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Thread: Adult children of alcoholic parents

  1. #1
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    Adult children of alcoholic parents

    My title says it all really. For anyone that has ever wondered why I am a tad loopy, part of the explanation lies in my title. Only part of the complicated jigsaw, but a big part.

    I bought a really interesting book recommended on another forum about depression.(called 'Adult children of Alcoholics' by janet Geringer Woititz) It looks at how children of alcoholic parents grow into adults and where our ideas of ‘normal’ become distorted.

    I for my part had two wonderful parents, who happened to drink too much, too often. My anxiety goes way back to my earliest memories of childhood and now with the help of counselling, time and self help in the way of books I am finding a way (hopefully) out of the guilt, secrecy, lies, lack of self esteem, and maybe even anxiety/depression.

    I just wanted to post this as I think so many people have had their lives affected so much by being children of one or two alcoholic parents.

    Everyone seems to know the stereotypical view of someone standing up at an alcoholics anonymous meeting and saying ‘My name is ******, and I am an alcoholic’ as that is part of the recovery, to admit where they are at.
    Well, I think for some of the children left behind with the shame and guilt and countless other negative emotions, that probably the majority of parents did not mean them to have, need to feel free to admit something similar. It is not the childrens fault, it is mostly no-ones fault, it just is.

    I am not going to do the whole stand up thing here (although, I kinda have eh? ) but I want to recommend the book for people to read (if they so wish obviously) and to say that I think the legacy of being children of alcoholic parents, can leave on people is underestimated and little known.

    I am not looking for anything here. I think I just wanted to share what I think might be partly a conclusion and pathway for my recovery. I don't know, I can but hope.
    (Tomorrow I may feel disloyal for writing this, but that is the guilt that I have been brought up with, today I break chains!)

    Happyone
    xx
    Last edited by happyone; 31-03-07 at 22:25.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Adult children of alcoholic parents

    Happy one

    Al-Anon is for everyone, have you tried them?

    My kids faced the same as you every day, cept I was the dry one. feel guilty that I didnt protect them!


  3. #3
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    Re: Adult children of alcoholic parents

    Hi bearcrazy,

    I feel incredibly guilty posting that now. I didn't think about adults with kids. I by no means meant to sound judgemental on anyone, my parents were, my mother is wonderful.
    I have only ever phoned al anon once but never had the guts to contact them again. It is only recently that I am getting over the guilt about sharing this 'secret' and i am 35!
    I am sorry if I made you feel bad. I am sure you did wonderful by your kids and it couldn't have been easy for you being the dry one.
    As I said, it is not about fault, it just 'is'
    happyone
    xx
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    Re: Adult children of alcoholic parents

    hi... this is something i think has contributed to my anxiety an awful lot during the last few years. i know it sounds awful and i wanna cry just typing this out but i moved back in with my mum when all my anxiety started and watched her make some terrible decisions. like all of us she is just going through life learning the lessons she has been sent to learn, she is truely a wonderful compassionate person but sometimes she makes really selfish decisions and some awful choices. after the death of my younger brother and sisters dad she turned to alcohol quite heavily and when i used to try and talk to her about it i used to get responses like "what the f**k has it got to do with you anyway?" or just a plain "f**k off"... this hurt because all my life i've had a really close relationship with my mum and suddenly i felt like i didn't know her anymore, i have so so so much anger locked up inside because of the things that have been said and done but i do understand she was going through a hard time and was just trying to cope the best she could BUT i also felt like i was her parent so much of the time when all i wanted was a cuddle and for her to be my mum, tell me she loved me and everything was gonna be ok.. i sound like a spoilt little brat saying that but it is so so hard being the parent of your parents... i just feel so hurt and angry when i think of the things that've happened, anyway in the great scheme of things it ain't that bad i suppose... life's too short to only learn by your own mistakes so you have to learn by others to, because of this experiance i know when i have kids i'll ALWAYS make an effort to LISTEN, and for that lesson she's taught me i can only be grateful


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  5. #5
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    Re: Adult children of alcoholic parents

    Honeybee,
    I can relate so much to a lot of what you are saying. The book I spoke about, goes over a lot of these feelings.
    I spent many a time worrying about my mum, in the way that she should have been worrying about me. the roles do get reversed.
    Alcoholism is an illness and I don't hold a great deal of bitterness because of this and I think you have to get to a point where you let go (I'm only just getting there, slowly)
    i sound like a spoilt little brat saying that
    You most certainly do not! That is where things become cloudy, because we love our parents and need them to love us, we feel guilt for having these negative emotions. It is hard to love someone and feel bitter towards them at the same time.
    Many a time, I have wanted love or comfort from my mum but she has been unable to give it and often instead I have been given rejection, scorn and ridicule. Only for all this to be aploogised for in sobriety. It doesn't take way the hurt of the words though. It helps to know they still love you, but once words are said it is hard for them to be unsaid.
    I realise I am not sounding overly coherent here. I am still putting together my disjointed thoughts. I just wanted to make the point, that it is not the shame of the children. It is not bad or wrong to say 'I am screwed up because of this' but to also make a path to move on.
    You sound like you have accepted a lot of it. I think being able to admit that you are an adult child of an alcoholic parent, whether it was your past or present, is a step towards recovery.
    Take care honeybee and I am always here if you need someone to sound off to.
    Happyone
    xx
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  6. #6
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    Re: Adult children of alcoholic parents

    Quote Originally Posted by happyone View Post
    Honeybee,
    I can relate so much to a lot of what you are saying. The book I spoke about, goes over a lot of these feelings.
    I spent many a time worrying about my mum, in the way that she should have been worrying about me. the roles do get reversed.
    Alcoholism is an illness and I don't hold a great deal of bitterness because of this and I think you have to get to a point where you let go (I'm only just getting there, slowly) You most certainly do not! That is where things become cloudy, because we love our parents and need them to love us, we feel guilt for having these negative emotions. It is hard to love someone and feel bitter towards them at the same time.
    Many a time, I have wanted love or comfort from my mum but she has been unable to give it and often instead I have been given rejection, scorn and ridicule. Only for all this to be aploogised for in sobriety. It doesn't take way the hurt of the words though. It helps to know they still love you, but once words are said it is hard for them to be unsaid.
    I realise I am not sounding overly coherent here. I am still putting together my disjointed thoughts. I just wanted to make the point, that it is not the shame of the children. It is not bad or wrong to say 'I am screwed up because of this' but to also make a path to move on.
    You sound like you have accepted a lot of it. I think being able to admit that you are an adult child of an alcoholic parent, whether it was your past or present, is a step towards recovery.
    Take care honeybee and I am always here if you need someone to sound off to.
    Happyone
    xx
    thank you, what a lovely post.. i have so many mixed emotions but i just feel so so so so so so much guilt for feeling negatively about my mum. if anyone were to say a bad word about her i'd do nothing but stand up for her 100% but there sometimes i feel so ashamed she's my mum (god, that is so bad isn't it? i cant believe im saying this...) oh anyway i'm gonna look up that book. is it called 'adult children of alcoholic parents?

  7. #7
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    Re: Adult children of alcoholic parents

    i forgot to say that i completely understand where you're coming from with all the bits you said and i highlighted

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    Re: Adult children of alcoholic parents

    Hi Happyone,

    I can't add anything here as I have no experience of this subject but I'm proud of you for facing up to these things and for writing that

    Lisa x
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    Re: Adult children of alcoholic parents

    Hi honeybee
    thank you for your reply.
    the book is actually called 'adult children of alcoholics' by janet geringer woititz
    I think that guilt and anxiety are closely linked. In my case definately. We did not ask to have this guilt and if our parents had been able to make other choices, let us hope that they would have.
    Thank you for undersatnding. Until I read this book, I found it hard to believe anyone could feel the same as me. Not just the book, my counselling has helped immensely.
    I meant what I said about if you ever need a place to sound off without judgement. I don't think you are bad for the things you say. I love my mother dearly and woe betide anyone who said a word against her to me. that is the conundrum we live with hun.
    happyone
    xx
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  10. #10
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    Re: Adult children of alcoholic parents

    Thanks lisa hun

    I will probably waken tomorrow and think OMG! But, you have been with me on this roller coaster ride hun, you and others. I am trying to shake off a guilt that I shouldn't have and I am going to pursue this through my counselling or through AL anon.
    Happyone
    xx
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    I've been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.
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