Adult Children of Alcoholics: Expanded Edition Paperback – Nov 1 1990
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About the Author
Janet Woititz was the author of Adult Children of Alcoholics, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year. She wrote several other books, including Lifeskills for Adult Children; The Self-Sabotage Syndrome; The Struggle for Intimacy; Marriage on the Rocks; Healing Your Sexual Self and many others. Woititz was the director and founder of the Institute for Counseling and Training in West Caldwell, New Jersey.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
It is important to be clear what recovery means for adult children. Alcoholism is a disease. People recovering from alcoholism are recovering from a disease. The medical model is accepted by all responsible folks working in alcoholism treatment.
Being the child of an alcoholic is not a disease. It is a fact of your history. Because of the nature of this illness and the family response to it, certain things occur that influence your self-feelings, attitudes and behaviors in ways that cause you pain and concern. The object of AcoA recovery is to overcome those aspects of your history that cause you difficulty today and to learn a better way.
To the degree that none of us have ideal childhoods and to the degree that even an ideal childhood may be a cause for some concern, we are all recovering to some extent or other, in some way or other. Because there are so many alcoholic families and because we have been fortunate in being able to study them, it is possible to describe in general terms what happens to children who grow up in that environment.
To the degree that other families have similar dynamics, individuals who have grown up in other ôdysfunctionalö systems identify with and recover in very much the same way.
All folks in AcoA recovery need to learn the Al-Anon principle of detachment regardless of whether or not they are recovering from addiction or are living with an addict. Until you do this, you can go no further. Detachment is the key. Because of the inconsistent nature of the nurture a child receives in an alcohol family system and the childÆs hunger for nurture, many of you are still joined to your parents at the emotional hip. Even if you are no longer with them, you continue to seep their approval and are strongly influenced by their attitudes and behaviors. You will need to learn to separate yourself from them in a way that will not add to your stress. This is one of the primary goals of the Al-Anon program.
àWhat you learn about yourself as you are growing up because a part of who you are and how you feel about yourself. No one can change that but you. Your parents, even if they recover and treat you differently, cannot fix what makes you feel bad about yourself. You may start a new and healthy relationship with them in the present but no amount of amends on their part will fix the past. That is why dwelling on their part in your ongoing pain will not get you through it or past it. Your present difficulties are your problem. To put the focus outside yourself is to delay your recovery.
Emotions that have been held down for years and years will come to surface. That is why it is suggested that if you are recovering from an addiction, you need to focus on that first so that you will not be tempted to relieve those feelings in destructive ways. You will go through a number of powerful emotions in your recovery. It is part of the process.
Not everyone goes through the stages of the process in the same sequence, and many of you may block some of those feelings. There is no ôrightö way. I just tell you about the process because those feelings may surface without your conscious direction and frighten you. And they will resurface many times with each new discovery. The recovery process is different for different folks. Only you can determine the way that will work best for you.
Your immediate response to reading this book may be:
¬1983, 1990 by Janet Woititz. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
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Top Customer Reviews
recognize a life pattern as the result of being born into
a family of alcoholics. Due to its guidance, I joined the
12-step programs adult children of alcoholics and codependents
anonymous (among others).
Twenty years later, I am happily married and successfully
dealing with my codependency patterns. I now set boundaries,
now have self-esteem, and am able to discern whats "my stuff"
and "your baggage" and don't take yours on as "my problem" any
more. Thank you very much Janet Woititz! By the way, I have
recommended this book to more than 500 people in my counseling
work over the years. No one ever reported back that it was a
waste of time.
I was introduced to this life altering book through an Adult Childrenof Alcoholics group. I devoured the book as soon as I got my hands on it. I couldn't believe what I was reading...it described MY LIFE, and more importantly, it described MY FEELINGS, which I had never been able to sort out.
Thank God I know I am not crazy. I now realize I was not responsible for my parents' behavior. This book gave me tools to use to change my life. My life is so much better after reading this book. If you can only read one book, read this one. In my opinion, it's the best there is.
Among the things I didn't like was the author's authoritative tone when she'd describe things that allegedly happened in your family (as if she had been there herself). Of course, she is gleening common events from the "typical" alcoholic home, and of course SOME of those probably occurred in your situation. However, after the 20th time reading that both my mother and father treated me such-and-such a way and that I had such-and-such thoughts - none of which actually occurred in my situation - I started to get a little annoyed and felt that this book did not really describe my experience. (It would be much better if she had said "this MAY have occurred in your home" or "you MIGHT have felt such-and-such", but when she tells you that this or that DID occur and that you DID have these feelings, you begin to wonder just how much of this book really does apply to you.)
Another big problem was the verbatim quotes of people going through recovery. These really should have been edited to make them clearer and more relevant. It's one thing to want to show people's feelings and experiences in their own words, but sometimes people's own words leave a lot to be desired as far as clarity and cohesiveness. The quotes often lacked relevance or were written in such a way that you got the feeling as if you were overhearing an inside joke.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I usually provide this book to clients while working with them as a loaner and many return it but many keep it. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Robert Bray
For the first time in my adult life I truly feel, after reading this book, that what happened to me as a child is not about me. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Caroline Markos
I have to apologize for my review. My review is based on MY childhood growing up with alcoholics. The book was way off. Read morePublished on May 29 2014 by Tricia
The best thing in this book is not the detailing of the 13 most common traits of Children of Alcoholics but also offers solutions to overcoming these issues.Published on Dec 22 2013 by Ken Young
For years I would read books or see movies and think to myself, "Yeah, so? What are they complaining about? Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2004
Every ACA to whom I've given this book tells me, after they've read it, "That's me." Perhaps the greatest advantage to this book is the ability it gives the reader to understand... Read morePublished on March 31 2003 by Amazon Customer
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