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Adult Children of Alcoholics - ACOA's Journal

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Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019
7:42 pm - Answer to my problems


Adult children of alcoholics simply don’t see themselves as deserving, because they’ve internalized what their mothers said and did as self criticism and have wrongly concluded that they’re lacking, worthless, or simply unlovable.

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Monday, January 15th, 2018
2:06 am - Just some inside thoughts

Hi everyone,

My live journal name is Ebahaki. I am a spanish 23 years old master student who is currently having her first experience living abroad. I am happy for having found a place like this, as I have always wanted to feel more understood and to open myself.

(I apologise in advance for any possible typing mistakes, as it has been long since I last wrote so much in english).

I am the " adult child of an alcoholic", but I do not define myself at all for that. Yes, my mum has always been an alcoholic, and  yes, I do have a quite messy past I guess (I do not feel like opening about that right now). However, I have managed to not feel like a total victim of it all the time, (believe me, it has been difficult). I had therapy for years, which literally changed my life.

Once I turned 18, something in me changed.  I changed school, and  I was no longer living with my alcoholic mother. (After years of fighting for it, my dad got our custody). Suddendly, I felt like my personality and my strength disappeared. I stopped being the excellent student I once used to be, lost all type of motivation for my studies or my self of personal fulfillment. I started growing all these insecurities, and lived by them, trying to make everyone like me. I cared to much for my physical appearance, and was scared of peoples judgments. The "funny part" is that not only did I change, but my 3 sisters and my dad also did accordingly. 

Read more...Collapse )

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Tuesday, July 18th, 2017
11:23 am - I'm new!
dupingdelight Hi All,

Am new and trying to figure out how this thing works. Am a child of functioning alcoholic lawyer who is now married to one of my friends (my age) and is just a terrible father.

LJ seems like a good place to blog because you can build a community around it - however most people seem to have not been active recently. Has everyone moved somewhere else?! LOL.



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Saturday, June 14th, 2014
10:40 pm - Participant Request
sidhu1234 Hello Everyone,

My name is Vip and as an ACOA myself I have chosen this topic for my thesis.
This thesis requires collecting information to examine the factors (which include level of stress, satisfaction with life, level of happiness, resilience level, and the level of depression and anxiety) associated with familial living through a positive psychology lens in hopes of determining the relationships between happiness and the adult child of an alcoholic’s familial situation in comparison to that of an individual being raised in a family with no alcohol abusing parent.

The link to access it is:

Please note that all information will be kept in strict confidence and you may freely withdraw at any time ( even after you have completed the study) without any repercussions. Please feel free to contact me with any questions and/or concerns at vks0028@my.londonmet.ac.uk. I would like to thank you in considering and hopefully completing this questionnaire.

Best Regards,

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Friday, August 23rd, 2013
8:29 am - new to this group - yup adult daughter of alcoholic

Originally posted by skier214 at new to this group - yup adult daughter of alcoholic
Hi there

I'm 50 years old and an adult daughter of an alcoholic. Thank you to my therapist, I finally understand why I've always thought I was different. I'm angry, sad, resentful and disgusted. I've been married and divorced twice and chose not to have children because I didn't feel I had the appropriate parental role models to be a good parent. Do I feel I've missed out on parenthood? Somedays yes especially now that I realize what I've been through.

I still want the approval of my parents.....so much that after my 2nd divorce I moved from my "home" in California to North Carolina to live closer to my parents. After much exploration, actually "I needed my Mom and Dad" (yup i see now that was the little girl inside hurting) during this time and somehow through distorted thinking convinced myself to relocate to North Carolina.

I moved to North Carolina 4/2010. initially things were going well....what i didn't know was my brother (who also lives in Charlotte) is now perpetuating the cycle of raging alcoholism and domestic violence....my Dad who had early stage dementia when i arrived had stopped drinking a few years ago and turned into a calm, somewhat nurturing Dad ....thank you Dementia!!! My Mom being the codependent is comfortable with my brother's behavior as that has always been her "normal".

Due to my brother's violent rages and my sister in laws passive aggressive behavior, I decided i'm unable to have my brother and sister in law in my life. Their behavior brings back too many bad childhood memories of my raging alcoholic father and my passive aggressive, emotionally unavailable Mom. Its the same dysfunction just different faces. The short story that motivated my decision was a demeaning comment my sister in law said to me in front of my brother, Dad and Mom.....which was one of many demeaning comments since my arrival 6 months earlier. When I told my sister in law that her comment hurt my feelings...she blew me off and nobody stood up for me to support me. It was this moment that I realized this is just a repeat of my childhood. My parents never stood up for me, supported me or protected me.

After my first divorce at age 27, I had the courage to seek therapy. As you know, in this type of messed up family we never talked about the crap......and only crazy people went to therapy...and what would people think if anybody knew we went to therapy....we are the perfect family !!!!!!!

I've been in and out of therapy for years and am proud of myself for having the courage to get help. I've learned healthy behaviors although continued to choose the wrong men for me over the years which led me to my 2nd divorce. As I didn't visit my family often while I lived in California, I didn't realize the extent of raging alcoholism with my brother until I moved to Charlotte. When someone gets healthy....the remaining unhealthy folks (my parents, sister in law and nephews) don't know how to relate to you....I have developed healthy boundaries which are not allowed in a raging alcoholic family.....

I'm rambling here...but I'm pissed off still after 3 years....I left my real family and life behind in California.....to live near my biological family as that inner child so needed her Mom....what a joke.....i'm pissed that I thought things would be different since my Dad had stopped drinking....I see now the sick desire to be accepted by my family was really driving my decision to move to Charlotte North Carolina. My heart is broke again......shattered actually that I've again been cast out like an unwanted piece of trash......a repeat of my childhood. I'm unable to financially move back to California and that has emotionally destroyed me....

I've learned recently that my crazy sister in law has been trashing me at the nail salon I go to...i didn't know she recently started going there and thankful I haven't seen her there....however after 3 years you continue to feel it is necessary to trash me to others in the community? the nail salon owners asked me if "x" was my sister in law...my response "yes" ....the nail salon owner went on to tell me what was said about me....not sure if i really needed to know that but i do now and it destroyed me for a few days....not that she doesn't like me ....the feeling is mutual but why be so juvenile....she is 51 years old.....I work for a large company here in Human Resources - the thought of her trashing me to others that may know me professionally really pisses me off.......i know they will consider the source but still.....i defriended you on facebook immediately after I decided not to have her in my life....didnt defriend her fast enough though as she had posted some nasty stuff about me.....all untrue but of course still destroyed me that someone could be that mean spirited...

It has been a rough journey for me however am emotionally unable to have such behavior in my life. I became a Christian 15+ years ago. According to my messed up brother "until you give up your religious psychobabble and obey me only" you don't fit in our family. Yeah....messed up....I dont' evangelize although the first thing I did when I arrived in Charlotte was to find a church home. Being independent (a survivor skill), I became involved in church, volunteered for non profits and built a life. This was met with angry outbursts from my brother and sister in law that "who do you think you are....we have lived here for over 30 years and you know more people than we do and you just moved here".....yeah.......I have learned to be self reliant as a child and get out and make a life for yourself.....vs being a victim.....this pissed off my family because "i didn't need them" although they all were very clear with me NOT to expect any help from them as "they have a life and are busy"....no problem i thought....wasn't expecting help....I'm resourceful and able to handle most stuff myself.

So.....this is my story.........

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Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
12:36 pm - feeling like i betrayed the a ?

i had to make the decision of letting other family members know about my a's disease and how it's been pretty bad in recent months. my other family members love get togethers and i'll be visiting from a long distance with a baby and the last thing i want is for my a to show up and make a scene. he's consistently drunk on weekends now.

i never knew i would feel so guilty after letting them know. i've been assured they will keep the knowledge secret but my mind's been going to "what if" thinking .. "what if" they tell my a what they know. they've assured me they know better than to confront him but this whole thing is still weighing heavily on my mind.

anyone ever get into this situation before where they had to warn others about their a... ? 

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Sunday, May 12th, 2013
9:29 am - ACA sponsorship workshop, June 1 in San Francisco

The "Beyond mere survival meeting" in San Francisco is putting on a workshop about sponsorship on June 1. Everybody who is interested in being a sponsor or sponsee is welcome.

Download the flyer
Read more on this continuously updated LJ post

Feel free to spread the message!

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Friday, January 25th, 2013
10:08 pm - In a thoughtful mood tonight

Apologies if this is rambly and makes no sense.

I have always had an uneasy relationship with my father, I remember being frightened of him from an early age but also admiring and loving him a great deal.

He was always a heavy drinker, a bottle of vodka a night and lots of prescription drugs, Valium, Librium, Temezapam and Mogodon (this was in the 70's and 80's when doctors in the UK handed these drugs out like sweets) when the doctor stopped giving him prescriptions he switched to recreational drugs, vast amounts of dope, and I mean VAST amounts.

The rot really set in when he tried to punch me when I was pregnant with my son, I was working for him in the nightclub he owned and he took exception to something I said, I don't remember what it was. I never felt the same way about him after that.

His moods were very cyclical; intense paranoia (which could last for a week) terrifying rages, normality, over the top bouts of happiness and then the slide back into paranoia and so it continued. Looking back I'm fairly sure he was suffering from some sort of mental illness or it could have been the drink and the drugs who knows? He was truly terrifying and if I could have become invisible I would have done.

Eventually I decided to cut all contact with him and he moved overseas with his wife and my half brother. He passed away in April of last year and I found out from my step mother that he had declared his intention of drinking himself to death some 18 months ago and had duly done so - my step mother said he was drinking two litres of vodka a day towards the end and was on oxygen for emphaseema.

I was very shocked at how truly devastated I was even though we hadn't had any contact for over ten years, I did get to say goodbye, privately, the funeral was overseas and was done and dusted by the time I found out about it.

I miss him but I don't regret breaking off contact with him when I did.

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Thursday, January 10th, 2013
9:41 am - My Wee Inspirational Mini-Poster (Made by an ACoA for ACoAs)

Originally posted by amy_eden at My Wee Inspirational Mini-Poster (Made by an ACoA for ACoAs)
I made a mini-poster that I hope is a fun, pretty, handy, and an inspirational tool for all. Yay!

Hoping to feel like ME in 2013!

(The backstory to this poster is that I've been home sick with Type A Influenza for a few days--like, slammed to the ground with it--and, like a true adult child from a demanding, rigid, don't-be-idle, nothing's-good-enough childhood, I haven't just rested every moment. But, I made something! I nourished my creative side! And it's actually a gift for everyone.)

Er, not that I have to explain myself....to anyone... :-) 


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Saturday, August 25th, 2012
11:55 am - ACA Big Book now on Kindle and Nook eReaders

This is a game changer. Since the fellowship text was published on paper in 2006 our fellowship has nearly doubled. eReader availability will bring even more healing and recovery to adult children worldwide.

If you buy the Big eBook, please let us know what you think of it here and by leaving reviews on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble sites. Please also spread the message to other adult children. 

ACA Big eBook
Kindle format: $9.99
Nook format: $9.99 

Kindle and Nook devices and free appsCollapse )

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Saturday, June 16th, 2012
10:55 am - Self-Acceptance, Self-Forgiveness, Self-Love

“Forgiving ourselves is foreign to most of us because self-forgiveness is nurturing and affirming. In most of our homes, we never heard of such talk. We must seriously consider the concept of self-forgiveness and practice it if we are to make progress in ACA. Without self-forgiveness, we tend to avoid embracing our successes in life, and we feel unworthy of loving relationships. In ACA, we learn to forgive ourselves by degrees until we become comfortable with this spiritual concept.”   Page 234 in the ACA Big Book

Seed questions and quotations about self-acceptance

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Saturday, June 2nd, 2012
12:58 pm - Breaking Down Walls

All my life for as long as I can remember I have been shy and withdrawn.  I just accepted that as my personality.  Well long story short I am the child of a now and then alcoholic father.  I grew up in a household where my dad had drunken rages, got missing a few days at a time, and there were nights where he kept my sister and I up to the wee hours in the morning just talking non sense.  I also wasn't very popular among my peers so I was also picked on in school.  Any case I found refuge alone and I stayed in my room alot.  I was an excellent student.  I learned to cope with my life that way but now its ruining my life.  I can't keep a relationship. People tell me I have an emotional wall up.  I don't know how to break that wall down.  Trusting someone is really hard to do.  I feel like if I leave myself open it will open up a world of pain that I can't control.  Losing control is a huge fear.  I have to maintain order and stability in all situations or it drives me crazy. 

In public places where there is a lot of people that I am not familiar with, I have anxiety attacks.  My breathing gets labored, I get hot and sweaty and my mind starts racing.  I have come to the point where I limit the public places I go to.  I avoid going to social event with other people, I have avoided Wal-Mart and even the movies just because those attacks. 

One of my greatest fears is that I really start isolating myself and it affect my life more than it already has.  Has anyone experienced this and do you have any tips on how to overcome it outside of therapy?  I am currently seeking that now but I want to move on with my life and this is just hindering me from doing so.

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Thursday, May 10th, 2012
6:40 pm - Transformation.

There is a fear revolving around the idea that children will inescapably morph into their parents. We invest so much energy in trying to avoid mimicking our mother's scrutiny and our father's bodily functions, praying that we opt out of the parenting experience that we had when we were kids. But for children of alcoholics, the fear is far more specific and deep-rooted.

just to be safe - cut for lengthCollapse )

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Saturday, April 28th, 2012
10:57 am - Boundaries: Inspiration and practical guidance

For inspiration, here are seed questions to get you thinking about the ninth promise "Healthy boundaries and limits will become easier for us to set." Here are all seed question entries.

For strategies you can use in your day-to-day life, I wrote about the 3-Part Deflecting & Redirecting Answer to uncomfortable questions.

Please share your experience, strength and hope here or on the acacosponsor  LJ.

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Monday, February 13th, 2012
12:58 pm - Taking it on the road - the Adult Child workshop is happening!

Hi guys,

I wanted to share that Judy Klipin invited me to co-facilitate an Adult Child workshop with her next month -- focused on life skills. A dream come true! I'm excited! I wanted to share that with you all, especially if you'll be in the greater D.C. area on March 24-25th.

What I'm most looking forward to is being in the company of other sensitive, resilient people who are becoming happy adults after managing to survive a traumatic childhood.

Judy and I are both adult children of alcoholics - she's from Johannesburg, South Africa and I'm from Northern California (and Minnesota).

Check it out!

Here are all the details: http://guesswhatnormalis.com/?p=1287

Thanks! :-) amy

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Thursday, November 24th, 2011
8:38 am - Giving Thanks: Seed Questions

If you're celebrating Thanksgiving, or just want to think a bit about how gratitude fits into your life and recovery, here are some seed questions about the pros and cons of gratitude.

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Thursday, October 20th, 2011
3:04 pm - Unemployment: I can change the rules

Back in 2003 I was unemployed for most of the year. I was living off my savings and doing everything I could to get a job, but I was still feeling guilty. In an entry on my LJ, I used the daily affirmation for that day to investigate the family rules around work, pleasure and relaxation.

If you're unemployed or have dealt with similar issues, please share your experience, strength and hope here or over in my LJ. 

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Saturday, October 15th, 2011
8:39 pm - What to expect when attending your first meeting

launch_pad made me co-maintainer of acoa and I dusted off the community profile and added some information.

While doing that I came across an old entry about what to expect when attending your first ACA or ACOA meeting. It's all still true, so I thought I'd post a link to it again.

What has changed since 2002 when I wrote that entry, is that we got our own Big Book. It was published in 2006 and since then ACA has grown by leaps and bounds. There are new meetings springing up all over the place. In my own community we had managed to maintain 2 weekly meetings up until 2008. Attendance was very low -- often just the same 2-3 people. But now we have 9 weekly meetings, including 4 cosponsor meetings.

The same is happening in lots of other places. Atlanta has 6 meetings, Kansas City has 2, Boston has 11, Las Vegas 8 and so on. The same applies internationally. Stockholm in Sweden for example has 10 meetings per week. That's more than one every day.

If you couldn't find any local meetings a couple of years ago, it may be worth checking again.

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Sunday, October 9th, 2011
10:02 pm - Old Readings

Some of the local ACA meetings are pretty old, 15-20 years. They have readings that aren't read in meetings that were started more recently. I've posted some of them in the ACA Cosponsor LJ. 

ACA Bill of Rights
ACA Identity
ACA Goals
Three Obstacles to Success in ACA

I have nicely formatted PDF and MS Word files of these. Comment if you'd like me to send them to you. 

Update: Fixed the first link.

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Friday, August 5th, 2011
5:51 pm - Step study meetings starting

Two new step study meetings are starting in Palo Alto, California. If you're local and want to work the ACA steps, this is a great chance. Comment in my LJ and I'll put you in touch with the meeting leaders. 

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