Men and women who grow up in alcoholic households often have a very different experience than others and struggle to adjust to their adult life. If one or both parents suffer from an addiction, it impacts not only them but their entire family.
Children of alcoholics suffer the consequences of their parents' actions and may find that their experiences growing up impact them long after they have moved away from home. An anonymous program known as Adult Children of Alcoholics was created to provide adults who are still dealing with their troubled childhoods the type of support and help they need from others who have been in their position.
People in the twelve step program can connect with others who have also grown up with alcoholic parents and share their stories, experience and advice with one another.
Effects of an Alcoholic Home
When one or both parents in a household have an alcohol dependency, it creates a dysfunctional home and has lasting effects on the children. Those who grow up in an alcoholic home tend to develop certain personality traits and characteristics that can become problematic when they are an adult.
Their personality develops as a result of continually seeing their parent intoxicated, having to cover up or hide their parent's abuse and having to take care of them. They might also be involved in or witness violent conflict, experience their parent's irresponsibility and denial and feel abandoned by their parent who disappears to drink rather than spend time with them.
Adult children will begin to develop issues that interfere with their relationships, self-esteem and at times their work life as well.
Problems as an Adult
Children of alcoholics might struggle with a number of different problems such as control issues, inability to express emotions, or problems with relaxing and having fun. Children often avoid conflict because they fear people who are angry or do not take criticism very well.
They can easily misinterpret assertiveness for anger and constantly seek approval from others to prevent any contention. When children of alcoholics become adults they may struggle with self-esteem and criticize themselves very harshly.
They can also have a victim mentality that can prevent them from succeeding in their careers or relationships. They often fear intimacy because it makes them feel they have lost control and they have difficulty expressing their emotions and needs in a relationship.
A fear of abandonment can also affect their connection with others and make it difficult for them to walk away from an unhealthy relationship.
The Adult Children of Alcoholics twelve step program allows men and women to address the issues they are dealing with as a result of their dysfunctional childhood. They can discuss their current personality traits and how they might be related to their upbringing or a reaction to their parent's behavior.
The program is an opportunity for people to heal and recover from the painful effects of their past. Although a parent with an alcohol dependency can negatively affect a child well into their adulthood, a person is not condemned to struggle the rest of their lives.
The program is about learning how to cope more effectively as an adult and improving the quality of life for children of alcoholics. It can provide valuable insight so that adults understand why they behave the way they do and how they can ultimately change the patterns that inhibit their growth and happiness.
The program can help children of alcoholics to not only receive support and understanding from their peers but also lead more fulfilling lives.