Finding my passion

Children of alcoholics tend to want to be all things to all people in order to be accepted.  And because of this, they tend to ignore their own feelings, wants and desires.  They always settle so that others are happy.

These traits carrying into adulthood.  A wife may put off completing her bachelor’s degree program, for example, so that her husband can earn his degree and be promoted in his company.  It is a noble gesture but somewhere along the line, in the midst of raising the kids, keeping the house, and so forth her dreams get pushed down and never realized.

I was the good daughter that allowed my parents to mold me and guide me down a career path that they thought was suitable and stable.  I ended up employed with the federal government for the steady pay check and the benefits.  I worked in human resources for many years then in the equal employment opportunity arena.

Although I have been gainfully employed for over 30 years now, nothing about my job excites me.  I have no passion for the work that I do.  I didn’t even know what my passion was.  But then an interpersonal communication course in college help me uncover the passions that I had buried so many years ago.  I remembered that I loved to write, take pictures and travel.

Now I am taking time to do the things that I really want to do.  I’ve written two books, I blog, I travel and take pictures.  I blog about my travels and create memory books of the places that I have visited.  And now I know it’s okay to just do me.

Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m a recovering Adult Child of an Alcoholic.


My Attachment Style

I took an interpersonal communication course a couple of years ago and learned about attachment styles, which are patterns of caregiver that teach us who we and others are, and how to approach relationships.  My father was an alcoholic, but of course as a child I didn’t know that or how it would affect me in life.

All I knew was that sometimes he loved me and played with me, and sometimes he was indifferent to me.  His booze was always the most important thing to him.  He could not seem to get anything done without first having a drink.  So I never felt that I was the most important person in his life.

When I learned that my attachment style with my father is what is called the anxious/ambivalent attachment style (also called preoccupied), it explained a lot about our relationship.  The anxious/ambivalent attachment style is fostered by inconsistent treatment by a caregiver.  Now I understand the root of my anxiety; it was caused by my father’s unpredictability.  But when you are a child, you think you are the problem, and unfortunately you carry this baggage into adulthood where patterns tend to repeat.

I am thankful to have learned this and having the willingness and ability to change my life and my future.  Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m an adult child of an alcoholic.

Like Father, Like Daughter

I grew up with an alcoholic father whom I both loved but hated at the same time. I loved
the man, but hated the alcoholism. He could not really function without having a drink.
An introvert by nature and suffering from low self-esteem, my father drank to ease his
anxiety and hide his insecurities. With lower inhibitions, he would become more relaxed
– especially in social situations. The drink also gave him courage to stand up for himself;
even if it meant getting into arguments and saying hurtful things.
I loathed his drinking and the person he became when drunk. I promised myself that I
would never be a drunk. But am I really any different? Taking a deep look inside, I find
that I too am introverted, uncomfortable in many social circumstances, and suffered
with low self-esteem for many years. But instead of turning to booze, I use food. When
I’m anxious, I eat. The primary culprits are cookies and potato chips, which floods my
brain with dopamine and makes me happy.
Just like junk food leads to powerful cravings so does alcohol. This is what happened to
my father. I’m now sorry for judging him so harshly. Addiction is a disease, for which
professional help is needed to overcome.
Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m a recovering Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

Wanting Change

Part of my journey as a recovering ACOA is trying to become more transparent.  This isn’t easily.  Growing up under a cloud of shame and pain caused my heart to become hard as a child.  I pretended my father was not an embarrassing ‘fall down’ drunk.  I did this by ignoring him as much as possible.  And to the outside world, I pretended that my family life was ‘normal’.  This façade followed me into adulthood and became a metaphorical mask that I have wore for decades.

I’m now trying to live my life with an unveiled face.  This process is hard because it requires me to be exposed; not pretending, not acting like I’ve got it all together, not watering down where I have been, or like it was no big deal.  Although I want to change, I still struggle in many areas in my life.  But through prayer I know I will be victorious.

Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m a recovering Adult Child of an Alcoholic.