I AM AN ADULT WHO GREW UP IN AN ALCOHOLIC FAMILY
Once I thought I was unique, different and alone. The disease of alcoholism kept me ignorant and isolated. The disease told me not to air my family's laundry in public.
I obeyed, and suffered in silence. I survived the disease of my parents only to acquire it myself.
Here are some of the things I have found out about myself:
- I guess at what "normal" is.
- I have difficulty following through on a project from beginning to end.
- I lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
- I judge myself without mercy.
- I have difficulty having fun.
- I take myself too seriously.
- I have difficulty having intimate relationships.
- I over-react to changes over which I have no control.
- I feel different from other people.
- I constantly seek approval and affirmation.
- I am either super responsible or super irresponsible.
- I am extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.
- I look for immediate as opposed to deferred gratification.
- I lock myself into a course of action without giving serious thought to alternate behaviors or possible consequences.
- I seek tension and crisis, and then complain about it.
- I avoid conflict or aggravate it; rarely do I deal with it.
- I fear rejection and abandonment, yet I am rejecting of others.
- I fear failure, but I sabotage success.
- I fear criticism and judgment, yet I am critical and judge others.
- I manage my time poorly and do not set my priorities in a way that works well for me.
In order to change, I cannot use my history as an excuse for continuing my behaviors. I have no regrets for what might have been, for my experiences have shaped my talents as well as my defects of character. It is my responsibility to discover these talents, to build my self-esteem, and to repair any damage done.
I will allow myself to feel my feelings—to accept them—and to learn to express them appropriately. When I have begun these tasks, I will try to let go of my past and get on with the business of living my life.
Adapted from Janet Woititz, EdD. 1983.