Family Secret: Adult Children of Alcoholics Tell Their Stories

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"Don't trust, don't talk, don't feel" has long been the credo of children of alcoholics. Now, The Family Secret brings together the stories of adult children of alcoholics, as they write about their childhood experiences. The selections demonstrate that alcoholism is a disease without prejudice or conscience. It strikes well-to-do families like Mariette Hartley's, who describes her father's descent into alcoholism as beginning on the 5:31 commuter train to Greenwich. And it affects struggling families like Louie Anderson's. He writes, "To me,
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NY 1994 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Audience: General/trade. Gift Quality. Brand ... New. Fast Arrival. Read more Show Less

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1994 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Fantastic Price. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Audience: General/trade. Gift ... Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Fantastic Price. Read more Show Less

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Overview

"Don't trust, don't talk, don't feel" has long been the credo of children of alcoholics. Now, The Family Secret brings together the stories of adult children of alcoholics, as they write about their childhood experiences. The selections demonstrate that alcoholism is a disease without prejudice or conscience. It strikes well-to-do families like Mariette Hartley's, who describes her father's descent into alcoholism as beginning on the 5:31 commuter train to Greenwich. And it affects struggling families like Louie Anderson's. He writes, "To me, 'wait till your father gets home' has always been the single most terrifying sentence anyone could utter." The Family Secret is divided into four sections, representing some of the broader truths about alcoholism and its effect on families. Part One, called "Keeping the Family Secret," provides shattering examples of how families hide the disease from others. Part Two, "Living in Fear," illustrates how alcoholism and domestic abuse often go hand in hand. Part Three, "Early Exit," is about the untimely deaths brought about by alcoholism and their often tragic consequences. And Part Four, "It Runs in the Family," shows how the children of alcoholics are at a much greater risk of becoming alcoholics themselves. Ultimately, The Family Secret shows the ability of the human spirit to triumph over adversity. Even when these adult children of alcoholics realized that they had indeed inherited their parents' disease, they were determined not to suffer the same illness they had seen destroy their parents' lives. As Migs Woodside writes in her foreword, "Perhaps most important of all, The Family Secret shows that children touched by family alcoholism can have a happier and brighter future after all."

Adult children of alcoholics tell their stories in this new anthology featuring a foreword by the president of the Children of Alcoholics Foundation. Celebrated personalities including Russell Baker, Drew Barrymore, and many others reveal the pain and sadness caused by alcoholism--and the hope found by those who confront their family history.

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Editorial Reviews

Ilene Cooper
A steadily growing number of children of alcoholics have been coming out of the closet recently, and plenty of them have written books about their experiences. This anthology collects excerpts from the autobiographical writings of 12 children of alcoholics, most of whom are either famous themselves or have famous parents. Many readers will be familiar with the books from which these selections come (Russell Baker's "Growing Up" and Joyce Maynard's "Parenting" are the most notable), but for those new to the subject, this volume offers a useful sampler. Not surprisingly, the most moving of the selections are those by professional writers Baker and Maynard, who treat their parents' alcoholism as one aspect of a complex family situation. The other authors--including Suzanne Sommers, Gary Crosby, and Drew Barrymore--tend merely to recite the numerous horrors visited on them as a result of Mom's or Dad's drinking. Still, as polemics designed to inspire other children of alcoholics to talk about their own secrets, these star testimonials are undeniably effective.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688120672
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 263

Table of Contents

Foreword 5
Introduction 13
from The New York Times 21
from Breaking the Silence 29
from Keeping Secrets 51
from Parenting 79
from Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult 89
from My Mother's Keeper 113
from Dancing with Daddy 133
from Growing Up 149
from The Courage to Change 157
from Little Girl Lost 171
from The Seattle Times 201
from Going My Own Way 229
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