adult-children-of-alcoholics

why children of alcoholics don't exist
— 

There is no such thing as a child of an alcoholic. There are children, and then there are alcoholics. One will never harmonize with the other.

Because alcoholics are never parents. They are shells, empty casings of love mixed with a burning taste of whiskey.

They are echoes of slurred, “Goodnight, I love you.” and “See you in the morning.” Each word filled with love, but blinded by the haze of liquor, so strong it fills your eyes with tears.

But most importantly, a child of an alcoholic will never be a child. No matter their age, they have gained the experience of those five times their age. They have watched life end with each tip of the bottle, but begin again when the sun breaks through their window.

I read stories about children who spend their days without a care in the world. And as a child, I wanted nothing more than that for myself. I wanted the carelessness, not the impossible burden of responsibility and secrecy that I held, hand in hand with resentment and hatred for the people who raised me.

There is no such thing as a child of an alcoholic. It’s not that we don’t exist— we do. But a child will never be a child when their parents can never be a parent.

One hundred and fifty days.

Hippo Campus played Hazelfest yesterday at Hazeldon rehab center. The place my mom went to get well, but never got well again. Three rounds of treatment she did here, only to come back and drink herself into oblivion again. To this day I wonder where one hundred and fifty days in rehab lives inside my mother. Where did it go? But it is the answerless question. It is the cry out to God, with no low bounding voice seeping through the heavens to comfort me. It is the reason that some kids die of cancer, and tsunamis ravage the coast and kill good people. Nice people. One hundred and fifty days in rehab lives in the part of my mother, that loved me. One hundred and fifty days in rehab is the impenetrable guard of protection my mother cast over me as she tried her hardest to live as a fish with no water, for one hundred and fifty days. One hundred and fifty days are her will to me, a will to carry on living without her. One hundred and fifty days are her last word before she succumbed to addiction, and left me with our life, wondering about what to do with one hundred and fifty days.

Last night at the show the reality set in. The reality that the last time I had set foot in this place was 5 years ago. That the last time I had been here was probably the last time I would ever see my mother well. And with this revelation, I welcomed an unspeakably beautiful truth and took a moment to leave the group for a while. The sun was just beginning to set over a field of wild flowers, and I was so sad but also somehow so alright. I realized I was standing at the collision of my two parts. That just as I had been becoming when I was fifteen, I was split in two. My mother and my upbringing being one part, and this new life I’d made that she would never see, being the other. And last night
We were all there together. Me and her and them. So I made a pathetic bouquet of wild flowers. Most of them yellow, white, and brown. It wasn’t necessarily very beautiful. Not the kind of bouquet she deserved, given the woman she had been, but I laid them at a homemade grave in a clearing of the field. I told her I loved her, and I missed her, and that she truly would have loved my friends, had she gotten to know them. My mother spent one hundred and fifty days, here. And I have spent around one thousand eight hundred and twenty five without her. My mother tried, and for this I survived. In the same way tsunamis kill good people and some kids get cancer and never get better.

For a split second I relive [it]. My heart begins to race, and a tidal wave of pain comes crashing back. An incredible, inconsolable sadness overcomes me. The sadness is so great it suffocates me. I can barely breathe as a deluge of tears stream down my face. My hands become hot and red and tremble with fear. I try to control the shaking by clenching my fists, but I cannot make it stop.

I am alone. No one can help me. No one understands, and I am plagued by the senselessness of it all. Just for a split second, I am home again.

—  “No One Said Life Was Fair” a poignant and humorous memoir about growing up in an alcoholic family by Mary Kate DeCraene.
Did you Grow Up with a Problem Drinker?

Signs that you grew up in a home where alcohol was a problem.
 
Source: Al-Anon / Alateen Family Groups
 
1. Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation?
 2. Do you fail to recognize your accomplishments?
 3. Do you fear criticism?
 4. Do you overextend yourself?
 5. Have you had problems with your own compulsive behavior?
 6. Do you have a need for perfection?
 7. Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually anticipating problems?
 8. Do you feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?
 9. Do you still feel responsible for others, as you did for the problem drinker in your life?
 10. Do you care for others easily, yet find it difficult to care for yourself?
 11. Do you isolate yourself from other people?
 12. Do you respond with fear to authority figures and angry people?
 13. Do you feel that individuals and society in general are taking advantage of you?
 14. Do you have trouble with intimate relationships?
 15. Do you confuse pity with love, as you did with the problem drinker?
 16. Do you attract and/or seek people who tend to be compulsive and/or abusive?
 17. Do you cling to relationships because you are afraid of being alone?
 18. Do you often mistrust your own feelings and the feelings expressed by others?
 19. Do you find it difficult to identify and express your emotions?
 20. Do you think someone’s drinking may have affected you?
If you have answered “Yes” to any of these questions, Al-Anon or Alateen may help you. Find a meeting now.

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.
Go through the day. You didn’t wake up as a grouch. That may be an achievement for you. You got to work on time. That may be something you don’t do often. Whatever it is, don’t throw it away. Don’t throw away the credit for any little successes just because anybody can do it. You did it. It therefore is your success.
—  Adult Children of Alcoholics — Janet Geringer Woititz
My mom never wanted a child
She gave birth to trauma instead
My grandpa’s best friend couldn’t give her a son
She was too young to carry a child
She gave birth to trauma instead
My mom grew up and wanted a child
She gave birth to orphans instead
I carry her emptied bottles into every thought I have
I sharpen them on my skin so I can break off the master string
And I throw up words that never echo
I throw up and nothing’s there
—  Untitled by me
If you haven’t heard of Lisa A. Romano yet, you’ve been missing out.

I discovered this woman and her videos awhile ago, but I had only gotten around to watching one of them. My boyfriend and I have been watching her videos together, and it’s life changing. 


If you are an ACOA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic/Addict), grew up in a dysfunctional home, are codependent, have addiction issues yourself, or have been abused in any way, then please give this woman a chance. She says a lot of really useful things and really makes you think. And she does it in a non-preachy, non judgy, non 12 step AA way. She tells it like it is, and those are my favorite kind of people. 

Lisa A. Romano (@lisaaromano )teaches people how to heal from and let go of past trauma, in a healthy way. I’ve been watching her ACOA/Codependency/Narcissistic Abuse playlists, and it’s like she takes things straight from my brain. She talks about things that i didn’t even know were related to how i was brought up…and then tells you what to do about it. She has hundreds of videos about a variety of subjects, and if you’ve experienced any kind of trauma, you can find a video for that subject. She is a best selling author, has a facebook support group (Lisa A. Romano Healing From Codependency and Narcissistic Abuse), a website, is on all social media platforms,and is a certified Life Coach.

http://www.youtube.com/user/lisaaromano1/playlists

The emotion that I feel in the present is usually the only one that counts. I only feel the emotion I’m in at the time. It’s so hard for me to remember that I can feel anything else but what I’m feeling at the moment. Or, tomorrow I’ll look at this and feel differently.
—  Janet Geringer Woititz. “Adult Children of Alcoholics”
And when our father used to get us up in the middle of the night and march around singing “Onward Christian Soldiers,” it would be a school night and we would think that we should be able to sleep like normal kids. And we’d say, “Mom, please help us, come to our rescue,” and she never did.
—  Perfect Daughters: Adult Daughters of Alcoholics by Robert J. Ackerman

Growing up in a neglectful/abusive home environment means learning that good times don’t last. That you can’t trust the people who are supposed to care about you, because it’s when you let your guard down that you get hurt the worst. That inevitably things will all fall apart again. It’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The challenge as an adult is learning how not to project the feelings of fear, obligation, and guilt onto your relationships with others. How not to self destruct or act out first so you don’t end up the one burned. To think critically and acknowledge when you behave in ways that were modeled by the dysfunctional parent(s). And to have compassion for yourself while also being accountable for your actions.

rum-inspector  asked:

I just learnt my alcoholic father has died and idk where to ask help on how to deal with guilt. I'm already adult and even went to medic school and learnt it's an illness but I still never reached out to him. Now it's too late. Part of me knows it's not child's fault what parents choose to do with their lives but part of me feels so guilty, I was born to young parents maybe it was my fault? I know it wasn't but also... how do you deal with the guilt? Even littlest tips are welcome right now

First off, I’m sorry about your father. My thoughts are with you and the rest of your family. <3 Guilt and shame are very much a part of being children of alcoholics, so remember that these feelings are normal. You’re not weird and nothing is wrong with you. But also do keep reminding yourself that it really is not your fault your father had alcoholism. A lot of times, we as human beings look for answers for the confusing bits in our lives. And sometimes when we don’t find a clear answer to these questions, we turn on ourselves. Moreover, we witness our parents as their behavior changes and shifts as they drink. We’re constantly walking on eggshells because of their unpredictability. We’ve been conditioned to always monitor our own actions. But it’s out of our control.

It’s not possible to “create” or “cause” alcoholism in another person. Alcoholism is a result of tons of different things going on in the alcoholic’s psyche. A lot of times it’s because the alcoholic themself had past trauma or mental illness, like depression. Many different forces/factors in your dad’s life might’ve led him to resort to alcoholism, but your birth or existence was not one of them.  A parent does not drink alcohol because of another person. Your father was most likely predisposed to alcoholism since before you were born. Even once you were in his life, you couldn’t do anything to change his behavior. Ultimately, it’s the alcoholic parent’s own initiative that would bring them to seek for professional help. We can’t change people’s psyches through our actions or even by being an entirely different person.

To deal with guilt when I’m feeling down, I tell myself I’m just a person. My father being an alcoholic is because of things that happened to him in his life. I can try to always show him love and try to help him as his child, but ultimately I am just a person and I cannot change him. None of us can change our parents. It also really helps to think of alcoholism as a mental illness, which is essentially what it is. If one of my parents had, for example, bipolar disorder, they still would have that illness regardless of whether I was born or not. Being a better child wouldn’t have changed their psyche either. At the end of the day, we’re only responsible for ourselves, as sad as that may be.

The Seven C’s

I didn’t Cause it
I can’t Cure it
I can’t Control it
I can take better Care of myself
By Communicating my feelings,
Making healthy Choices, 
And Celebrating myself.