Switch to Accessible Site

Adult Children of Alcoholics



Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation?
Do you fail to recognize your accomplishments?
Do you fear criticism?
Do you overextend yourself?
Have you had problems with your own compulsive behavior?
Do you have a need for perfection?
Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually anticipating problems?
Do you feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?
Do you feel responsible for others, as your did for the problem drinker in your life?
Do you care for others easily, yet find it difficult to care for yourself?
Do you isolate yourself from other people?

Do you respond with anxiety to authority figures and angry people?
Do you feel that individuals and society in general are taking advantage of you?
Do you have trouble with intimate relationships?
Do you confuse pity with love, as you did with the problem drinker?

Do you attract and seek people who tend to be compulsive?
Do you cling to relationships because you are afraid of being alone?
Do you often mistrust your own feelings and the feelings expressed by others?
Do you find it is difficult to express your emotions?
Do you think parental drinking may have affected you?

Stages of Recovery


This is the typically long period in our lives when we are in complete denial that we came from a dysfunctional family or that we have any addictions, compulsions, or symptoms.  Usually our lives begin to show signs of strain between the ages of 25 and 45.



We acknowledge that our lives have become unmanageable and feel like failures, afraid and ashamed. As we share our feelings with others in a 12 step group, relief begins to emerge. Within a few months, we realized we have a need for inner healing.





Something finally snaps and breaks through to our conscious awareness.. We try to fix the problem with logic, but the crisis doesn’t go away; it becomes unmanageable.



We recognize deeper healing work needs to be done with the help of a therapist. We need to identify the wrongs that happened to us as children, experience and express our feelings about those wrongs, embrace those feelings, share them with others, and decide what to do about our relationship with others who hurt us as children and continue to hurt us. Then we can heal
 and forgive.


We listen to our inner Self more and begin to heal. For most, this work is done on and off for one to four years. It may be individual, group, or a combination of the two.


Only when we begin to heal from the inside may we begin to integrate healing into relationships and daily life.

Source: An Adult Child’s Guide to What is “Normal” by Friel and Friel.