Growth thru a Pandemic – Seeing the Beauty on the Outside

Looking beautiful on the outside is what makes some have status in this world. Some people perceive that everything is great and perfect, as long as you are beautiful. Doors open up for the beautiful people. They seem to get further in life than some of their counterparts. But, how true is it that beautiful people seem to have it all and how long can beautiful people hold onto their beauty? Beauty usually fades. And in my experience, is beauty that important? I’ve known some very beautiful people that are either mean or empty inside, are narcissistic, or really just don’t care about anything or anyone else. So, how important is beauty?

I thing about me is that I never really saw the beautiful person looking back at me in the mirror. It was important as a child to portray the appearance of perfection and be as pretty as can be. But for me, I thought I could never achieve being really beautiful. I was never told that I was beautiful or pretty. I just don’t think it was something said in our family. Once in awhile in my late teens and twenties, I’d see that I looked good, but never really saw it and felt it at it’s full extent. Only rare and fleeting moments did I feel that confidence that came with my appearance.

As a pre-teen too many of us females are indoctrinated to wear makeup. We are told by society and advertising companies that we must cover our faces with makeup, style our hair, manicure our nails, buy the named brand clothes because that’s what beautiful females do. (I won’t even get started on how fit and skinny we all should be.) So for me, I’d make sure that I had a full face or at least put on mascara and lipstick on to just go to the market or run errands. I’d never wear any sweats. I always dressed to impress or at least try to look cute. Anywhere I’d go, I definitely put a lot of effort to glam up and do what I could to appear beautiful or at least for me, to look at least half decent as I could.

The time quarantining makes you really have that time to think. It gives you the time to work on things, evaluate what is important and what is really necessary. I’ve been working a lot on my health and fitness – more than usual and being consistent with it because there is not much else to do. Not to be skinny, but to be healthy, strong, and lose unnecessary pounds. I’ve also been getting my apartment just how I like it, at least as much as I can because the owners won’t really let me renovate, so at least I can redecorate. I work from home now, also. There’s no need to get fully dressed and put on makeup. I live by myself, too. So, for the most part, that is my life during Covid. I get out to bike ride and occasionally go to the grocery store. But most of the time have things delivered. And recently, I’ve finally stopped giving a fuck about my appearance when I go out. If I’m going to the grocery store, I do shower or bathe, do my hair usually just nicely pulling it up or back, I might put on some mascara. But, my face will be half covered with a mask, so how important does makeup really matter? Who am I going to bump into? Also, if I’m riding my bike for 20-30 some miles, can you imagine sweating as much as I do during those rides and having a full face of makeup? I can’t even imagine the acne that I would get if I wore foundation. The amount of exercise that I am doing  is enough for breakouts.

So at some point, during this time quarantining and lots of spare time to think, I’ve come across old pictures of myself. There’s been times in the past that I’ve seen old pictures of myself and thought that I was cute, but it wasn’t until this last year when I thought of why I never really saw how beautiful (and skinny) I truly was, especially in my twenties. Why had I never really felt and seen it?

My childhood, the things that happened to my self-esteem, the criticism, the low self-worth, what had penetrated into my consciousness and subconsciousness through images in magazines and commercials on what the perfect female looks like, played a part on me not really seeing the woman, the girl, in the mirror for what she was. I had recognized on an intellectual level as I got older that all these things were reasons why I didn’t have confidence on my outer appearance. I could see a pretty face looking back at me in the mirror, but just didn’t truly feel it. I unraveled why this was, why I didn’t see and feel pretty (and skinny) enough, and wrote about it in my memoir, Evolving to Grace. I wrote about how some of the people and experiences I endured, contributed to this. I understood what happens to a child that is brought up in a home of addiction, that we judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem and self worth, that appearance and perfection was everything to us as a family and especially to my mother. If you looked a certain way, then the real dysfunction and ugliness of what life was really like wouldn’t be seen. You portray beauty which then means your life is beautiful. I even shared with a close friend of mine recently how when we were living in Houston, prior to me moving to California, and my head was shaved all around, except for the top, and I was dressing what I consider now edgy (maybe a little new wave/punkish. It was 1985-86) that my mom needed to go to the mall and I wanted to join her and my sister. My mom told me that I could not go if I looked the way that I looked. Now mind you, we lived in a suburb of Houston in the 80s. That area was very conservative. My mom still carried herself well, cared what she wore, that she had makeup on, etc. She had always reminded us of her 19 inch waist she had when she married our father. She wanted her family to be perfect which we were clearly not. And here I was, being trendy, rebellious and punkish. I had style, but the people of Klein, Texas thought people like me just did drugs and were trouble-makers. Mind you, the drugs didn’t come until years later. Then for many years a sister of mine had told me of how ugly and fat I was. And, the boys that never liked me, just confirmed that I was not beautiful. So, my experiences were always telling me in my childhood that I was not beautiful or even pretty. 

The very first times that I remember being told that I was beautiful began when I was 16. I was walking to work in Chicago and a homeless women said to me that I was too beautiful to walk with my head down and that I should always walk with my head up. Then, the next time when I was 24, Tupac said that I was beautiful. And a few weeks later, Mr. Laker Guy would say how beautiful I looked. Despite hearing this, I would never truly feel or think to myself, that I was beautiful. Now, decades later, I didn’t think any of them were lying and I was more stunned than anything when they said it because it was never said to me. And, for years I never knew how to respond. I don’t even think I ever said thank you. But at the time, in my heart, unfortunately, I just thought they were saying it to be nice.

Over the years it was easier to build up my value – my strengths on who I was on the inside. Affirmations would help with this. Therapy also help. Accomplishments would help. Acknowledgment of all the things I had overcome and was dealing with, like raising my son all on my own with no support, putting myself through school, coming from the childhood that I had come from, enduring the loss of my virginity to a rape, and the verbal and physical abuse I endured, all without being a complete wreck, helped me value myself extremely. Also, I loved that even though I was a little broken, my heart wasn’t. I cared for others and put my son first. It gave me pride and confidence on what I was capable of and who I was on the inside.

I think it is important to see yourself truly, inside and out, but also to be humble about it. We all have beautiful attributes on the outside, some more than others, but that’s okay. Our smile, our eyes, our skin tone, great cheek bones, great hair. For me, it took longer to really see that person in the mirror and say, There is beauty there. She is pretty. She doesn’t need a pound of makeup on to show that. I may not be perfect, win any pageant awards, be on the cover of some fashion or fitness magazines, but I am beautiful on the inside and out.

I will try to remember this and work on feeling this every single day, just so that I can build up my self-esteem and self worth.

Hope you do, too!

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.

Holiday Giveaway!

If you would like to win a free copy of my memoir, Evolving to Grace, here’s your chance.

All you have to do is follow me on Instagram, like one of the book posts, and comment on one of the posts.

I will be selecting winners on Wednesday, the 18th. Winners will be notified via DM on Instagram.
✌💗🙌

Best of luck and Happy Holidays! ❤

What you do today, affects tomorrow. ❤

Remember that you are always thought of.

Much love ❤

Adult children of alcoholics

Book giveaway

#memoir #bookgiveaway #12steps #socalaca #acoa #alanon

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

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

R.I.P. Dad

Rest in peace, Dad (12/9/1933 -12/22/2016)

So thankful for who you were and who you evolved to be.
“I love you so much, too.”

My dad was a man who had four girls, me being the youngest. He was a strong, funny, and sometimes quiet man. He was a man who loved football (soccer) and was a fan of Pelé. He liked the beach, the sun and fishing. He liked action-packed, old westerns and movies with Doris Day. He could cook the best Carbonara and Spaghetti Bolognese. He believed in education, family, and that a woman (especially his girls) could do anything a man could do.

By the time I was 3 years old, he made plans to move his family to the U.S. because of the government issues in Peru, but primarily for our education.

dad-and-me-in-peru   dad-n-me

My dad raised me to be a strong, independent woman. He showed me first hand equality between the sexes (Feminism). Besides being the primary bread-winner, he tended to his daughters. He cooked and showed me how to cook (‘if you love shrimp and bacon you have to learn to deal with being stung by the grease sometimes’). He cleaned around the house and he showed me how to take care of my cars. And, most importantly he taught me how to think for myself, that you needed to do the research-read, learn and find out things for yourself, instead of just listening to someone else or one person’s opinion. I’m sure all this helped me when I was left to be a single mother many years later.

My dad, unfortunately, was also co-dependent to my mother (she is an alcoholic). He kept his family together because he thought he was doing the right thing. He had loyalty and he sacrificed his life for my mom and us. In the end, he stuck by my mom because he could not give up on their vows and he knew what would possibly happen to her if there was no one there to take care of her. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him, even at the expense of losing touch with me back in 2011 because I could no longer accept my mom in my life. He thought that he was doing the right thing and I do not, nor did back then, blame him for the choices he made then and all our years. I realized, back in 2011, that it was okay because it was “their” journey together. Since 2011, I had only seen him once when my son graduated from high school.

My dad showed me in my lifetime, and especially in the last 20 years, that he was truly a loving man and a father that really did love me. Sometimes when you grow up in an alcoholic home, you aren’t quite sure how much the co-dependent parent loves you.

My dad showed me that he could have very deep conversations, expressing one another’s opinions and thoughts that were maybe contradictory to his daughter’s. My dad showed me that he could have these conversations with me that would never lead into an argument (that wasn’t the case many years earlier). I believe it was important for him to share some things with me and to also to really get to know me.

My dad showed me what a father should be after I had my son. The few months we lived together after I had my son, he stepped in-to let me eat, to sooth my son’s colic because I couldn’t, and to let me rest or just have a break.

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My dad showed me what it was to work hard, to never rely on a handout or rely on a man.

My dad showed me to move forward in life despite all the storms that life may throw your way.

I was told in the hospital before he passed that this last decade or so that he struggled with illnesses, like Leukemia, Diabetes, and Anemia that he wanted to be part of any clinical trials, so that maybe by doing so his life could be used to benefit others. I love this!

My dad was my very important to me and I was very fortunate and grateful to see him again before he passed. He wasn’t well, but he somehow managed to say to me, “I love you so much.” I told him, “I love you more.”

I will move on as my dad only wished for me to live. I will countlessly remind my son what it is to be a strong, loving man and father (with the exception of ever becoming co-dependent and sacrificing yourself for another). I will remind my son that a man should also cook, clean, and be a caretaker to his kids. I will continue my dad’s legacy and I hope to continue to make him proud for generations to come.

image-4_sm     2014-08-30-23-16-27

Previous posts on my dad’s final days.

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/13/making-amends-before-its-too-late/

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/18/a-week-later/

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/21/trip-back-to-the…al-to-see-my-dad/

#agingparents #rip #ripdad

Holiday Sale

etg_chapters_72

Holiday sale! Make sure that you don’t miss out on this discount. This offer won’t last.

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

Grace 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 she ended up in when she was lost and broken. She has learned from her past and she is evolving to find her grace in this beautiful thing we call life. She believes by sharing her story that we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. We can change our destiny, our path.

 

#sale #booksale #holidaysale
#cyberMonday #blackfriday #cyberweekend

Spiritual Beauty

She was a girl of abuse
She was a girl of silenceSpiritual Beauty

Those tears were hidden behind
those sad eyes

But, one day she found beauty

Beauty in the sky
Beauty in the trees
Beauty in the birds
Beauty in the lady bugs
Beauty in all things

Even beauty in hurt and pain
because through that she learned
to love life and all things deeper than ever before.

 

7/31/2014

#poem

1st page of Evolving to Grace 

1st page of Evolving to Grace.

Chapter 1 – Threats from a Pimp
“Excuse Me—Press Rewind”

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Available on Amazon in print and ebook (Kindle). If you don’t have a Kindle, no problem. Just download the software for free to read any kindle book on any device, click here.

Life can be a roller-coaster ride for some more than others. Mine has been this way. Born into generations of educated, privileged, and successful millionaires, in this memoir I tell a story of how one generation’s downfall due to financial, emotional, and addiction problems had crippling, traumatic effects on everyone around them, including myself. This story is about my journey of how I was going to fight with every fiber of my being, so that I would not follow in the footsteps of others. From very dark times as a teenager where I believed suicide was the only option to later entertaining times in my early 20’s living in the City of Angels, hobnobbing with professional athletes and entertainers.

I could be labeled many things: illegal, ACoA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), doChapters of Evolving to Gracemestic 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 write to share my experiences with others with the hope that no one, despite whatever situation they may be going through, will ever give up. You can change your destiny, your path.

 

 

 

#acoa 

I am an ACoA

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.

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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

557874e21841bb523883b3db440212c1Being 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. the-best-top-desktop-fantasy-wallpapers-hd-fantasy-wallpaper-35

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.

 

#adultchildrenofalcoholics