Adult Children of Alcoholics and Addicts
Addiction is a disease that affects not only the individual suffering but everyone close to that person. Because addiction is all-consuming, it can cause a person to abuse or neglect family members. Those with an alcoholic parent must learn coping mechanisms and survival skills unique to their situation. An adult child of an alcoholic will carry some of these traits from childhood into adulthood or have to take on new roles if their parent develops an addiction later in life.
A universal trait of all grown children of alcoholics and drug addicts is their resilience. They have had to learn to function surrounded by inconsistency, confusion, and illogical behavior. Apart from resilience, studies have identified many other defining characteristics shared by adult children of addicts. Those affected can find comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
Many adult children of drug addicts and alcoholics have had to learn to put strong self-defenses in place and have been taught to fear certain situations. They have had to learn to control their own behavior and hide neglect and pain. Because of this, they may have a fear of losing their self-control and a wish to control the behavior and feelings of others. Closely associated with this is the fear of strong emotions and conflicts. An adult child of an alcoholic or drug addict may have had to hide their emotions since childhood, making it difficult for them to express strong feelings as an adult. This also makes it difficult for them to have fun and relax because the child they once were learned to mask their emotions. Other characteristics of adult children of alcoholics may include low self-esteem/self-worth, compulsive behavior, denial, and issues with intimacy.
Because these adults had these behaviors reinforced for years, they may need help processing their emotions and forming healthy relationships. In addition, children of alcoholics and addicts are much more likely to grow up to have substance abuse issues themselves, a tragic consequence of their parents’ addiction. The adult children of addicts should find support and understanding from a counselor or therapist if the past is still affecting their present state of mind, including seeking out customized addiction treatment for themselves if they need help breaking the cycle.
Support for Adult Children of Alcoholics
Children of addicts can turn to several sources of support and help with coping with effects of having an alcoholic parent, such as psychotherapy and 12-step programs. For those whose parents are seeking addiction treatment, many rehab centers will include family therapy that can help everyone involved work through their issues and support each other in sobriety. There is also a support group for adult children of alcoholic parents called Al-Anon that can help individuals who have had similar experiences to let go of feelings of shame and isolation.
Find Help for Alcohol Addiction
Perhaps your parent has developed an addiction during your adult life and you aren’t sure how to help them. You may be at a loss and not know how to intervene and get them safely to a rehab before the situation escalates. Or perhaps you’re the child of an addict and are now struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol yourself. In either case, BetterAddictionCare is here to help you every step of the way. When you contact our client care specialists, you will be offered full confidentiality as they work with you to create a customized plan for recovery at a nearby rehab center. You can help yourself or a loved one get sober and start healing with the support of BetterAddictionCare. We understand that addiction can feel isolating, but we are here to welcome you into our family. Call now or fill out our contact form to begin the journey.