I am adult child of an alcoholic, an ACoA. I had no idea that this was a category or that I was not alone in this strange feeling that I carried along a past that was somehow possibly burdening my present.
For some of us, it's hard to see the good in ourselves as others see in us-especially if raised in a dysfunctional home where love was not expressed openly. For me, it was a mixed bag of privilege, silence, un-expressed love and fear. On one hand, there I was, the youngest of my siblings with an alcoholic father who was born into a life of militant ways and harsh realities-Haiti, Port Au Prince. Don't get me wrong, I love my heritage and where my blood line stems from. What I never loved as a child was the non-expression and the code of silence growing up. Yet on one hand, I had my loving mother from South America, British Guyana, who did all that she could to build my self-esteem as high as a kite. I was sent to the best schools, put in beauty pageants and was allowed to partake in activities many in my immediate friend circle would only dream of. Perhaps it was my mother's way of keeping my head above water. I'm not sure. One thing I am sure of though, it instilled within me the can-do attitude and self-esteem to get me through almost any and anything I had set my mind to. Of course genetics plays a role in my personality as well.
Living with addiction required us (myself and siblings) to grow up in the midst of frequent changing, stop-and-go, moving in and out and overlapping worlds. Just attempting to figure out the back and forth rhythm made my head spin!
When I think of the not-so-fond memories, I turn them into positives. As an adult, the self-esteem and confidence I gained as a child helped me become the person I am today. Even though I live a normal life as an adult, there are days that I sit back and re-live the trauma of childhood engulfed in nights of a father who went missing for hours or even days on his binge drinking-only to hear my mother screaming at the top of her lungs at his alcoholic ways and most of all, his antics. It seemed never-ending.
Why share such a detail with you? I'm human. I am a survivor. A child who is now an adult, of an addicted parent. I am positive. I am light. I am strong. I am intuitive. I am gifted. I am love.
Suggested Read: Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families Paperback- August 15, 2012 by ACA WSO, INC./Adult Children of Alcoholics Paperback – November 1, 1990 by Janet G. Woititz