The trauma and grief of growing in a an alcoholic or addicted family create a lifetime of
baggage. If you grew up in an addicted family, the dysfunction that permeated every
aspect of your childhood may have seemed “normal,” and you may not even realize the level of affect alcohol still has on your adult life–whether or not you drink.
Often you chose relationships that reenact what you grew up with such as having partners that are not emotionally or physically present, such as your parents. You may find yourself contributing to enabling behaviors as your parents did growing up. You might chose to live in denial about important issues in your life, because that is the only defense mechanism you feel comfortable with when you are in pain. You might feel chronically numb (a living dead feeling) because the trauma you grew up with still lives in every cell of your being.
If you are one of the millions of Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOAs), the cost of your childhood pain can be unbearable, says Jane Middelton-Moz and Lorie Dwinell in their book “After the Tears.” (Health Communications, Inc.) You may have learned how to “survive,” but are you “living” your life? Do you fear normal conflict? Do you blame yourself when something goes wrong–even when it isn’t your fault? Are you a chaos junkie? Or do you just fear relationships because they are too difficult or too painful?
I hope to hear some of your answers to these important questions about the affects alcohol or addictions have had on your family.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice and on Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is a frequent contributor to anthologies, blogs, and newsletters, and is a sought-after speaker. Visit Sherry at www.sgabatherapy.com for information aobut life-coaching programs, teleseminars, and webinars, and read her blogs at Counselor Magazine and The Law of Sobriety Blog