Change is coming

In this New Year my goal is to work on being more transparent.  As a child of an alcoholic I lived with the shame of being a member of dysfunctional family.  I ignored the reality of my home life and pretended my family was normal; even though I had no idea what normal really was.

I’ve been wearing a mask for years now; the façade of a normal life.  I didn’t know others felt the way I felt growing up.  It’s a great relief to know I’m not alone.  But giving up the mask totally has not been easy.  I’m still hiding to a certain degree and that constricts me.  But through prayer and hard work, I know I will finally be free.

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

#ACoAAwareness

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Shedding 2017

At the close of the year many resolve to lose weight in the New Year. I am no exception as I make this resolution every year.

However, I’ve only recently come to realize a deeper meaning. I liken the resolve to lose weight like a snake shedding its skin. Snakes shed their skin to allow for further growth and to remove parasites that have attached to their old skin. As a snake grows, its skin becomes stretched, grows and transforms.

Weight gain, for me, is tied to my feelings of anxiety and food being my comfort. If I am to transform, I must shed self-destructive behavior. Only then can I stretch, grow, and transform into the person I know I was always meant to be.

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

#ACoAAwareness

LizHawkins@TrinityUniv

 

 

An ACOA Christmas

I remember as a young adult getting together with my family during the holidays.  My alcoholic father had passed on years before and my brothers were now married with children.

We had some of the most dysfunctional holiday get-togethers ever.  There was always liquor and beer flowing and before you knew it an argument would break out.  My brothers would fight with their wives, the wives would fight with each other.  And all the children would be crying.

After so many years of this I could no longer be a part of the family get-togethers.  I felt that my family would never be normal.  I have since established my own traditions with my husband, mother, in-laws, and friends that include good food, good conversation, and no alcohol.

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

#ACoAAwareness

LizHawkins@TrinityUniv

One Famous ACOA

One of my favorite entertainers of all times in the late, great Michael Jackson.  Despite his fame and fortune, he most likely was an undiagnosed ACOA.

Look at his life, Michael Jackson was raised by an abusive father who demanded perfection.  And he grew up to become one of the most popular dysfunctional people.  His life and tragic death, allegedly brought on by drug abuse, illustrates how untreated personal issues can grow from hidden pain to eventually become an unmanageable life and a shortened life span.

Michael was rich and famous and surrounded by brownnosers and hangers-on whose livelihood depended on not challenging the status quo.  If Michael’s family tried to intervene, they were not successful.

He had isolated himself so deeply in a cocoon of denial, drugs and an entourage of so-called protectors, he never had to face reality.  If Michael wasn’t able to come out of his self-imposed isolation, ACOA recovery was an impossibility.

The lesson here is that no matter who you are, how much money or fame you have, the first step to getting badly needed help is still coming out of isolation.

Rest in Peace, Michael

Source: Adult Children of Alcoholic/ACAs/ACOAs/ACODFs Blog

#ACoAAwareness

LizHawkins@TrinityUniv

 

MYTH #3 about ACoAs – OUR SUPPORT GROUPS SHOULD REPLACE OUR UNHEALTHY FAMILIES

If you belong to an ACOA support group you may have made lifelong friends that you dearly love. However, the purpose of the group is to provide a safe place for us to learn about ourselves — not to replace the family of origin. The goal is to come to a place of acceptance, peace and understanding and become open to the possibilities of renewed relationships with our family of origin. We may even be the catalyst for that change. We need to find ways to connect with others, other than by identifying with their level of pain. When our ACOA groups came to an end, the members continued to get together socially and the focus shifted to friendship and fun. When your group experience has run its course, I hope you will add your wonderful new friends to your circle of loved ones.

#ACoAAwareness

LizHawkins@TrinityUniv

Source: Lisa Sue Woititz, author of Unwelcomed Inheritance

MYTH #2 about ACoAs – TREATMENT FOR ACoAs IS THE SAME AS IT IS FOR ALCOHOLICS

Since being an ACOA is not a disease or a medical condition, most of us don’t need the lifelong treatment that an alcoholic needs. For Adult Children of Alcoholics, recovery has everything to do with education –about what alcoholism is and what happened to us as a result of living with it. We need to learn the life skills that our preoccupied parents were not able to teach us and how to move forward through the healing process and onward. With support, we share those difficult experiences and the feelings that go along with them and every once in a while when old hurts resurface we may have to address them again. This is a common human experience that we all share, whether we grew up in an alcoholic home or not.

A continued focus on the past and things that we cannot change can reinforce our feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness. We may continue to blame others for our lot in life instead of using what we have learned to create the life that we want. The best thing that an ACOA therapist or support group can do is to work themselves out of a job — by educating others about the effects of alcoholism and empowering them to fly on their own.

#ACoAAwareness

LizHawkins@TrinityUniv

Source: Lisa Sue Woititz, author of Unwelcomed Inheritance

MYTH #1 about ACoAs: BEING AN ACoA IS A DISEASE 

Alcoholism is characterized as a disease because it is progressive and while it can be arrested it cannot be cured. Like diabetes, cancer, and other diseases, it is a condition that requires ongoing treatment in order to achieve and maintain remission. This is why many recovering alcoholics make a lifelong commitment to their twelve step program – along with abstinence from alcohol, it is part of their treatment plan which helps keep this deadly disease at bay. (Many of us who have alcoholism in our families may have inherited this disease so it’s good to be mindful about our physical predisposition toward alcoholism and addictions in general.)

Living in a home colored by alcoholism can be toxic and we can become mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even physically ill as a result. Treatment and support are often necessary to recover from this prolonged experience so that we can go on to live happy and productive lives. Growing up with an alcoholic parent was traumatic for many of us, and more-so for some than others, so treatment needs may not be the same for everyone. But that is not the same thing as having a disease. Rather, it is a fact of our family history that explains how we became the exquisite individuals that we are. Our past experience puts us in a unique position of deep understanding and ability to help others that have lived through our shared experience.

#ACoAAwareness

Source: Lisa Sue Woititz, author of Unwelcomed Inheritance