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Any ACOA help for HIGHLY FUNCTIONING ALCOHOLICS?

Old 06-19-2014, 04:02 PM
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Any ACOA help for HIGHLY FUNCTIONING ALCOHOLICS?

I'm 33 years old. Since I can remember, my dad comes home from work, has 3 or 4 double jack & waters, eats supper, then "goes to bed". The first time I can remember seeing my dad "drunk" was in college. But, growing up, the drinking was still there, & as an adult, I've found out that many of my problems are a result of this. I suffer from ACOA, depression, anxiety, very low self esteem, perfectionism, people pleasing, & not trusting my own judgements among other things, as an adult. As a child, I was involved in lots of activities, did well in school, & had friends. But I always felt as though I was different from my friends, but I didn't know why or how. A few months ago, I entered a treatment program for depression. It was there that I learned my Father is a highly functioning alcoholic. When I confronted my mother about this, she told me that once he quit drinking for 3 days to see if he could, & he was fine. There has never been any physical or sexual abuse in his behavior. Although, he moods intensify when he's been drinking. I guess my question is, is there anyone else out there who has a High Functioning parent, that could give me some insight? I'm a little confused since my issues seem to measure up to growing up with a full blown drunk, but he wasnt. I haven't found any literature on HF alcoholism, except in relation to helping the spouse. Any experiences similar to mine would be GREATLY appreciated!!!
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:38 PM
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Wow, your story is my story. I could have written exactly what you wrote. My advice is find a meeting and work the program. I had the same questions you did but in the end I realized that a high functioning alcoholic is still just an alcoholic. Our stories and families of origin might be different or eerily similar - for some it's alcoholism or drugs for others it might be abuse (physical or emotional) or all of the above - but at the end of the day we all come from dysfunctional environments. It took me over 40 years to finally admit my parents, although they could be nice people, weren't very good parents and had a whole host of issues (alcoholism, PTSD, codependency, etc) that were passed on to them and that they never dealt with. I went no contact with them a year ago when I hit bottom and have been focused on me and working the program ever since. I wish I had done that sooner. I can't change the f'd up environment I was raised in or what I was or wasn't given, but I can change how I dealt with things as an adult. I used to think that I wanted to work a program so that I wouldn't pass any of this s#!the on to my kids. Now I realize that is impossible since these are multigenerational issues. My goal now is to be the best me I can be and pass on as little of the disfunction as possible. It's time to break the cycle.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:48 PM
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Also, no divorce in my family. Mom is just codependent, in denial.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:10 PM
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I agree with you as far as breaking the cycle goes. There is no alcoholism in my family (grandparents included). But, my mother told me recently that one of the reasons my dad can be so emotionally unavailable is because he grew up in a house where they never told one another "I love you". I was raised by both of my parents telling us that all of the time. Although if my dad has had a few drinks & is in a cheerful mood, he will go to extremes to tell us he loves us. On the other hand, if he's not in the best of moods, he gets very critical and hurtful. He raised me to be the best I could be-but that meant just like him! He was an accountant for 2 years, & since then is the CEO of a company. So I followed in his footsteps in order to please him, & graduated from Business School. I got a very good, well paid job doing sales for FedEx. He has never been so proud of me! But I eventually quit because my stress & anxiety couldn't handle the pressure of the job. He doesn't understand mental illness AT ALL. And when I took a job as an Event Coordinator (I'm very creative), he was just glad I had a way to pay the bills, & constantly asking when I would find something better. This is just an example of how I've always felt & needed to seek his approval. Recently, I've been attending al-anon meetings as often as I can. They're very encouraging & beneficial, BUT I still feel like I'm the only one whose relationship isn't with a full blown drunk! I live in a small town & there aren't any ACOA programs here, or Codependents Anonymous. So, I'm feeling lost as far as finding support. But I'm not giving up! You mentioned passing this on to your children. Well, I'm 33 & single (ALWAYS attracted to addicts), & I fear that God will never bless me with a husband, & if he does, it will be too late to have children. On the other hand, I realize that I have to learn to get to know & trust myself before being involved in a relationship. But I've been doing a lot of self discovery. Awareness is the first step to acceptance! And with my hard work, I hope to eventually find the new me. The me who feels like I have a purpose, who knows what makes me happy, someone who can set boundaries, & finally learn to trust myself! Thanks so much for sharing!!! Any literature you could recommend?
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:34 PM
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I see you found our books thread, there is a sticky too
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...oks-acoas.html

I had a high functioning A dad. He wasn't terribly successful but he held a job and everyone loved him –except his children. If you can't find a meeting specifically for ACoA then just keep reading. I never had a meeting to help me as an ACoA, but there is hope for healing.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:34 PM
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I'm a big fan of Healing The Child Within and Healing The Shame That Binds You, but if you don't already have a copy I would pick up a copy of the ACA Big Red Book - just incredible.
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:06 PM
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Thanks y'all!
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:50 PM
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My father is also a high functioning alcoholic, former high ranking military, great jobs after retiring, management, financially successful. I also never saw him drunk. Honestly, the first time I actually SAW him CLEARLY DRUNK was a few years ago. (Interesting side note, my cousin tells me every time she sees him, he's plastered, which makes me wonder if I'm so used to him that I don't even realize his behavior is abnormal, or if he's gotten worse in recent years, which I wouldn't have seen since I stay away from him.)

I have never really felt I need anything different than what's here. My experience and how it's affected me seems to be pretty much the same as any other alcoholic's adult child.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:20 AM
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I'm of the school of there being no such thing as a high-function in alcoholic. Some just aren't as far down the rabbit hole yet. My AM was what you would consider "high-functioning" until she wasn't. She retires because it was either do that and get the pay or be fired. It's been downhill ever since.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:51 PM
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This whole thread sounds like something I could have written at various stages of my life. Both my parents were "high functioning" co-dependent alcoholics. Just know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I'm 38 and when I found this site 4 or 5 years ago, it made ALL the difference in the WORLD just to read & know that I wasn't alone. It gave me confidence in myself to care about myself and start doing what was right for me. I heart SR & the members so much - I learn from every post I read! I am so glad you are here, olemisslauren!
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