I am the adult child of an alcoholic.

Posted On September 21, 2010

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“Adult Children of Alcoholics was originally written with only children of alcoholics in mind. Since its first publication, we have learned that the material discusses applies to other types of dysfunctional families as well. It appears that much of what is true for the children of alcoholics is also true for others and that this understanding can help reduce the isolation of countless persons who also thought they were “different” because of their life experience.

Janet G. Woititz

Adult Children of Alcoholics – The Expanded Edition

1. Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is.

2. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.

3. Adult children of alcoholics lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.

4. Adult children of alcoholics judge themselves without mercy.

5. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty having fun.

6. Adult children of alcoholics take themselves very seriously.

7. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships.

8. Adult children of alcoholics overreact to changes over which they have no control.

9. Adult children of alcoholics constantly seek approval and affirmation.

10. Adult children of alcoholics usually feel that they are different from other people.

11. Adult children of alcoholics are super responsible or super irresponsible.

12. Adult children of alcoholics are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

13. Adult children of alcoholics are impulsive. They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsively leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.

I fit 10 out of 13. Number 13 is the scariest. I read it and wept. I clean. I clean everyday. Not a tidy-the-house clean. But a scrub the floors, straighten the closets, wash the walls and windows clean. There are days where I can spend all day cleaning and never ever get around to spending real time with the kids….other than cleaning together.

I have always been much more responsible than others my own age and I have no idea what ‘normal’ people do. The fact that the very 1st one was that makes so much sense!

I try to be ‘super mom’ because I have no idea what a real family does. I’ve said this to Nick over the last 6 years of Grace’s life. I feel like I’m being fake. I don’t know how to be a mom, but this is what I think a mom should do.

I’m going to print this list out and hang where I can see it everyday. This is me. I am the adult child of an alcoholic. But I can be a better person. I will be a better person. I will NOT let these characteristics direct my life anymore.

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