Being the child of an alcoholic is like being the only person awake in the back seat of a car, while the rest of the occupants sleep peacefully—the car careens out of control and flies off the side of a cliff.
—  “No One Said Life Was Fair" is a poignant and humorous memoir about growing up in an alcoholic family by Mary Kate DeCraene.
The Laundry List (14 Traits of an Adult Child)
1) We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
2) We became approval-seekers and lost our identity in the process.
3) We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
4) We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
5) We live life from the viewpoint of victims and are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
6) We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, and it is easier for us to be concerned with others than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
7) We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
8) We became addicted to excitement.
9) We confuse pity and love and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
10) We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
11) We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
12) We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
13) Alcoholism is a family disease; we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
14) Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

Tony A. 1978

Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families by ACA WSO, INC.

Remember what it was like at home? You can visualize how it looked like, but do you remember what it felt like? What did you expect when you walked in the door? You hoped that everything would be fine, but you never really knew for sure. The only thing you were sure of was what you never knew what you would find or what was going to happen. And somehow, no matter how many times things went awry, as soon as you walked in the door, you were never prepared.
—  Adult Children of AlcoholicsJanet Geringer Woititz

Perfect Daughters: Adult Daughters of Alcoholics by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph. D.

This new edition of Perfect Daughters, a pivotal book in the ACoA movement, identifies what differentiates the adult daughters of alcoholics from other women.

When this groundbreaking book first appeared over ten years ago, Dr. Ackerman identified behavior patterns shared by daughters of alcoholics. Adult daughters of alcoholics-“perfect daughters” -operate from a base of harsh and limiting views of themselves and the world. Having learned that they must function perfectly in order to avoid unpleasant situations, these women often assume responsibility for the failures of others. They are drawn to chemically dependent men and are more likely to become addicted themselves. More than just a text that identifies these behavior patterns, this book collects the thoughts, feelings and experiences of twelve hundred perfect daughters, offering readers an opportunity to explore their own life’s dynamics and thereby heal and grow.

Do You Have Difficulty Saying "No" to People?

Saying “no” to people comes very easily to some and is nearly impossible for others. I have found that many people with  C-PTSD have trouble saying no, If you were brought up in a mentally or otherwise abusive childhood, saying “NO,” may be associated with severe consequences to you.

If you lived with a parent that had narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder, then…

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For more than five generations, every member of my family has battled a vicious disease; a tradition passed down from parent to child through denial. It is in our blood, and it is an integral part of who we are. The disease is alcoholism, and there is no known cure. The only way to break with this tradition is to confront the truth. Lest our pain be in vain, we must not let history repeat itself.
—  “No One Said Life Was Fair” a poignant and humorous memoir about growing up in an alcoholic family by Mary Kate DeCraene. Available in paperback and on Kindle at
father's day

Hugs to all those with alcoholic/absent fathers who feel uncomfortable and upset on Father’s Day every year.

Remember: you are not a bad person for not wanting to converse or go out for dinner with your father on this day. You own path to recovery and happiness is more important than a holiday if that means avoiding any conflicts with a parent—especially if you’re still feeling hurt and damaged after years of harm or neglect.

Just remember that your dad is not the only person who can play the role of a father in your life. Siblings, friends, and other relatives can too. Even your mother can.
Adult Children of Alcoholics

Adult children of alcoholics (ACoAs) can and often do suffer from some features of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that are the direct result of living with the traumatizing effects of addiction.

“We know that we each of us carry the voices of those who we grew up with in our heads and hearts. When those voices are soothing we can call on them for consolation and confidence, when they are abusive, we defend ourselves from the admonitions of ghosts.

Beyond your chaotic day-to-day life, part of what you did was live in fantasy. You lived in a world all your own that you created, a world of what life would be like IF…What your home would be like IF… The way your parents would relate to each other IF… The things that would be possible for you IF… And you structured a whole life based on something that was probably impossible. The unrealistic fantasies about what life would be like if your parent got sober probably helped you survive but added to your confusion.
—  Adult Children of Alcoholics — Janet Geringer Woititz

In celebration of 2015 Children of Alcoholics Week I will be giving away a copy of “No One Said Life Was Fair” a poignant and humorous memoir about growing up in an alcoholic family by Mary Kate DeCraene.  All you have to do is “like” this post. The winner will be chosen randomly on Valentine’s Day.  Good luck!