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Anyone know anything about Adult Children of Alcoholics? My counselor thinks I fit some of the behavior model. Reading some of it online, I'm tentatively agreeing with him. We'll see where this goes. At least I don't hate him already, which is more than I can say of the last counselor.


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Jun. 8th, 2003 06:41 am (UTC)
My mom is one (adult child of an alcoholic) as well, and she spent a difficult period trying to learn more about it. I'll ask her if there were any books that were particularly helpful.

Good luck in your efforts to learn more about this. I hope it goes well for you.

-- The Artist Formerly Known as mslinds007
Jun. 8th, 2003 07:53 am (UTC)
thanks, linds.
Jun. 9th, 2003 09:16 am (UTC)
I'm an adult child of an alcoholic. Even though Richard stopped drinking when I was 10.

What are the signs or behaviour patterns?
Jun. 9th, 2003 11:27 am (UTC)
from http://www.intrepidsoftware.com/rec/problem.html

The Problem, or The Laundry List
The problem: We seem to have several characteristics in common as a result of having been brought up in a dysfunctional family system.

We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.

We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.

We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.

We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our abandonment needs.

We live life from the viewpoint of victims and are attracted by that weakness in our love, friendships, and career relationships.

We have and overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our faults or our responsibility to ourselves.

We get guilt feeling when we stand up for ourselves and instead give in to others.

We become addicted to excitement.

We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and rescue.

We have stuffed our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much. This includes our good feelings such as joy and happiness. Our being out of touch with our feelings is one of our basic denials.

We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.

We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings. We received this from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.

Alcoholism is a family disease and we took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.

We became reactors rather than actors.

Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal is.

We have difficulty having fun.

We take ourselves too seriously.

We have difficulty with intimate relationships.

We constantly seek approval and affirmation.

We usually feel different from other people.

We are either super responsible or super irresponsible.

We are extremely loyal even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

We tend to lock ourselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behavior or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self-loathing, and loss of control over our environment. As a result, more energy is spent cleaning up the mess than would have been spent had the alternatives and consequences been examined in the first place.

We think we have more problems with sexuality than the general population.

We tend to look for immediate as opposed to deferred gratification.

We are overly sensitive.
Jun. 9th, 2003 11:28 am (UTC)
the rest because it wouldn't all fit!


Source: Tony A. authored the original Laundry List. It later was adopted as "The Problem" (c) 1984 by the ACA World Service Organization in Torrance California. The above is an expanded version, origin unknown.


If you grew up in an alcoholic or similarly disturbed household (a dysfunctional family system characterized by the fear, anger, pain and/or shame of addiction to chemicals, work, relationships, sex, food, gambling or abuse) and you identify with any of these issues as an adult, there are now effective opportunities for change.

Children learn what they are taught. Children of dysfunctional homes enter adulthood coping with life in the same ways that proved valuable to them as children. They take their childhood roles, survival strategies and rules with them into adulthood. Later, they discover that what worked in a dysfunctional childhood home does not serve them well in adult life.

But there is a curious thing about human beings. We tend to do the same things over and over again even when our behavior no longer pays off. The roles and rules of childhood, that once brought a semblance of safety and sanity, now bring little of either. As with the dysfunctions of the parents, the roles and rules of childhood progress and can encase the adult in rigid, stereotypical behaviors.

"Our parents are the victims of their parents' ignorance. We are the victims of our parents' ignorance. Unless we learn to think differently, our children will be the victims of our ignorance." - David Seabury

Jun. 9th, 2003 11:38 am (UTC)
Oh my god.

That's me.
Jun. 9th, 2003 11:45 am (UTC)
How do I get past all this?
Jun. 9th, 2003 11:53 am (UTC)
they offer 12 step meetings all over the place. Go to the main website http://www.adultchildren.org and see if any of the literature is decent. You could also try the counselor approach.
Jun. 9th, 2003 11:26 am (UTC)
I've been through several programs that are similar to ACA. It's designed on most 12-step programs, and is supposed to help eliminate enabling behaviors that generally come from being the child of alcoholic. If you ever want to talk, just let me know.

Jun. 9th, 2003 11:42 am (UTC)
thanks. I feel like I wasn't affected by my father's alcoholism, but then I see myself on this list and I don't know what to think. I'll let you know what shapes up. That's what I love about this community; no matter what we go through, there's someone here to lend an ear and a hand.
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