Adult Children of Alcoholics
Knowing only that I was affected by alcoholism, I began my recovery, sometimes in Al-Anon, sometimes in The 12 Steps of Adult Children of Alcoholics. For a long time, there was this nagging awareness that once I had dealt with the problem of the moment, I would have to deal with the alcoholism of my family of origin, and its effects on my character. In spite of the progress that I had made in my recovery, I was still getting in trouble, still having difficulty with other people. Peace of mind seemed to last only until I created the next crisis.
Some of the answers were sought in therapy and from The 12 Steps of Adult Children of Alcoholics groups. Sometimes I was told I was sick, sometimes that I was just wrong. Mostly I was told that the answers were to be found within myself. I insisted that I did not know the answers. I wasn’t even sure how to ask the questions. It never occurred to “them” that I might be truly ignorant rather than neurotic or crazy.
Then I began to discover other Adult Children of Alcoholics. Slowly at first, we shared our experiences, feelings and behaviours. I discovered in ourselves a common history, despite having been raised generations and miles apart. I was no longer alone!
As my trust began to build through The 12 Steps of Adult Children of Alcoholics, the walls came down, if only for a short time. I learned again to feel he hurt and cry where before I could not. Some of my behaviours had turned into habits and were causing me difficulty in my job and in my family life. I came to understand that my past and my present formed a pattern. Once I had identified my feelings and my behaviours, I began to understand myself better. I resolved to change myself whenever I could, knowing that it would not be crazy to alter the addictive habits of a lifetime.
Here are some of the things I learned from The 12 Steps of Adult Children of Alcoholics about myself and that I am now beginning to change:
- I guess at what normal is
- I have difficulty following projects through 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 very seriously
- I have difficulty with intimate relationships
- I overreact to changes over which I have no control
- I feel different from other people
- I constantly seek affirmation and approval
- 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 consideration to alternate behaviours or possible consequences
- I seek tension and crisis and then complain about the results
- 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 sabotage my success
- I fear criticism and judgement, yet I criticize and judge others
- I manage my time poorly and do not set my priorities in a way that works well for me.
The 12 Steps of Adult Children of Alcoholics
- We admitted we were powerless over the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others who still suffer, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The 12 Steps of Adult Children of Alcoholics are reprinted and adapted from the original Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and are used with the permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
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