Blameless and Forever Free Ministries and Chaplain Tammy understands that one in every four children lives in a family with parental alcoholism, causing adverse childhood experiences, leading to incarceration.

Children’s Mental Health Week ~ Tracing Your Family’s Cycle Of Alcohol Misuse Can Help Break The Generational Familial Cycle

Tracing Your Family’s Cycle Of Alcohol Misuse Can Help Break The Generational Familial Cycle

As we are writing our new programming for our residents at Folsom State Prison, one thing has become extremely heavy on my heart:  We have to stop hiding and denying our generational strongholds. 

Don’t we all want safer communities, unity and peace? 

I sure do!

Why are we so ashamed to dig in and start shifting the paradigm by talking about our struggles that led us into this mass incarceration fiasco through honest, open and transparent conversations?

Building healthy communities requires open communication, not hiding behind our facades/screens/pretentiousness.

My own personal tragedy opened my eyes to a need and cause worthy of all cost and exposure!  After all, there is no shame in our game; Jesus is His Name!

Having those shackles removed is liberating!

The longer we hide behind our Sunday facades of Christianity or pride, denying there’s a problem from the shame, judgment and fear, more lives will be lost.  We will never have peace and/or healing and each generation will become more volatile and violent. 

Our prisons are already filled with over 2.2 million broken beloveds. That’s not counting their families and those precious littles who’ll fall into hurting children grow into hurting adults, so it’s urgent we start transforming our prisons into healing centers.

This is why Blameless and Forever Free Ministries is dedicated to delivering ACE-aware curriculum that breaks the cycle of intergenerational and systemic trauma and crime merging both the good news of the gospel along with the proven neuroscience in collaboration with the ACEs Aware initiative.

Restoring broken lives through God’s Great Love infused with restorative justice practices in order to decrease criminal recidivism requires focusing on the effects of early life experiences and environmental change, and that includes the family and all of its dysfunction.

Show me “One Family”

that doesn’t have dysfunction!!!

We’re not doing anyone good by denying it; the struggle is real!

At Blameless we aim for Folsom State Prison to be an iconic symbol of healing and wholeness where all parties (staff, residents AND loved ones) transform culture through trauma-informed practices and resiliency.

Incorporating the families into the curriculum during this extensive isolation period is necessary in dealing with unresolved trauma, which includes addictive behaviors, an inability to deal with conflict, anxiety, confusion, depression or that innate belief that we have no value.

No Value?

Basic human need is belonging; knowing “I MATTER!”

Individuals who have the capacity for intimacy and connection believe that they belong and are connected to others are opportunities that usher in healing. We have to reestablish this safety zone.

This closeness should come through the family, right? We need our loved ones involved now more than ever as we campaign for 3,000 tablets for programming for each resident at FSP!

This is the story of our amazing Lord who meets us in our pain and is using every heartache for something bigger than we could ever ask for or imagine.

Jesus didn’t suffer so we would stay broken, He came to redeem lives and bring healing.

One thing we know about people who are traumatized, is that a supportive family and a sense of community lessens the impact of the trauma.  We need to become healing organizations and start valuing all of mankind.

Every life has value!

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries Forgiveness Practice

I decided to start this awareness campaign on Sunday since it’s generally celebrated as the Sabbath and admit, if I didn’t have an allergic reaction and sensitivity to alcohol, I’d be the first person to uncork a bottle of my favorite Jesus Juice any time. 

I’m not here to judge. I’m here to bring awareness to one trauma that fills up our state prisons along with watching a few of my own friends leaning into increased drinking due to the loneliness they’re feeling being socially distanced.

It took an allergic reaction a couple of years ago to help me understand the many underlining strongholds that are associated with addictive behaviors, like abuse and depression, that my own family lineage passed down.

Time to sever the dysfunction and that requires awareness and tools for identification!

Our prisons are filled with beloveds that have the highest ACE scores. With four or more ACEs, you’re seven times more likely to become incarcerated in your lifetime.


As Dr. Robert Anda, Co-Principal Investigator on the ACE-Study, writes, “Growing up with alcohol abusing parents is strongly related to the risk of experiencing other categories of ACEs.” 

In other words, a parent’s alcohol misuse causes drinking behaviors; drinking behaviors cause secondhand drinking – the negative impacts of a person’s drinking behaviors on others, such as:

  • verbal, physical, emotional abuse;
  • neglect;
  • unpredictable behaviors;
  • parents separate or divorce;
  • alcohol-related domestic violence;
  • alcohol-related crime that results in incarceration.

These drinking behaviors, in turn, cause ACEs to a child, such as:

  • physical, verbal, sexual abuse
  • physical, emotional neglect
  • living with a problem drinker or alcoholic
  • parents separated or divorced
  • incarcerated family member.
  • domestic violence against one’s mother.

We encourage you to use this wonderful template that’s been created to trace a Family’s ACEs Tree (click here to download) hoping it will help you in understanding the familial cycle of alcohol misuse in your own family.

Please understand, we’re not suggesting that just because one knows their Family ACEs Tree excuses or even minimizes or erases the impacts of their own traumas, nor does it stop the triggers one still experiences as a consequence of those ACEs. 

Rather, we pray that it will help with the healing process, by developing pacifying and reassuring techniques to counter those impacts, and in time, to forgive — to forgive oneself and those whom hurt them so deeply.

And that forgiveness can be as simple as letting go of the yearning for a different outcome by understanding that everyone was doing the best they could with the tools they had at the time and/or what they knew at the time — which was likely — well, another novel.

Until next time…