but I can still vividly remember that sense of loneliness and fear. I miss my Mum every day and I think I will always feel guilt that I wasn't able to stop her from drinking. As a child, I would use reading and writing to take me away from reality. I'd close my bedroom door and lose myself in other worlds. Happier places. I helped my Mum keep her drinking a secret for several years. I thought I was protecting her and I was embarrassed. Eventually she was admitted to hospital and the truth came out. Thankfully I had grandparents and other family members in my life - all of whom were shocked and wracked with guilt themselves. They knew Mum 'liked a drink' but they hadn't seen how bad things were behind closed doors. Not everyone has the support network that I had and, without it, I do not know where I would be now.
NACOA is run by some of the kindest and most caring people I have ever met. It is their life's work to make a difference and show support to children of alcoholics and their families and I am incredibly proud to be doing my bit to help them.
If you are reading this and you are or have been affected by a parents drinking, or you know someone who is, you can call NACOA's free helpline on: 0800 358 3456 or email: helpline@Nacoa.org.uk for information, advice and support. Your call will not show up on a landline bill and you can tell them as much or as little as you want. They are there to listen and they won't judge you. Please remember you have got nothing to be sorry for, it is not your fault and you will not feel like this forever.
Holly, author of The Imagination Garden & founder of Picture-This Books
To whom it may concern 04/10/2019
This is a letter of authority for Holly Wadsworth-Hill to donate copies of ‘The Imagination Garden’ to Nacoa (the National Association for Children of Alcoholics), a small national charity set up in 1990 to provide information, advice and support for everyone affected by a parent’s drinking.
Since 1990, we’ve responded to over 355,000 requests for help from children as young as five who find the courage to call or email the Nacoa Helpline knowing they can remain anonymous, able to talk about what they want, in their own time and without judgment or time limits. Some children contact once, others over a number of weeks, months or years. Sometimes they call at the point of crisis and we remain with them on the phone; a kindly voice in what might seem a hostile world.
Our work is all about planning for a positive future. An opportunity for children and young people to see that the world can be different from the one they’ve always known and that they can, with help, go on to live happy and fulfilled lives and break the cycle of addiction.
A copy of the 2017 Annual Report and information about the charity is available to view on www.nacoa.org.uk .
Hilary A Henriques MBE