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13 Characteristics of Adult Children

Old 04-21-2005, 02:49 PM
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Arrow TO add more..........

I haven't been here in awhile, and reading all these posts, well, it is hard to read. My father is still an alcoholic. Lives in Az. My mother is remarried, very bitter and angry. Growing up? Well, They divorced when I was 8. But I was the one who had all the anger taken out on. I was beaten so badly at times. I have refused to think about it for years, then one day, talking to an old freind back from high school, he told me a story where he remembers me never wanting to go home. How one day, I left my sweater at their house, he came to return it, obvioulsy I was a few minutes late getting in, and was again beaten for it. The embarassing part of the story came, when my dear friend told me he arrived to give me back my sweater and heard EVERYTHING. He never had told me then, but told me now. I just cryed. It brought back such a flash of memories in such a FLASH. He told me, that he would take that to the grave. Thats a good friend.
I look over that list and I think, wow. Maybe this is why I dont want to get close to anyone. Maybe this is why I have a hard time loving, trusting, giving, my heart. I would help anyone. BUT.... My life is private. I like being alone. It is SAFE!! NOONE can harm, beat, verbally, physically abuse me. To the other person who asked about the one guy being alone, and if that is part of it? OH YA! Definately. I accept my mom as my mom and my dad as my dad, this is true. Recently my dad had to have major surgery and he calls me up, ( he NEVER calls me, sends birthday cards, Christmas cards NOTHING) and says to me on the phone about his surgery. ( I've had 13 in my lifetime) I just told him everything would be ok. That I knew all about surgery and what its like. I think what hurt? Is he said to me, "When did YOU have surgery?"
Is there anger there? Yes some. ok maybe more then some. I have 20 years of my emotions of poetry on a website. I read through it and think yes, this list is most definately me.
Ive lost a lot of friends in my life, recently lost my best friend in March, then just last weekend, my other friend, "Linda". She died of Scirosis(sp) and Liver Cancer. Years of drinking, and knowing she was going to die. She died sober. Her b/f and I helped to pack up her apartment. I found this among her things and it just brought me to a "still" with tears, realizing the date on the clipping from 1999. So, I will share this with you all, and thank you for letting me go on. This was in an Ann Landers Column, among her personal items.
this is entitled:
"Positively Negative"
We drank for joy and became miserable....
We drank for sociability and became argumentative.....
We drank for friendship and became enemies.......
We drank to help us sleep and awakened exhausted......
We drank to gain strength, and it made us weaker.
We drank for exhilaration and ended up depressed......
We drank for "medical reasons" and aquired health problems.
We drank to calm us down and ended up with the shakes.....
We drank to get more confidence and became afraid.
We drank to make conversation flow more easily, and the words came out slured and incoherent....
We drank to diminish problems and saw them mulitply.....
We drank to feel heavenly and ended up feeling like hell.
---Author Unknown---

I really don't know my thoughts on this as I cannot really seem to put them in words. Why she kept this tucked away? I guess I will never know. Did it work to keep her sober at the end? I really pray it did. I do Hope it helps somone else maybe "get it".
Thanks Brothers and sisters for letting me share
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:29 PM
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Trio and MG,

I agree 100% with what you both said about "second generation" alcoholics. My mother didn't drink at all, but was the meanest #@&%$#@ that you would have ever wanted to meet! The severe abuse she endured formed our family dynamics. It took me until age 40 to discover what an Adult Child was. Now that my girls are 13 and 14, I know that they will need to do work to recover from what I "passed" down to them. But I can't change the past, rather all I can do is model honesty and the desire to live healthly and recover from my hurts. Like my therapist says...."that's as good as it gets".
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Old 04-22-2005, 04:40 PM
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My two cents worth.....

My first question would be; Who wrote this?
My second; When?
My third; Why?

I'm thirty six years young, the adult child of a alcoholic. I could debate these thirteen characteristics till the cows come home.
I honestly cannot relate to one single characteristic and that's no lie.

My motto: Anyone can tell the truth, not everyone can handle hearing it.

There comes a "fork" in the life of every adult children of alcoholics....
To choose to break the cycle or to choose to allow the past to affect the current and future.

You know what they say in AA?
If you have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you're pissing on today.

Oh, I have my fair share of horror stories. I can listen and give advice. I can extend to others my support. However, I personally refuse to live my life under a "catagory" due to my parent's disease.

I strongly practice what I preach and expect no less from those around me. I don't encourage living a life of candy coated b.s. Give it to me straight or dont waste your or my time.

Life always gives you the opportunity to experience it's laughter, fun and love. You can build relationships with other people, good, solid relationships. It must begin with you....they won't come knocking on your door.

With that, I hope to build many strong ties with my fellow brothers and sisters within this community.

Kat
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Old 04-28-2005, 05:40 AM
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wow!! i can really see myself in soem if not all of those points. Im 18, my mother hasbeen an alcoholic ever since i was born, and my dad, well he is as well but he never admits to it.. neither of them do

angels n dx
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Old 05-26-2005, 02:09 PM
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Red face

I saw myself in nearly every one of the 13 characteristics. Like another poster commented, I thought "who the heck has been following me around all my life ?" LOL I've also struggled with severe depression/PTSD nearly all my life. Both of my parents are alcoholics, and my mother is a prescription drug addict, and she was extremely abusive. She continues to be abusive to anyone within reach of just a phone call, but I've chosen to separate myself from her and her insanity (for lack of a better word). Even though it was the best thing for me, it was also the hardest, but a choice I don't regret to this day. I could go on and on, listing trauma after trauma, but there's no point to that right now. I went to Alateen for a couple of years as a teenager, was in therapy/on antidepressants for a few years. I'm doing pretty well now...though I did somehow manage to marry a binge drinker (imagine my surprise at THAT one !) Despite that fact, my marriage is reasonably happy and calm, and we have a beautiful, happy, 19 month old son. I do definitely still have issues though, and it's nice to come back to ACOA/Al-Anon....seems I need a little adjustment in my thought processes......
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Old 06-05-2005, 04:05 PM
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I can relate to all too. My dad was an alcoholic and my mom was very abusive . I was burnt with matches, canes across the backs of my fingers and been told I should have never been born, a long with sexual abuse.. For years I blamed both my parents. Then I got sober and stopped blaming them. My dad could not help being an alcoholic. My Mom disiplined me the way she was as a child. I forgave my parents and thought the buck stops here. I tried AA meetings but never felt comfortable in them. I made a couple ACA meetings and felt right at home. Unfortunately my sponsor would not let me do ACA meetings so that was an end to that. I white knucled sobriety for 17 years and finally went back out. At first it felt good but after about 5 months it makes me sick. Tomorrow I am going to see if I can sign myself into the behavoral ward in the hospital and get some help. I do not mean in any way to put AA down. But I feel that sometimes problems are a little deeper. If not for the program I could not have done 17 years. I just wish ACA was as big as AA. Thanks and sorry if I rambled but I really needed to do something now. Dave
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Old 06-05-2005, 04:38 PM
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Its Crazy

Its crazy because I read those and I think I can relate to at least 8 of them. I just thought I was lazy or not interested or being a good friend. HMMM I think is one of those times I sit back and just shake my head and ask myself how I got this far. Knowing is half the battle they say, and knowing what it is that I have makes the battle seem a little easier to beat. Im sure it isnt an over the night processe, its ok if it takes a while, I got a while to give it!
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Old 06-14-2005, 11:31 AM
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I came away from my family this weekend with chest pains and knots in my stomach. Just craziness went on and I see my brothers who don't have any form of recovery suffering and my step-mother still being the good enabler.

I was talking about ACOA yesterday with my Ala-non sponsor and decided to drop over here. This seems to be the place I should add to my list of 12 step programs.

Ngaire
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Old 07-10-2005, 03:05 AM
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I origionally came here to this site because I have a husband who is an alcholic and I finally am trying to seek some kind of something, I'm not sure of yet. However after reading the op I realized there is more to my issues than just my husband. I can relate to all13 of those chaacteristics of adult children!!!

Just when I thought the 3,000 miles I put between me and my family was solving a lot of my problems and couldn't possibly contribute to what is going on in my life now.

I have only been here off and on for the past about 2 hours and have learned alot!
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Old 07-15-2005, 08:25 AM
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((((((((((((( Morning Glory )))))))))))))))

Thanks for the "light". My mom is currently still drinking, she has been drinking since she was 13 and she is in her late 50's.

Your post gives me hope that one day my mother can also get to the place where you and your daughter and grandchildren are.

Kat-
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Old 08-05-2005, 11:40 AM
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There comes a "fork" in the life of every adult children of alcoholics....
To choose to break the cycle or to choose to allow the past to affect the current and future.
That is a great statement. My H is an ACOA (his dad is an A) and he has moved out of our home to deal with his issues he just discovered have ruled his life forever and ruined our marriage. I would like to share this with him. He is having a very very hard time getting out of the past. I have shared with him these 13 characteristics and circled each one in red and wrote his name by them.

You know what they say in AA?
If you have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you're pissing on today.
Again, I love this statement. My H has ALL 13 of those characteristics which has basically caused the (beginning of and) demise of our marriage. I pray there is hope he will heal and come home but more importantly get better and shake this "category" off his back.

I pray for everyone attempting the same.....shaking loose from the hold of these 13 demons!

NJB
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Old 08-06-2005, 07:08 PM
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13 Characteristics of Adult Children
<HR style="COLOR: #d1d1e1" SIZE=1><!-- / icon and title --><!-- message -->1. Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is.

Because I never had a "normal" life to begin with.

2. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.

Because we do not know how to and usually give up easily.

3. Adult children of alcoholics lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.

Because I am afraid of some truth.

4. Adult children of alcoholics judge themselves without mercy.

Why would we have mercy on ourselves when our lives showed us none in the first place.

5. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty having fun.

I am scared of the after results of "having fun" and always have been. I need to be pushed.

6. Adult children of alcoholics take themselves very seriously.

Why would I not when everything else in life had let me down.

7. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships.

This I still do not fully understand and yet earn for with all my heart and soul.

8. Adult children of alcoholics overreact to changes over which they have no control.

Oh Yeah. I always need that "control" even when it meant that I was going to hurt my own feelings and the ones of others close to me.

9. Adult children of alcoholics constantly seek approval and affirmation.

Because I never think I am good enough.


10. Adult children of alcoholics usually feel that they are different from other people.

I feel this way because I know no different.

11. Adult children of alcoholics are super responsible or super irresponsible.

True for both. I am both.

12. Adult children of alcoholics are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

Because I need that sense of being alive even if it is not good for me.

13. Adult children of alcoholics are impulsive. They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsively leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.

This is where my ticking time bomb anger comes into play. I sit back and watch the ride go on as if I am locked up and can not escape from the movie of my life playing out in front of me again. I have talked my life away since I was 13. It did only very minimal good for me. I am still the same person, but know right and wrong. I fight a new battle of ACoA every day. Something different is always going to rear its head and I have to learn all over again. But that is what my life has been about, learning. I never stop learning more and more even though my dad has been gone for 7 years now. I still do stupid, irresponsible things to people I love and care for. I know where I stand and what I need to do. I have an understanding person in my life that is coming to the tired of understanding stage because of my slips. I have been to 1 meeting and did not find it as informative as I would have liked. I am too far along for the first steps anymore. That I have done already. I need to help and reach out now. I need to share and have people in my life that are understanding and can reach out too with the helping hand of compassion. I am a surviving ACoA who has made it this far at the age of 30 all alone. I need to know that there are others out there like me. Please email me if you would like to talk and I will be here from time to time.

Sincerely,

SomewhereinTime

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Old 08-13-2005, 08:57 AM
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Wow!!!

And I just thought I was ADD. A lot of the same symptoms.
Thanks!!!
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Old 08-25-2005, 01:26 PM
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JT,

I am not quite an adult yet, but I believe that more than 3/4 of the 13 statements describe. I am sixteen years old, so I guess it applies to teenage children of alcoholics too. Thank you for helping me realize those things about myself early on
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Old 08-25-2005, 01:28 PM
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Thank you
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Old 08-25-2005, 06:12 PM
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SomewhereinTime:

I am a really new nebie here (looks like you too) and I just read these 13 charactaristics yesterday...........I wasn't even in a "bad" mood and I started to cry because so many of these hit home. It sounds like we have a lot in common. I too have a very understanding and caring person in my life right now..........and I too "slip". The last slip almost made him leave me.........and what's so sick about that is I almost felt relieved when he was ready to leave because being abandoned felt "normal". I don't know HOW to interact with someone who is patient, loving and unconditionally there for me. It's not that I WANT to be abandoned, but it just feels normal. I am lucky that this wonderful man IS still around, but if I don't "fix" my issues..........it wouldn't be fair for me to expect him NOT to leave.

Here's to finding those "fixes"
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Old 08-26-2005, 08:11 PM
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Wow Me To A T!!!
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Old 09-17-2005, 04:26 AM
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Just browsing through and found this thread to be something I need to put in my arsenal of tricks. Thanks for the info!
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Old 09-23-2005, 08:39 PM
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While not all of these apply, I've been searching in my own family and myself for answers to many things. These characteristics listed do help, but of course, being individuals they may not all apply.
I guess the point I'm getting at is what a previous poster said about dysfunction being dysfuntion. Very true regardless of the use of alcohol or other drugs in a family.
For myself, my parents are not A's and neither am I. However, my brother is as well as my husband. When my brother went to a rehab hospital, they requested a family counseling meeting. At that meeting, the counselor made my mom very angry because he explained that although my mother is not an A, she has the characteristics of one. At the time, I didn't understand that and neither did she. I now see it, not only in her but some of her siblings (my grandfather was an alcoholic). Actually both of my grandfathers were and I can see how that affected both of my parents. And in turn, how that affected me.
Having had a very good talk with my 16 year old son tonight, I can only hope that my children truly have learned from the mistakes that ah and I have made. I can tell you that my children have issues with drinking and I hope that this will lesson their chances of becoming active alcoholics. Though I know that having lived with us has affected them and will do so for the rest of their lives.
While these characteristics that were listed are a good guide, I just hope that everyone will realize that it's what we do with the information that we see in ourselves compared to that list that truly matters. I am the way I am for the reasons that be - but I have the choice to be whoever I choose to be.
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Old 09-24-2005, 04:12 AM
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Very true Standing. We can't change where we came from but we have a choice about how we want to live. The key is in recognizing that and acting on it.
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