Growing up in a family with alcoholism and/or addiction is traumatic, and often creates a lifetime of baggage. Dysfunction is the key word here since it works its way into all aspects of life—to the point that children of alcoholics adjust by accepting this chaotic reality as normal. The habits they pick up carry over to adulthood whether they turn out to be drinkers or not, though the likelihood that they will suffer from alcoholism is much higher coming from an alcoholic home. These individuals learn how to survive, not how to live and thrive.
Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) . . .
. . . have difficulty having fun BECAUSE they’ve grown up being told they don’t deserve it.
. . . judge themselves without mercy BECAUSE they’ve grown up being told nothing they do is good enough.
. . . are extremely loyal, even when that the loyalty is undeserved BECAUSE otherwise they feel like a failure if they try to walk away.
. . . have difficulty following through a project from beginning to end BECAUSE they’ve been ‘trained’ to always be on alert for chaos; ready to deal with an addict parent instead of their own school work or issues.
. . . feel that they are different from other people BECAUSE it’s hard to believe anyone else is really suffering the same as them . . . BUT YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
There are several books available on the topic, including After the Tears by Jane Middelton-Moz and Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet G. Woititz, if you want to seek help on your own, but know that there are plenty of facilities, in every city, where you can go talk to someone.