Over the last few weeks I have been reminded again and again of this truth: when your parent(s) is (are) addict(s), it affects your whole life. Forever. In all kinds of ways. In ways you may not even realize. It affects how you see yourself and how you view the world and other people.
In her ground-breaking (1983) work, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Dr. Jan Woititz outlined the characteristics typical of ACOAs. And 30 years later, her assessment still holds up. If you grew up with an addict and haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it.
Children of addicts grow up in the midst of confusion, chaos, and complete dysfunction. Their childhood is marked by instability, insecurity, and uncertainty. And the consequences of that kind of childhood are far-reaching: even when they grow into adulthood, children of addicts struggle on a day-to-day basis to overcome the obstacles set up by their own parents–to live lives of normalcy…even when they’re just guessing at what normal is.