Jul 03 2009

The Promises of the Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) Support Group Video

Published by at 9:00 pm under Counseling & Psychotherapy

There are perhaps many millions of adults who grew up in a family where one or both parents drank alcohol abusively.

The picture to the left is reminiscent of what a child in the 1950’s may have looked like, sitting alone, facing a tv which may or may not even be on.

What is she thinking about? Her back is to the world and suggests she is alone, struggling with something her young mind can just not understand.

So it was with the children growing up in those traditional families of the 1950’s and 1960’s where drinking and smoking were a time honored vehicle for looking mature.  This is the era in which I grew up. Though as a therapist, I am aware and sensitive to the challenges of young people growing up in a world where alcohol and drugs became more commonplace.

Here is what the Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization writes as a problem statement:
“Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional households.

We had come to feel isolated, and uneasy with other people, especially authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process. All the same we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat.

We either became alcoholics ourselves, married them, or both. Failing that, we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment.

We lived life from the standpoint of victims. Having an over developed sense of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. We got guilt feelings when we trusted ourselves, giving in to others. We became reactors rather than actors, letting others take the initiative.

We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally. We keep choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.

These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made us ‘co-victims’, those who take on the characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink. We learned to keep our feelings down as children and keep them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we often confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue.

Even more self-defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable solutions.

This is a description, not an indictment.”Click here, to learn more.

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