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Adult Children of Alcoholics Paperback – November 1, 1990
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
It is important to be clear what recovery means for adult children. Alcoholism is a disease. People recovering from alcoholism are recovering from a disease. The medical model is accepted by all responsible folks working in alcoholism treatment.
Being the child of an alcoholic is not a disease. It is a fact of your history. Because of the nature of this illness and the family response to it, certain things occur that influence your self-feelings, attitudes and behaviors in ways that cause you pain and concern. The object of AcoA recovery is to overcome those aspects of your history that cause you difficulty today and to learn a better way.
To the degree that none of us have ideal childhoods and to the degree that even an ideal childhood may be a cause for some concern, we are all recovering to some extent or other, in some way or other. Because there are so many alcoholic families and because we have been fortunate in being able to study them, it is possible to describe in general terms what happens to children who grow up in that environment.
To the degree that other families have similar dynamics, individuals who have grown up in other ôdysfunctionalö systems identify with and recover in very much the same way.
All folks in AcoA recovery need to learn the Al-Anon principle of detachment regardless of whether or not they are recovering from addiction or are living with an addict. Until you do this, you can go no further. Detachment is the key. Because of the inconsistent nature of the nurture a child receives in an alcohol family system and the childÆs hunger for nurture, many of you are still joined to your parents at the emotional hip. Even if you are no longer with them, you continue to seep their approval and are strongly influenced by their attitudes and behaviors. You will need to learn to separate yourself from them in a way that will not add to your stress. This is one of the primary goals of the Al-Anon program.
àWhat you learn about yourself as you are growing up because a part of who you are and how you feel about yourself. No one can change that but you. Your parents, even if they recover and treat you differently, cannot fix what makes you feel bad about yourself. You may start a new and healthy relationship with them in the present but no amount of amends on their part will fix the past. That is why dwelling on their part in your ongoing pain will not get you through it or past it. Your present difficulties are your problem. To put the focus outside yourself is to delay your recovery.
Emotions that have been held down for years and years will come to surface. That is why it is suggested that if you are recovering from an addiction, you need to focus on that first so that you will not be tempted to relieve those feelings in destructive ways. You will go through a number of powerful emotions in your recovery. It is part of the process.
Not everyone goes through the stages of the process in the same sequence, and many of you may block some of those feelings. There is no ôrightö way. I just tell you about the process because those feelings may surface without your conscious direction and frighten you. And they will resurface many times with each new discovery. The recovery process is different for different folks. Only you can determine the way that will work best for you.
Your immediate response to reading this book may be:
¬1983, 1990 by Janet Woititz. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a simple book, it avoids jargon and academic theories and as a result is clear to read and therefore easy to understand. The book will mean different things to different people, depending on experience and perspective. Therefore, Woititz herself suggests the book may be useful in a number of ways:
To gain greater knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a child harmfully effected by a parent's use of alcohol.
As a self-help guide, for use in an individual's move towards development and growth.
As a basis for discussion groups for adult children of alcoholics.
The book is broken down into four linked chapters: What happened to you as a child, What is happening to you now, Breaking the cycle and What about your children. Each chapter is short yet to the point (indeed the book is only 106 pages long) and gives the reader an insight into the there and thens, the here and nows and possibilities of the future.
I grew up in a family where one of my parents used alcohol in a way that was destructive not only to her but to her children. As a child I had no idea of what to expect in my family - the only constant that I knew was that on a regular basis my mum would be drunk when I came home from school.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Heard it on audible 4 times, got one more time to go to get it all digested. I learned some things about myself and it was recommended by someone qualified to know it could help... Read morePublished 4 days ago by William Wheeler
This book is easy to read and very helpful to any adult child of an alcoholic. I highly recommend it.Published 27 days ago by Retired girl
Oldie but goodie. Detailed behaviors of those raised in a home with alcoholic(s). Education and awareness is worth everything!Published 27 days ago by cbplow
a great foundatiional book for those working with ADOA's as well as COAs themselves...a true classicPublished 2 months ago by Emily Bennett
An excellent book which is a must reading for the professional treating this population.Published 2 months ago by wilfred j villafane
This book is both fascinating and painful to read at the same time. I found that after decades of denial, that I actually had to be ready to be receptive to its information. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Silicon Valley Girl