I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.
I do mention it from time to time, that my mom is an alcoholic. By the age of 10, I knew-believed-felt that something was wrong with the dynamics of our household. Back then, in the early 80s, the lingo wasn’t there. Not many people were out speaking about addiction, at least not in our neighborhoods. If it was going on in other households, they were doing as we were, keeping secrets.
In the United States alone there are an estimated 28 million children who have alcoholic parents. This figure is staggering when it is considered that at least 11 million of those children are under the age of 18.
Not only are children influenced by parents use of alcohol, another huge risk factor is the attitudes of the parents towards using alcohol. If parents are extremely permissive when it comes to the idea of their children using alcohol during their adolescent years, those children have a greater chance of becoming addicted either as teenagers or adults.
Alcoholic Families Usually Have Other Issues
Families who have issues with alcohol addiction often have other problems in addition to alcoholism. Some of these problems include:
A partial or complete lack of effective communication
Poor or non-existent parenting skills
Poorly run and managed homes with no set schedules, structure or discipline
Ineffective role models for children who then grow up to repeat family issues in their own families
More conflict in the home including arguing, fighting and sometimes physical abuse
Family isolation from the community due to alcohol abuse
Financial issues and struggles that lead to a more stressful life
Being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic was a starting point for being lost and broken for many years. It, and possibly a predisposition, led me to be depressed and suicidal at times. It lead me to give up on life, drop out of high school, and dive into excessive drinking and using drugs. It lead me to being so blacked out that I lost-was taken-my virginity one night after a party in Chicago. It could have led me, or a combination of all the things prior, to becoming a call girl in my early twenties.
Despite my foundation that began with being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, my spirit has not been shattered. I was broken and lost for quite some time, but there was a fight in me from when I was about 13 years old. I despised what I was seeing when our lives were infused with the addict’s problem. I knew it was not how I wanted my life to be. The fire in me, to fight to not end up like my mother stayed lit for many years, thankfully never going out. I worked on my life, little by little, finding myself and the life I wanted to live in – peaceful, non-addicted, happy, funny, and most of all – always loving.
But remains is, I am still an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. That will never go away. But, I have learned to embrace it, learn from it (still learning), and know that I am a warrior because of it!
* Check out more statistics and information, click here.
* Get a copy of Evolving to Grace to read about my experience living as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, amongst other things.
* And, check out the Adult Children of Alcoholics page, if you need help, support and for further information.