Imagine coming home and finding your parent passed out in a pool of vomit. The place reeks of stale booze. Mom may still be in her nightclothes, filthy and stained. Half empty bottles and glasses everywhere. There is no dinner, no food, because Mom needed the booze more. The phones may be ripped out of walls, furniture may be broken. A new “uncle” is passed out in your Mom’s bed. You don’t dare empty anything out or clean, for fear of waking her up. Hungry, tired and scared you go to your room and cry.

Plan and combine trips. Obviously, the less you drive, the more you’ll save on gas. So plan trips in advance to reduce unnecessary stops and drive a shorter distance. Carpool where you can, not just for work but any time you can buddy-up for a trip.

The alcoholic family is a dysfunctional unit. Everyone has an assigned role, keyed to how each individual reacts to the stress. One child may be the “rescuer”. Their role is to keep family peace, save the alcoholic from hurting himself and keep the family intact. Often they are obsessive about keeping things in order, and live with an enormous sense of responsibility. school activities and friendships fall by the wayside, because these miniature adults don’t have the time or energy for anything else, but saving their family from harm.

Track your spending for a month. This means writing down everything that you spend your money on, cash, credit, or debit, including your regular bills, mortgage, groceries, coffee, newspapers, etc. Carry a notepad if you need to. Even ATM withdrawals should be included. This step is just a necessary, preliminary step and will make it easier to create a realistic budget. Organize the categories and calculate totals.

Open communication. By encouraging candid and open communication (including a lot of listening on your part), can help you be more aware of potential health hazards, and enable you to take appropriate and timely action to mitigate them.

What if there were an easier way? What if you could simply get up, have your child eat, get dressed and send him or her off to school all with the touch of a button. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Make your first grader the 1 most important member of the family. Let him feel that first grade is very important. You can show it in small, simple ways. For example, let him sit beside you when you read, even if he is not the youngest child. Let him have special school crayons or pencil for use only when doing school work.