When  my wife and I found ourselves raising our grandchildren as  a result of their parents’ addiction, we realized we could not return their lost childhood to them. We could not protect them from the chaos, trauma and tragedy they had faced. We could not erase the stress, fear and pain they experienced.

Still, we were committed to giving them what they needed to heal and thrive.

As we looked for ways to help them, we learned  our grandchildren are among the one-in-four children in the U.S. experiencing alcohol abuse or drug addiction in their family.  The combination of genetics and the traumatic experience of growing up with an addict in the home mean these kids are eight times more likely to develop  an addiction to alcohol and/or drugs. We learned that addiction in our state is at a critical level, and it is being passed on through families to future generations.

We realized no one is immune from addiction. Like any other chronic disorder, addiction does not discriminate by age, education level, income, ethnicity, background, gender, religion, or any other factor. And no one is naturally equipped to cope with the addiction of a loved one.

We searched for local resources to help our family heal – to find healthy ways to cope with the heartache caused by substance abuse. We found programs for addiction treatment and recovery. But, we could not find a proven, evidence-based program addressing the heavy burden that substance abuse lays on the children of those in treatment, still addicted or in recovery. Children are too often the lost victims of addiction. So, we brought a program to Oklahoma that serves the children of addicts.

Peaceful Family Solutions (PFS) was created to help children heal and break the cycle of addiction through therapeutic play, artwork, recreation, and games. Under the guidance of trained professionals, children learn:
  • that their parent’s substance abuse is not their fault
  • how to safely explore and share their feelings
  • how to begin healing from their pain
  • how to stay safe in hard times
  • to develop a self-care plan

Our peer-to-peer curriculum was developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services and is offered in Dallas, Los Angeles and Denver. PFS is the only organization in Oklahoma that offers these targeted, proven services for children of addicts.

Today, our grandchildren— who are 2-time graduates of the program— are reunited with their father. Our almost-teenage granddaughter serves proudly as a spokesperson for our organization. They are our pride and joy. They are the reason we offer this program completely FREE of charge and eagerly welcome children into our program and supporters to our cause.

—Mike Barcum, Founder