Amy Dickson

Amy's fundraising for Nacoa

Fundraising for The National Association For Children Of Alcoholics
raised of £10,000 target
We provide information, advice & support to everyone affected by a parents drinking


My Dad died in September 2020, after a long battle with alcoholism. He was just 68. He left two adult children, and four grandchildren.

But he was not just an alcoholic, the same as someone who has any other illness should not be defined by one label. Yet it is my experience that alcoholics are often negatively labelled; and their children struggle to receive the help or support they need to cope. There is a shame around alcoholism that does not exist with other illnesses; it often being considered "a choice". Trust me, nobody would "choose" to end their days as my Dad did.

In death he has made me brave, to be very open about what caused his health issues. Too many children of alcoholics are ashamed to admit the truth; fearing judgment on their loved ones and themselves. This is wrong.

I was very lucky growing up, I loved my Dad and he loved me. He could be fun to be around, and we maintained a strong relationship until his death. I have many happy memories, and am fiercely protective of him, even in death. I had a close and loving extended family too, and now have a family of my own. I was one of the lucky ones. But even with all that love and support I have struggled with his alcoholism, both before and after his death. I have been torn between being his biggest critic and his mightiest defender for a long time.

As a child of an alcoholic, I sought ways to help my Dad, often feeling like his parent, from a very young age. Nacoa has taught me that I couldn't cure it, I couldn't control it, and I didn't cause it. It was not my fault that my Dad was never ready to address his alcohol problem; I was not responsible for trying to fix him. The desire to fix things, help others and control situations is very common in children of alcoholics, and I think most people who know me will recognise these traits.

When my Dad died, I found Nacoa. I wish I had known about them before. They have made me realise that the myriad emotions I have about him are OK, helped me understand a bit about what his illness was like for him, and shown me that my brother and I were far from alone in our experience (although we often felt it).

I have been fortunate enough to become very involved with Nacoa, being asked to be a trustee in 2023 was a proud moment, as was being asked to lead a two year outreach project in collaboration with Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation in 2024. This historic partnership will enable Nacoa to reach more children than ever before in schools.

the number of alcohol specific deaths in the UK has increased 32.8% since 2019, with 16.6 per 100,000 people now dying wholly due to alcohol, with alcohol a contributing factor in the loss of many other lives.

I was asked to take part in an ITV documentary in July 2020 - "Are You Drinking Too Much?", a 2022 C4 documentary "Vicky Pattison: My Dad, Alcohol & Me" and have also so far completed both the London Landmarks Half Marathon and a 45km walk through 10 of London's Royal Parks (August 2020). In April 2023 and 2024 I took part in the Big Nacoa Walks in the Peak District.;

I have also organised several fundraising events to raise both money and awareness.

My podcast with Dave Wilson "One for the road" (S7 E1) is available for download in all your podcast places alongside my own podcast, co-hosted with Sarah Drage, Nacoa ambassador, fellow COA and mental health advocate.

I'm not stopping. This page will chart all my various fundraising efforts going forwards.

Amy x

Nacoa (The National Association for Children of Alcoholics) is a Bristol based charity founded in 1990 to provide help and support for everyone affected by a parent’s drinking. They believe that every child has the right to a happy childhood and to live a creative and meaningful life but when drink is the family secret they are more likely to experience family violence, neglect and other problems in their own homes.

About the charity

1 in 5 children in the UK are affected by their parents' alcohol problems. They are often frightened and isolated, with no one to turn to for help. Nacoa responds by providing a free, confidential telephone, 1-2-1 chat and email helpline.

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