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174 of 175 people found the following review helpful
Before I read this book, I couldn't understand why I seemed to have such a horrendous time coping with being in a relationship. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, on constant guard for trouble that wasn't even there. I was a nervous wreck.
This book helped me realize that the dysfunctional childhood I went through had taught me coping mechanisms that got me through childhood but were very ineffective now that I was an adult. Just realizing this was like suddenly seeing the forest for the trees, and was such a relief. No, you're not have just never learned how to stop being on guard.
If this sounds like you, read this book and find some relief. It will help you understand why you feel so torn when you know you have a good thing going, and help you learn new ways to cope before you wreck the best thing that ever happened to you. Good luck!
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100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2002
Woititz has written several books aimed at helping "Adult Children of Alcoholics" (ACA). I recommend all of them. This book is based on the problems ACAs (and others from troubled homes) have in beginning and maintaining close relationships. She gives practical advice rather than the usual "cuddle your inner problem child" blather that some books give. All of her books are based on 10-12 things that most ACAs have in common. These things are listed at the front of each book and I recommend that each reader start there. If this list strikes a chord with you, then get the book! Among the list are: ACAs wonder what normal is. ACAs lie when they could just as easily tell the truth (I didn't believe this of me until a friend pointed out a few). ACAs have a hard time changing their course even when it's obvious that they should (I'm paraphrasing this one). Check it out!
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2003
If you are an ACoA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), I recommed this book and all of the books by Janet Woititz. I've read many of them, they are easy reads and so informative. It is really helpful to learn about other's experiences and struggles, and to hear advice on how to help you now. My favorite part of this book is the chapter called "So, you love an ACoA..." and is good for your partner to read to help them understand things like why you might overreact to certain situations or have such a negative view of yourself. Don't be turned off by the old cover, mine looked like it was from 1960 or something, the book is not outdated by any means.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2001
I started reading this book not realizing it was about ACOA. I discovered that is my problem in relationships. My parents were alcoholics. In reading this book, I saw me growing up and now. It is such an inspiration to be able to put a label on these feelings and fears. It was like someone turned a light on in my soul. I feel like I have a starting point now in which to move forward. I really wish I would have read this before I got divorced. I think it could have saved a good marriage.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2003
I thought I knew about relationships and how to make one work and what it took to keep one going. I thought my past failures were a product of bad timing. I did not see why I went after the wrong people, prused bad situations and stayed when I should have left. This book opened my eyes and changed my perspective. It was brilliant.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 1999
This is an absolute wonderful book. It is must read for those who have come from any kind of dysfunctional home. If you find that you are successful in the world but you may find your personal life, your relationships in the pits, then take time to read this book. You would realise why is your life such a mess up. Happy reading
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 1999
This book helped save our marriage of ten years and a relationship spanning twenty. Thanks to this book and the the Lord it will be for a lifetime. We keep extra copies around just for those times when you know who is suffering and in need of understanding.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2001
If you are an ACOA or need to understand one, you have got to read this one. At first I thought it would somewhat different, but it deals with basic information I needed to become aware anyway. I am reading all books related to ACOAs and dysfunctional families and this one is among the best. It presents a lot of common myths ACOAs have and aren't aware there are other possibilities. For example: "If I am not in control at all times, there will be anarchy". Then the myth is discussed in a few pages. Quite shocking for someone who sees life in an inflexible way. I would strongly suggest "The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families" ...
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2007
If you have ever felt abandoned, this book is for you. If you had a parent who was unavailable when you were younger (work, alcohol, drugs, divorce) this book is for you. If you are constantly struggling through relationship, after relationship, after relationship, this book is for you!

I can't say enough about it and how much it has helped me. I thought I was "over it" as my father had quit drinking and we have a wonderful relationship now; however, this book covers how you were brought up. Sure, I had a loving home and didn't not "want" for anything - but little did I know what the daily grind made me into. This is a MUST read!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2012
This little book is loaded with potential lifesavers. Truly. Getting out of an unhealthy relationship can be like saving one's life; equally transforming can be choosing to stay and smartly navigate a relationship that's worth longevity. I've owned the book for years, reading parts here and there over time. (Tip: read with a highlighter in hand!) Something in this book always resonates. There are times a single line or chapter is all I need to answer a very tough relationship question.

Here are a few of invaluable one-liners:

"You are grateful when the inconsistent person throws you a crumb, but get bored quickly with the one who is available all the time." And, "...when you are treated in a lousy way, you analyze the situation and don't allow yourself to experience any angry feelings." More? Sure: " learn how not to want so that you don't get disappointed." Another, "The fear [of loss of self] is present because you never clearly established your sense of self while you were growing into adulthood." One more: "Your fear of asking for something and then not getting it is as unsettling as your fear of asking for something and getting it!"

And those are from just the first two chapters!

A big positive aspect of this book is that the author had the wisdom to speak directly to us readers, as "you." Too often these kinds of self-help books discuss, "the adult child of alcoholics," as if we are some kind of distant specimen. Not so with this woman who truly understood her clients, and herself.

The book is for those who are in a relationship with someone from an alcoholic family system, but mostly for adult children of dysfunctional/alcoholic families--it speaks directly to us in a way only the late, dear Janet Woititz knows how. (This book is just one of the books she wrote about, and for, children of alcoholics.) Chapters are built around Myths and Fears, such as: Fear Number 1: "I am afraid that I will hurt you." Fear Number 2: "The person you see does not exist." And one of the many myths is, "If I am involved with you, I will lose me."

There are just six chapters (there's nothing "lite" about them, again it's a dense, rich book at just 132 pages):

Chapter One - Who Do You Pick for Your Lover?
Chapter Two - What Is A Healthy Relationship Anyway?
Chapter Three - Relationship Issues Shared by Adult Children of Alcoholics
Fear of Loss of Self
Fear of Being Found Out
Fear of Abandonment
Guilt and Shame
Chapter Four - Issues of Sexuality
Chapter Five - So You Love a COA
Chapter Six - Getting it All Together

If I had to criticize something about the book, I can only say that it lacks an index, which is the publisher's oversight not the author's. I also sure with it were a longer book, but am blown away by how much valuable content comes in this short book (maybe the author realized that commitment issues would be in play for any purchaser of this book and a long one would be off-putting!)

The author realizes that people who need this book didn't get to witness healthy relationships, and don't really know what they are. This is just one compass she offers:

"You know you are in a healthy, intimate relationship when you have created an environment where:

1. I can be me
2. You can be you.
3. We can be us.
4. I can grow.
5. You can grow.
6. We can grow together."

Just beautiful. Simple to achieve? Not at all. True? Indeed.

I own this book and can't imagine a time I won't refer to it for tune-ups and preventative relationship care. The book doesn't promise to heal us, but it's absolutely a compass for decision-making at times of tough decision-making or anticipation of engulfment.
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Adult Children of Alcoholics
Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet G. Woititz (Paperback - November 1, 1990)

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Perfect Daughters: Adult Daughters of Alcoholics by Robert J. Ackerman (Paperback - July 1, 2002)

The Intimacy Struggle: Revised and Expanded for All Adults
The Intimacy Struggle: Revised and Expanded for All Adults by Janet Geringer Woititz (Paperback - October 1, 1993)

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