The Weekends, Alcohol, And Abuse: You Deserve To Be Free
For many abuse victims the weekend can be a scary time. There is more time spent at home, more alcohol consumed, and more time spent with the abuser. All of this translates to what should be a couple days of relaxation away from school or work to a fearful couple of days trapped in a prison of a home instead.
Not every abuser consumes alcohol of course but the ones that do may tend to escalate their consumption on the weekends. This is bad news for children being abused and in homes where one of the parents are being abused. A scholarly article published by Case Western Reserve University Professor Megan R. Holmes, et al states:
“Children are at 2 times the risk for being physically abused and 3 times the risk for being physically neglected if one parent abuses alcohol when compared to children who had no parents abusing alcohol”. The article goes on to state that the risk increases “over 3 times for physical abuse and 6 times for physical neglect if both parents abuse alcohol”.
This makes any increase in alcohol activity a frightening match to an already dangerous flame. Weekends are certainly no exception. In my personal experience, when alcohol was involved in the abusive episodes it made them more severe and more frequent. For years the sight of a case of beer was a reason for severe anxiety and a sad acknowledgement of what awaited me in the near future.
It’s not all negative though. The weekends also brings about solutions both temporary and permanent. Friends and other family members are more available and this provides an escape. Consider calling them and making plans for this weekend. Stay with someone you trust and, if you can, let them know what is going on at home.
You don’t deserve to live in a scary prison on the weekends or any day of the week. That feeling of relief you get when you visit friends and family? That feeling could be yours in the future.
The weekends are also perfect time for running errands and getting away from your abuser. Call a hotline like the National Domestic Violence Hotline or RAINN and talk to a trained advocate. I used to call them from parking lots while safely alone in my car. Call them from your friend or family’s house. Call them from anywhere, just please make sure you are in a safe location and you delete the number from your call history.
Another thing the weekends provide are opportunities to leave- for good. This applies to adults living with a violent partner. I understand how tempting it is to keep hoping that with the right counseling or enough AA meetings or (insert reason here) that he will change. He won’t. And if and when he does is not a timetable you can predict. Let him get help from a social worker that specializes in treating clients with alcoholism and knows how to handle them in a professional environment. You deserve a peaceful violence free life now, not later.
So this weekend keep in mind the people around you of all ages and genders that might be dealing with a secret at home. Reach out to those that seem troubled or express a desire to get away from their house on the weekends. Look for the warning signs of abuse and offer a listening ear, a hotline number, or a place to stay. With open eyes and open hearts we can identify and potentially save lives quietly suffering around us.
And to those of you dreading the weekend because of what awaits you at home, know that there are answers. There are ways out. There is a life beyond your prison walls and nobody deserves to live it more than you. Reach out, speak out, walk out… and one day these times of fear will be a memory.