Relationship Problems of an ACoA

Being an adult child of an alcoholic can be multifaceted. Why did my mom become an alcoholic? I’m not sure that anyone can say that there is just one thing that makes someone an addict. I believe it is a number of things.

As far as the character of defects she had were – insecurities (she was short and got teased about it), unresolved trauma of her dad passing when she was just in her twenties, jealousy, anger, not being good enough (at least one of her sisters would make her feel unworthy), she didn’t have friends until later in her years because her parents didn’t allow her to school until later so it was hard for her to socialize, confusion on sex/male and female relationships (keep in mind, she was very young and throughout her life probably heard about and couldn’t understand what happened to Lina. Lina Medina was only three years older than my mom and was around the family), and the neglect and possible abuse that occurred.

I’m not here to analyze my mother or diagnosed her. But, I am here to know and understand how her own unhealed wounds played out in her life that would eventually have an impact on me and my life. We can’t understand why we do things or believe what we believe without unpacking our childhood to see what we were told, taught, and just saw from those closest around us.

Between 1973 and the end of 1979, we lived in Ohio. Having just migrated from Peru, things were very different, especially culturally. The one who did not take this well was my mom. It heightened all of her own underlying issues, especially her drinking. Once my dad got a job and began to travel for work, things got worse. I grew up learning about infidelity before I knew what the word meant. I heard about affairs, him being on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro with his mistress (his secretary). I’d see the fighting that would occur, especially when he’d get back into town and she was drunk. In my head, my memories, it seemed like they were constantly fighting about this. At an early age, I would ask my mom, “Do I have to get married?” She would say back to me, “You don’t have to get married if you don’t want to.” Now years later, take a step back. Throughout the years, she brought this up. This seemed to be said more than once between my mother and me, to the point that she would mention it from time to time. And, she doesn’t have the greatest memory. So, I am not sure if she just found it cute or that she found it relieving because then I’d be independent which she never was. I don’t think she ever wanted to get married but had to because that is what women did in her time.

When you take a step back, the only thing I can say that I was truly saying is – if this is what it means to be married, I don’t want to ever get married. And so until I was around the age of 38, even though I loved monogamy, I didn’t want to get married because I was fearful of having a marriage like my parents.

It took a lot of soul-searching and therapy, to realize that I am not my parents nor my mom and therefore will not necessarily have a marriage life like theirs.

Now the impact of all those times I heard what a cheater my dad was. He may have or may have not cheated. I’m not here to judge. But, what that put into my head, into my psyche, was that all men cheat. And, that’s how I lived. On one hand, I didn’t ever want to get married because I thought that it would be volatile and if I didn’t get married, it wouldn’t hurt as much because if whomever I’m with cheats, at least then I can walk away.

So, as a teenager through to my 30s, I was actually with men that never wanted to get close enough to me as to ever talk about marriage and for the most part, they saw other women while seeing me (or I believed they were cheating because that is what all men do). Even though this was my thought process, it hurt just as much. It felt like it broke me at times. It felt like I could and would never be loved enough. Throughout the years of working on myself and healing many aspects from my childhood, relationships, especially with the opposite sex, was and always felt like it was going to be a part of me that was going to be unresolved, unfixed, unhealed.

But like I mentioned earlier, little by little, my thought of me and marriage changed. I saw that I am different, a separate person than my mother, and therefore won’t have a marriage like hers. I rarely, if at all, drink. I like to analyze myself and think of why something might be the way it is or where people might be coming from (their perspective). And, I like to problem solve and I can talk things out, rationally without screaming or fighting. So, marriage – yes. If it happens, I am open to it with the right person.

Cheating on the other hand.

All men cheat. That is what they do. When they are not with you, they are with another woman. This mindset would take a few more years until that lightbulb moment would happen. Like many times before when I uncovered the end of the thread or the beginning of the thread that would unravel most of my unhealed trauma – defects of character – I carried for so long and would have a starting point to pool at that thread, to unravel these misconceptions I was taught or interpreted as a child. This week that happened on – men that cheat and when they are not with you, they are obviously with another woman.

It all happened on the floor of the shower. I was taking a shower, kind of thinking about a guy that I had met weeks prior and couldn’t get out of my head and why we weren’t working out. To know something about me, I’ve never been boy crazy. You know, those kinds of girls that can find so many guys attractive or interesting. I like to say, I’m picky. But, the truth is is that I intuitively need to see or feel that something and for me, that doesn’t happen often. So, this man that I met a few weeks earlier, I was just drawn to him, even prior to meeting him. There was just something about his eyes, his face, that drew me in. Or, maybe it was something else. Maybe he was supposed to be someone that was going to be someone in my life to show me something I needed to see. I believe everything happens for a reason and those that come into your life are meant to come into your life for a reason. I didn’t see it like that at first. All I knew was that I was interested in him.

So, after we met, we hit it off. So, I thought. We texted a few times and then I texted him another time and he didn’t respond. I flipped. Not that bad. Just asked if I should delete him out of my phone? It had only been 24 hours that he hadn’t responded. But, he hadn’t responded, so the things that I thought…He wasn’t interested. He was with someone else. 

Well, thinking about this while taking a shower, I came to realize that I behaved just like my mother would have. Everything in my mindset was my mother’s mindset. It was what I saw in my childhood. The insecurities, the unworthiness, the jealousy, the infidelity. For the last few weeks, all I thought about was that he didn’t get to know me enough. He would like me enough if he’d just get to know me. And, I also thought that he is with somebody else. Even though he told me he worked a lot. My mind went to, he is with somebody else.

So, there I was, beginning to cry, finding myself go to the floor of the bathtub while hot water hit my back. Once I hit the floor, I was bawling. And it all hit me. childhood trauma

My childhood.

The things that were said.

The scenes that were shown.

My childhood mind that interpreted it all.

Epiphany!

That was my parent’s truth, their reality.

Because a man is not by your side, every waking minute does not mean, there is another woman by his side. What about all the times I’m doing things? Out bike riding and being at the beach for hours, meeting with family or friends, running errands, or just hanging out at home alone. Does that mean, that I have another man by my side? No.

So why, all the times before, did my mind go there? I now know why.

But, I now know that I don’t need to think that way or jump to react that that is what is going on. Like, I did weeks before in that stupid text.

Now, I don’t know if this man and I will ever see each other again. But, what I know for sure is that our paths were supposed to cross because he helped me to find this piece of thread that I can unravel and heal and not think all men cheat.

May is Mental Health Awareness month!

May is #mentalhealthawareness month. There have been quite a few times in my lifetime that I’ve come back from depression, suicide attempts, or just cycling through, what I thought was a breakdown at the time, but really was a transformation. For the most part, most of these moments were long ago. resilence

Nowadays, I am just so happy that I survived. I get choked up sometimes when I talk about it. All we ever want is for the pain to go away. And, I’m here to tell you that it eventually does. Life gets better if you work at it. Situations that you thought would just continue, come to an end. Choices you make can change the life end up having. You just have to learn to love yourself, do what’s best for you, and work through your past traumas.

Life is a beautiful thing and so are you! beauty

Wellness – Turning away from Negative Thoughts

I used to be consumed with negative ways, more so, my thinking was negative. It didn’t help that my situation at home sucked. Life within an alcoholic home (mother is/was an alcoholic) is very chaotic and it is especially worse when the alcoholic is not so nice when she is under the influence. Fighting, verbal/emotional/mental abuse, neglect/abandonment, and not knowing what next will erupt is not a situation a child should live in. A child needs a nurturing, loving, attentive, and consistent environment where they are guided to becoming a healthy, kind, and productive adult.

So, as an Adult Child of An Alcoholic, I am very aware that most of us that are either ACoA or come from dysfunctional families that our essence – mind, body, and soul are affected by the shame and abandonment that comes from these environments. We don’t know any different from our environment and especially our home life.

We come into this world as curious, happy, sweet beings. What we learn at first, especially in our first 5 years is critical to our brain development and sense of being. What is going on at home. How individual family members speak and treat each other. How they look at you and treat you. How they feel about themselves and the world. All this is taken in by you when you are a baby and child. All this has an effect on you and how you view the world, people, and yourself. Your self-esteem is formed. Your way of being is formed. Your cognitive skills are developed. The six types of cognitive processes are attention, perception, memory, language, learning, and higher reasoning. The processes are interdependent and occur simultaneously. Perception is very important here!

Basically. Your development. Your child development sets you up on how you grow into adulthood. I can’t discount that genes do play into who you will become. Your temperament also plays a factor. Coming from a family of four girls, me being the youngest, none of us grew up the same as far as it comes to our thinking or how we choose to live our lives. Our selves, our brain development, where the family was as far as in the disease of addiction and abuse, all have had an impact and made us very different in certain ways.

positivity

But, my negativity was one of the strongest at an earlier age. Looking back in some instances, this not only hurt me, but has also helped me in fighting against adhering to the dysfunction. But mostly, the negativity hurt me because I could not change my environment and could not find any other way but to be negative toward my environment which lead me to a continuous way of thinking that made my depression more severe and made how I viewed the world and people very badly. It was very pessimistic and the negativity made me view myself in a way that was way too harsh and unloving.

Examples of my negativity were – I just can’t do anything right. I’m so ugly. I’m so fat. I’ll never be good enough. Every single thing that happens bad in the world will happen to me. I hate myself. I hate my life. And I hate the way I feel.

Where is the freaking reset button?

Well, there was a reset button. It took many years, maybe even decades. I still have to stop myself sometimes. At some point, I realized that I had to change the way I thought. My perspective needed to change. And, once I started to re-learning how to think, how to view things, how to stop myself in my tracks in my brain and say things to myself like you are pretty, you are smart, you are strong, was it only then that I viewed myself, the world, and others in vibrant colors and warmth. I feel like I had always been loving and kind. With that being said, I was rarely ever a mean person. Most of my bad way of thinking was internalized. I am just saying that I believe I came into this world trusting and knowing how beautiful things and people are and how even in a difficult situation there can be a silver lining and a way to rise above. My being probably somehow yearned to be that person once again and it took some time to reprogram myself away from what I was introduced and conditioned to for so many years.

Changing my perspective has been once of the most challenging but life alerting things I have done.

By changing your negative way of thinking, to a more positive way, you then become more resilient, can handle issues in a more productive way, are less stressed, you lean away from depression (unless your depression is caused by a chemical unbalance or something else), and you just have a better outlook on life, the world, and yourself.

Please don’t focus on the wrong or negative. Give yourself positive affirmations and focus on the things you have done right or that are good about you. When you stop and think about what you are thinking, say positive things to yourself, changing your perspective. Don’t criticize yourself for thinking negatively. You are harming yourself by beating yourself up. Just redirect your thinking in a gentle and loving manner and find a new way. Much love ❤

positivity

If you are thinking of having a child, have children, or being a care-taker of a child, here are some good tips below. You can also read more about child development on Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child site and what they list as 8 Things to Remember about Child Development.

 

Parent Tip

Recent brain research indicates that birth to age three are the most important years in a child’s development. Here are some tips to consider during your child’s early years:

  • Be warm, loving, and responsive.
  • Talk, read, and sing to your child.
  • Establish routines and rituals.
  • Encourage safe explorations and play.
  • Make TV watching selective.
  • Use discipline as an opportunity to teach.
  • Recognize that each child is unique.
  • Choose quality child care and stay involved.
  • Take care of yourself.

10 Recommended Books

Hi everyone!
Hope all is well.

Since a lot of us are at home due to the Coronavirus, I thought that I would recommend some of my favorite books, most are available on Amazon Kindle. You don’t need a Kindle to download them either. You can purchase the kindle version and download them to your phone, tablet/ipad, or computer. You just need to download the app to get this to work. Go on Amazon and type in the search bar, kindle app for “pc” free download, or “Android”, or “Mac”. I have a Samsung Galaxy (android), so I know it works! The kindle app will appear on your phone, tablet, or computer after you download this app and all your kindle books you purchase will appear here! Make sure that after you download the app from Amazon and make purchases that you select where you want the book to download to. You’ll see this while checking out your cart. It is really easy!

books

The Power of Intention by, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Evolving to Grace: A story of perseverance, strength, spiritual evolution, and the choices one must make to change one’s path by, Grace Lozada (me!)

Adult Children of Alcoholics by, Dr. Janet G. Woititz EdD

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by, Jen Sincero

The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations by, Oprah Winfrey

Grace: Quotes & Passages for Heart, Mind, and Soul by, B.C. Aronson

Strengthening My Recovery: Meditations for Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families by, ACA WSO INC

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by, Don Miguel Ruiz

Edie: American Girl by, Jean Stein

Keeping Secrets by, Suzanne Somers – only one that is not on Kindle, but life changer if you are a child of an alcoholic.

Never take anything for granted

You really can’t take anything for granted. Family, friends, work, a paycheck, bike rides, sunsets, days off, taking pictures, hugs, kisses, holding hands, the beach, the sun, a walk at the beach or through a favorite museum, ACA meetings, eating out, and sitting in the sun for hours.Whatever it is, try to never take anything for granted. And know, that we make this little sacrifice to save lives.

It’s been a while. Hello again!

It’s been a while since I have written a post. I think sometimes I stay away from writing. But, writing to me is usually therapeutic and perhaps I haven’t wanted to reach deep or possibly I haven’t felt okay with being so vulnerable. But, as most of my writing happens, I felt an urge to write, to share my thoughts, my feelings, and what has been going on.

2018 was a hard year for me. Not one of the hardest, but I went back to places that I hadn’t been in a very long time.

I’m sure the depression had been creeping up for some time. It could have even been ignited by the death of Matt at the end of 2011. It wasn’t his death that I was depressed about. I was extremely sad, felt broken at times, and even sometimes said to him that I didn’t want to be here anymore if he wasn’t here, but fully depressed I wasn’t. At least not then. Back then I was grieving.

But, then a month after his passing I picked up the memoir I had started writing so many years prior. Almost 2 decades prior. I was determined to put this book back together, with it’s outlined pages, typed up pages, and hand-written pages. I was determined to finish it. Months prior to Matt’s death, I had shared with him the book that I would one day finish. He had said how he’d love to read it someday and how I should get back to writing it.

No longer was I going to put it off until I turned 60. I had the time now to finish this goal. I was determined. It was important to him. It was important for me because I thought if there was someone that I could help by seeing that they could change their lives, I had to finish it and get it out there to the world.

For the next 3 years, I wrote. I edited and edited and edited. I published, Evolving to Grace in 2015.

But, it took its toll.

I had just lost someone that meant so much to me. Almost immediately, I pick up memories on paper. I wrote and wrote. I remembered and had to remember things I had healed from and some that I had not. I was revisiting a past in its entirety. Feeling and crying over things that I had for some 20 years thought hadn’t affected me. Like my rape when I was 16 years old and still a virgin. Forever I had been saying how it barely affected me because I was mostly blackout (and passed out). That it wasn’t one of those brutal rapes that happen to a lot of females. Well, after re-editing my book, I found myself crying about it for the first time. A lot of trauma came storming back. But, I pushed threw. I felt good about finishing the book and self-publishing it. I felt accomplished. But, even though maybe 1 more edit was needed, I knew I couldn’t handle emotionally going over it again. So, I left it, published it and touched it up here and there with minor edits.

Then in 2016 I lost my job. It wasn’t a job I loved, too much animosity and toxicity was happening because of lack of good management. But, the thing about that job was that I was good at what I did day-to-day. So, after that lay off in September, I took a break. I had been wanting to switch professions for some time (from Accounting to Photography).

And, then in December my dad, that I hadn’t spoken to in 5 years fell ill and was in the hospital about to be put on a ventilator. I spent the next 2 weeks with my mom (that I also hadn’t spoken to in 5 years), three older sisters, nephews, niece, and my son. It was good and it was bad. My dad passed on December 22nd and we still have not had a service or a funeral. That hurts.

Forward to May 2017. I found myself defending the unpaid court order for child support. It was lowered and now this man that hadn’t cared to see his son or take care of him for 22 years, wanted to meet him. That lasted for a few months and as far as I know, he is no longer around. But, is paying child support. Though he tried to get it lowered again this past February. He was denied! And just for the record because so many people ask. Here in California, once a court order for child support is issued, it never goes away. Interest might continue accumulating after the child is 18 and the non-custodial is not paying. But, it sits there, waiting to be paid. And, I had never been paid until 2017.

As I write this and lay it all out, I see. The depression was bound to come back if I was just moving through all this dirt (wanted to type something else) without having someone there to talk to or have in my corner. I was still solo. I couldn’t connect with anyone the times I tried to date. I wasn’t seeing a therapist. Family, besides my son, were non-existent.

There were a few other things like not transitioning to get a career going in Photography or getting a decent Bookkeeping job. My son moved out and I finally felt the empty nesting syndrome even though I was keeping busy. And, finances were rough.

So, this is where I am. Where I was last year and I was kinda drifting away from blogging and keeping up with posting on Facebook and Instagram. I was deep into my depression. My suicidal at times depression. I hadn’t been there for 15 years or so.

I am now back in therapy and finally attending ACA meetings for the first time in my life. I am still trying to pursue my photography career, but I have a job that I really like in Accounting. I’m trying to put more effort back into writing because it is not only therapeutic for me but if one person comes across my story or my book, that they will feel less alone and will realize that they can heal. It doesn’t happen overnight and maybe like me, you will uncover things that you may have never looked at as traumatic. But, change can happen.

I can’t guarantee I will write a lot because I have to put most of my free time to my photography business, but I will try to share and write.

If you are going threw a lot, or even a little, talk to someone. Don’t think you can always work your way out of the mud by yourself. I have some resources if you’re in need on my Resources page.

Be well and lots of Love,
Grace

Alcoholism affects everyone, not just the alcoholic.

Nowadays so much is spoken about and known about alcoholism especially within the family unit. It affects everyone. It brings on other problems like abuse, financial stresses, lack of parenting because of the focus shifts on the alcoholic and not what the children need as far as growing into a successful adult with self-esteem, self-worth, knowing how to be in healthy relationships, and how to cope when things go wrong.
Don’t assume that because you got through another night of the alcoholic being drunk that things will be better today or if you don’t speak about what happened the night before that it didn’t happen.
Seek help. Do what you have to do for you and especially your children, not for the person that doesn’t want to get better.

What would you tell your 16 year old self if you had the chance?

This is me when I was 16 (1986) in Klein, TX.

I was already a high school dropout. I had already had a few #suicide attempts behind me. I had already known what it was to drink until I passed out & blacked out, many times. I was an #acoa before I knew there was such a thing & it’s complexities of being an adult child of an alcoholic. I unfortunately also knew to well #abuse – emotional, mental, and physical.
What would I tell her?
That you have a sweetness that someday people won’t take for granted or abuse. That you are so cool in your likes and appearance. That you are strong and you will get through this and everything life will throw at you. That you will experience beautiful things and have a great son that will be such a great human being and that you raised all by yourself.
That from all your heartache and pain, you will love deeper, care more, and be more resilient. And lastly, I love you just the way you are and that that is what matters most!

If you haven’t thought of what you’d tell yourself, I hope that you do so now. ❤

Much love, Grace.

 

 

 

Please remember what makes you beautiful! ❤

If you are thinking or have thought about suicide, if you are worried about someone you know, or if you just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with their counselors online. All services are free and available 24/7.

Book Giveaway

Just in time for the holidays – enter to win 1 of 2 signed copies of Evolving to Grace. 

Evolving to Grace is a memoir about perseverance, strength, spiritual evolution, and the choices one must make to change one’s path. I share my life’s experiences, my journey—finding my way out of darkness—discovering hope, positivity, strength, happiness and the right path for the life I choose to live. I write about many challenges I’ve had to face and overcome—either due to alcoholism, depression, violence, rape and being a single mother on welfare.

I could be labeled many things: illegal, ACoA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), domestic violence survivor, excessive alcohol and drug user, rape victim, assault victim, hitchhiker, high school dropout, call girl, and single mother on welfare. But, these are just situations I ended up in when I was lost and broken. I’ve learned from my past and I am evolving to find my grace in this beautiful thing we call life. I believe by sharing my story, we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. We can change our destiny, our path.

Head over to Goodreads.com to enter!
Best of luck! Enter soon! I hope you win!

#bookgiveaway #contest #freebie

You Can Choose

You can choose to stay in the hurt and pain.
You can choose to remain angry.
You can choose to be like them.
You can choose to continue victimizing yourself.
You can choose to live in the negative.
You can choose to throw it all away. 

 

 

 

Or,

You can choose to live with love.
You can choose to live in the light.
You can choose to live seeing and being in nature.
You can choose enjoying loved ones.
You can choose enjoying listening or seeing your favorite band.
You can choose to have that delicious meal.
You can choose going to a city that you love or enjoying the experience of getting to know a new one.
You can choose to bask all day in the sun or to play in the snow.
You can choose to stay in, under the covers, on a cozy couch, watching a great movie.
You can choose achieving those goals that you set forth for yourself that makes you feel accomplished.
You can choose to have that 1st date that you have been anticipating for days.
You can choose to fall in love.
You can choose to have a child or as many children as you desire.
You can choose to learn new things that bring you pleasure.
You can choose to continue doing that thing you are passionate about.
You can choose to get older, being able to look back on your life and smile because it’s been interesting and you’ve loved it, even with its ups and downs. 

  

The choice is yours.
What are you going to choose?

#ACoA #recoveryispossible #12steps

Check out the Evolving to Grace store!

Check out all the great new products, like these:

Hope, Inspire, Love Mug

Evolving to Grace reusable bag

And, even a signed copy of Evolving to Grace.

All available and more at: http://gracelozadastore.com/

Why anonymity in recovery?

So, recently I finally asked the question – why be anonymous in support groups for AA, Alanon, Alateen, and other recovery groups?

I have been vocal for so many years. At first I shocked many. My family never has liked it. But, after years of doing it and writing my memoir, Evolving to Grace, I have come to realize that I have reached many more people and there are more that understand that not everyone has the same upbringing, that there are highly dysfunctual families out there and more importantly, I’ve reached others that do not feel so alone anymore.

There are estimated 18-28 million adult children of alcoholics out there in the US & the UK. It can’t be shocking anymore? And, how many kids still don’t know that they are not alone? Like me when I was a teenager and pre-teen, I felt that what was going on was not normal, but nothing was out there that told me otherwise. And, then there was this notion that we should never talk about it. So, even if a counselor, or in my case, prinicipal at my school asked me — I’d never mention it. Never learning that I wasn’t alone and that we could get help. Or, I could.

I will have the respect to not to post their comments, but I asked a support group this:

Just want to throw out a thought that I’ve had several times and would like to ask you guys.
Why are most of the support for alcoholism, addiction, and COAs recovery, anonymous? To me I feel we continue the guilt and shame that has been associated with this and we really strengthen the stigma with comes along with the illness or something that we had no control over. I understand the judgment out there in the world, but mustn’t we stand up to end that?

Thanks for all the responses. I was just curious and would never think that everyone should have to be vocal. I just opened my eyes and began my recovery after reading, Keeping Secrets by Suzanne Somers and that term is so much of our role in alcoholism and growing up in that household – “keeping secrets”. I just thought the more vocal people are, the more people we will help and people wouldn’t feel alone. But, to each its own. Thanks! Much love

I’m not trying to blast the alcoholic. They were/are sick. We have to acknowledge and help others to understand that our parent(s) were not “our parents” when they were under the influence. To me, they were – she was, the alcoholic, not my mother. And, to also keep that from your children. Some parents do that, cover up their past. I believe I am the only one that has told my child, when he was old enough to understand, about my experiences of my childhood. I believe they learn and understand and can maybe have more compassion toward others, that everybody’s life isn’t perfect.

I’m not thinking everyone should reveal EVERYTHING that went on, but just to mention that they are/were affected from that circumstance would probably lessen the stigma, shame, guilt, and to connect ourselves to others, and heal more.

What are your thoughts? Does anonymity continue this cycle of the stigma and keeping secrets? Are you not as sick as your secrets?

#adultchildofanalcoholic #breakthecycle #breakthesilence #endthestigma #shamefree