Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Geringer WoititzIn the 1980s, Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. In this updated edition of her bestseller she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics. After decades of working with ACoAs she shares the recovery hints that she has found to work. Read Adult Children of Alcoholics to see where the journey began and for ideas on where to go from here.
Adult Children of Alcoholics: Healing Lifelong Scars
Children who grew up in an alcoholic home develop similar personality traits and characteristics. Janet Woititz published her national bestselling book, Adult Children of Alcoholics in In it she outlined 13 characteristics of adult children of alcoholics but also applied these same characteristics to those who grew up in households where other compulsive behaviours are present such as gambling, drug abuse or overeating. Adult children who experienced chronic illness, strict religious attitudes, foster care and other dysfunctions, also identified with the characteristics, Woititz says. Adult children of alcoholics maintain control over their behaviour and feelings.
If you grew up in an alcoholic home, you're probably familiar with the feeling of never knowing what to expect from one day to the next. When one or both parents struggle with addiction, the home environment is predictably unpredictable. Argument, inconsistency, unreliability, and chaos tend to run rampant. Children of alcoholics don't get many of their emotional needs met due to these challenges, often leading to skewed behaviors and difficulties in properly caring for themselves and their feelings later in life. If you were never given the attention and emotional support you needed during a key developmental time in your youth and instead were preoccupied with the dysfunctional behavior of a parent, it may certainly be hard or perhaps impossible to know how to get your needs met as an adult. Furthermore, if you lacked positive foundational relationships, it may be difficult to develop healthy, trusting interpersonal relationships later on. Children of alcoholics often have to deny their feelings of sadness, fear, and anger in order to survive.
We meet to share our experience of growing up in an environment where abuse, neglect and trauma infected us. This affects us today and influences how we deal with all aspects of our lives. ACA provides a safe, nonjudgmental environment that allows us to grieve our childhoods and conduct an honest inventory of ourselves and our family—so we may i identify and heal core trauma, ii experience freedom from shame and abandonment, and iii become our own loving parents. If you identify with any of these Traits, you may find a home in our Program. We welcome you.
Sis Wenger, CEO of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics wanted to specifically focus on moms for Counselor Magazine.
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Denial and Silence
The mental health trauma is so severe, says Psychology Today , that it is akin to what soldiers in combat suffer; there is chaos and inconsistency, even violence, in an alcoholic family. As many as 76 million Americans around 45 percent of the population have been exposed to some form of alcoholism or alcoholic behaviors in their family; and as many as That part of the population is more at risk for developing alcoholism, or some kind of other drug abuse than children in nonalcoholic families. They are also at a greater risk of marrying an alcoholic than children who grew up with no exposure to problem drinking by their parents. Stephanie Brown, the founder of the Alcohol Clinic at Stanford Medical Center and the director of a treatment clinic in the San Francisco Bay Area, told Psychology Today that since denial is such a strong part of alcoholism, this makes it difficult for children to emerge from the shadow of being part of an alcoholic family.