Adult Child of Alcoholics (ACOA)

Alcohol and its effects can touch many lives, not just the life of the alcoholic. Children who grow up where one or both parents are alcoholics can display some personality patterns that may have developed out of a depression or as a way of dealing with the alcoholic. These patterns are directly related to the experiences and feelings that one had while being around the alcoholic.

Unfortunately, these feelings and behaviors become integrated in who we are and continue into our adult years. They can get in the way of living a happy and fulfilling adult life even if the alcoholic is in recovery. The impact drinking has on someone depends on the severity of the drinking, the alcoholic’s behavior, length of the drinking, and how the drinking is dealt with within the family. Behavioral patterns that are common in ACOA cases are:

  • Difficulty with intimate relationships such as short lived relationships, choosing unhealthy partners and communication problems
  • Procrastination – never completing projects or following through with things
  • Being uncomfortable when things are going smoothly, having a sense of impending doom. Individuals may even create chaos to relieve the uneasiness
  • Being overly responsible or irresponsible. Individuals may even feel that they are responsible for the choices of others or making others happy
  • Have a constant need for approval and reassurance
  • Being overly critical of themselves or have higher expectations of themselves than of others
  • Have a tendency to lie to others about things no matter how insignificant
  • May be very loyal, even when it is undeserved, allowing others to take advantage of them

These are just a sample of behavioral patterns that can develop. Behavioral patterns can be changed if recognized and treated. Health and Wellness Group can help you gain insight into these patterns and find ways to address or alter them.