Adult Children of Alcoholics: Expanded Edition

Adult Children of Alcoholics: Expanded Edition

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by Janet G. Woititz
     
 

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In the 1980's, Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. In this updated edition of her bestseller she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics.

Overview

In the 1980's, Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. In this updated edition of her bestseller she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780757393419
Publisher:
Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date:
01/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
135
Sales rank:
61,939
File size:
2 MB

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Read an Excerpt

from Chapter 5
Recovery Hints

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.

Recovery Hints for Adult Children

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:

  • Relief. The realizations that you are not alone and that you are not crazy will be freeing. It may be a life-changing event.
  • Pain. The awareness of the amount of your suffering and your powerlessness may overwhelm you along with the knowledge that you have been living a lie. It will be similar to the extraordinary pain you experienced as a child before you learned how to numb out.
  • Anger. It is not unusual for all the anger that youÆve been sitting on for all these years to surface and you may become fearful of your own rage.
  • Grief. The losses that you have experienced have to be grieved for, and you may feel this level of pain as well. You may believe that if you begin to cry you will never stop.
  • Joy. Going through the process eventually will allow you to experience a freedom that you have never felt before. When you are an adult you can be the child you were unable to be when you were a child.


    ¬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.

  • Meet the Author

    Janet Woititz was the author of Adult Children of Alcoholics, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year. She wrote several other books, including Lifeskills for Adult Children; The Self-Sabotage Syndrome; The Struggle for Intimacy; Marriage on the Rocks; Healing Your Sexual Self and many others. Woititz was the director and founder of the Institute for Counseling and Training in West Caldwell, New Jersey.

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    Adult Children of Alcoholics 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    After reading this book I felt like 'where have you been all my life?' It has given me the one thing I haven't had in years...hope. I have felt different and defective my whole life. Reading this book made me understand that I am normal just wired differently than other people. WHAT A RELIEF! Know that you are not alone and we can recover.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    When I used to look back on my childhood, there seemed to be a lot of things that didn't make sense. Confusion reigned, I knew the events had to impact me, but I couldn't see very clearly exactly how. After reading this book, I can look back and see a clear path from then to the person I am today. It was the most enlightening book I've read out of several. One important note: your parent(s) don't have to be an alcoholic for decades to impact you--just having a heavy period of alcoholism can have the same effect on you. Also, alcoholism doesn't even need be present at all--a mentally ill parent creates the same confusing, illogical, inflamatory household as an alcoholic parent can. This book helps you to know who you are, and why you are who you are.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was not a subject that had ever even entered into my brain for me, this subject was recommend for me, and this was the first book that I found on the subject. I thought it was very informative with great every day examples that made all of her points valid. I couldn't put it down once I started reading. I believe that if I read it multiple times I'd get new insight each time. I have let several people borrow it and each of them has given me positive feedback. I would greatly recommend this book, it is easy and clear, while being very informative.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is a fantastic book for those who have been through a tough time in their past. This book has described some sense what as a child have been through, everyone is different but all have a common thing!
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    What your parents did in the past is over and done with. You cannot go back and change the past, but you can learn why this happened to you and grow out of it. See Louise Hay's books to help you along the way of self discovery and growth. Be the person you want to be and learn how. Change your thoughts, thats all it takes!