Adult Children of Alcoholics

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Alcoholism or family dysfunction is a family disease.  Growing up under its influence, we took on the characteristics of the disease, whether we drank or not.  As we identify these characteristics and share our experience, strength, and hope, we discover that we are no longer alone.  Learning about and understanding the disease is the beginning of recovery.

What’s The Matter?

  1. We have become isolated and afraid of other people, especially authority figures.
  2. We are frightened by anger and any personal criticism.
  3. We judge ourselves harshly and have low self-esteem.
  4. We don’t act – we react.
  5. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment.  We will do anything to hold on to a relationship, in order to avoid feeling the pain from when our parents weren’t there for us emotionally.
  6. We became alcoholics, married them, or both;  Or we find another compulsive personality, such as a ‘workaholic’ or overeater, with whom we continue to play out our fear of abandonment.
  7. We have become addicted to excitement after years of living in the midst of a traumatic and often dangerous family ‘soap opera.’
  8. We live life from the viewpoint of victims, and are attracted to victims or rescuers in our love, friendship, and career relationships.
  9. We confuse love with pity, and tend to love people whom we can pity and rescue.
  10. We felt or continue to feel responsible for our unstable families:  Now we feel ineligible to live independently.
  11. We get guilt feelings if we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  12. We have become approval-seekers and have lost our identities in the process.
  13. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility towards others, but we rarely consider our responsibility to ourselves.
  14. We had to deny our feelings in our traumatic childhoods:  We thus became estranged from all our feelings, and lost our ability to recognize and express them.
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