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Post Info TOPIC: Step 1 - Adult Children of Alcoholics


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Step 1 - Adult Children of Alcoholics


From the ACA Steps:

1: We admitted we were powerless over the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

For me the key to getting on Step 1 was realizing the reason why my life had become unmanageable.  My wife had left me and my relationship with my new (at the time) woman was rocky and my life seemed crazy and I seemed to make the same kinds of mistakes in my personal life over and over again and I didn't know why.

I casually said something to my therapist which led her to realize that my father was an alcoholic (which I always thought was no big deal and didn't have anything to do with me).  She then pointed me to Codependent No More which pointed me to ACA.

I discovered that a whole host of self-defeating behaviors and choices were coming from a childlike reaction to the events in my FOO.  I was powerless but thank the Higher Power I finally knew over what.



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Hi I have only realised that my thinking and behaviours are due to being brought up by my alcoholic mother who I never remember being sober

For me I can't see a way out of changing these ways as I am mow 47 yrs old . Although I desperately would love help.

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Dh fazakerley


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Hi, Debs, I still struggle with the feeling that there is no way to change my insidiously destructive habits, but just accepting the fact that I need to "recover" myself has helped me. Even as a newbie, I can say, there is help! Please feel to join us for our more general discussion of ACoA issues over at http://acoa.activeboard.com/.

As for Step 1, I realized my life had become unamangeable when I finally heard my husband say, "Grow up! Be an adult!"

He had said that to me numerous times, but I always blamed him for my behavior, resented him...I never heard him really. 

But then I finally heard what he was saying. I realized that I never really tried to manage my life. I did not take responsibility for managing my life...mainly becuase I inherently did not believe it was possible to manage life.  I did not see that happening in my FOO.

So, yes, my life had become unmanageable.

 

 

 



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jamect, just wanted to send you a Thank You for taking the lead and getting the ACA group on this board.  I believe it will surely help many so they try to come to terms with the reality of their histories and recovery from it.

John



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You're welcome, John.



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For a long time I believed that if I could just work harder, do more, work faster, I could fix my crazy life and my out of control family. After working step one I realized it wasn't a matter of me trying harder to fix someone else. My job was to take care of myself and do what I could to protect my own health and sanity. I say the serenity prayer like a broken record some days to remind me what I can do and what I simply can't. I do not have control over anyone but myself. I do not have control over my mother or the rest of my enabling, blaming, shaming family. Believing I did had caused nothing but pain for me. My life had indeed become unmanageable. I was working like a dog at a job that did not reward me for my efforts, but instead fed into my ACA traits and made me crazier yet. I slept in a chair most nights because I was too depressed to go to bed. I made bad decisions that hurt my body and my heart because I didn't care what happened. I hurt other people. All because I didn't know what else to do. I am grateful for ACA because the steps have helped me to see that I have options and that this life doesn't have to be unmanageable if I don't want it to be.

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I was in a abuse relationship for years. I knew I would leave after i fixed him first. I felt too guilty to have a new life as long as he couldn't live a good life. My HP finally spoke to me and i heard him this time. I have no control over drugs or alcohol. that was tough but I knew in my heart it was correct. I need to take care of myself anf stay out of others business


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Debbie K


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This is my first time in a real ACA setting. I hope to be seeing a lot of you on the internet. Can you tell me what FOO means?

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Kambosa wrote:

This is my first time in a real ACA setting. I hope to be seeing a lot of you on the internet. Can you tell me what FOO means?


FOO stands for Family of Origin, the people you were born to or raised by.



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Hi, Kamboosa, welcome to the boards. I encourage you to check out the link under JamesCT's posts...that is where we do a lot of sharing. I have found the boards here to be a real blessing in my life. They have been instrumental in my following through on really seeking recovery from my dysfunctional past.

I wanted to share with everyone a paragraph I read in the red book about step 1. I found it very helpful to reread...


Step one requires that we admit that our family is dysfunctional and the dysfunction affects our thinking and behavior as adults.  We must admit that we are powerless over the effects of growing up in a dysfunctional home.  Our lives are unmanageable regardless of appearances of self-sufficiency. Social standing or compulsive self-reliance does not equal recovery.  W must realize that will power or self-determination is no match for the effects of growing up in a sick family.  We cannot figure it out on our own.  We need help.  We must shatter the illusion that we can reason out a painless solution.



That last sentence is the most importantarrt for me.

-- Edited by recognizingTRUTH on Friday 2nd of December 2011 08:55:18 PM

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One of the things that the workbook suggests you do in support of Step One is identify people who played these roles in your FOO.

  • The Alcoholic / Addict
  • The Hypochondriac
  • The Sexual Abuser
  • The General (militaristic, rigidly harsh)
  • The Basket Case (emotionally ill or fragile)
  • The Perfectionist

Some of these names came from me because I believe a pithy name can help make a concept digestible.  And there doesn't have to be someone in all of these roles.

In my life, my father was the Alcoholic, and my mother was both the General and the Perfectionist.



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Hi I finally made it here.
I am Linda on the ACoA site and Lindaoakford on the Al Anon site if anyone wants to chat more.
I have no idea how I ended up with differnt names but there it is anyhow.

A few months ago I typed up the workbook for steps one and two I think on the ACoA board, i will have to find it and cut and paste.

How did I know life had become unmanageable? WEll... I think I was headed for a nervous breakdown. My Dad got sober when I was 8, he went to AA and mum to Al Anon so I kinda 'always' knew Dad had a problem and that life wasn't great.
HOwever, because I was so young, I was constantly told I was not affected.
So I believed I wasn't I guess. WEll, Iknew I was, but no one believed me in my family.
Friends I had didn't know drunk Dad so they didn't see it either.

I blamed my dad for all the bad stuff that happened in my life because of his disease my life was crap. I can't say I am over that at this early stage.

My current marriage was fantastic and then it all started to fall apart. To make a long story short, I decided that the common denominator was me in all my crap situations and yes.. life was def unmanageable.


Control issues for me were/are out of control pardon the pun. So yes.. step one is that I am powerless over my past, powerless that I couldn't change what happened to me. This means,,, it isn't my fault. Seems an easy step to take... no... it isn't...
I tried to just acknowledge it and move on. KNowing it and accepting it are two different things.

I knew I needed help when a psych I was seeing for 'other' issues (as if there really are other issues to this), told me that my type of nightmares are concurrent with child abuse. The things I said etc were also concurrent with it.
I had no support to deal with that.

I have now come to the conclusion that I was misused as a child by no fault of anyone. Its what happens. I am powerless over that having happened to me. But the reality is... it did.. now I have to fix me.




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ACA step workbook

 p 30 Qustions:

1. What is my definition of being unmanageable or having an unmanageable life?

2. Do I think I can still control people, places,and things by acting right, perfect, or otherwise?

3. Do I thin I have power over other people and can control thier actins and thoughts?

4. Am I letting the thoughts, feelings and actions of others have power over me?

5. Do I allow the feelings or possible reaction of others to control me or to determine my behaviour and choices?

6. What does it mean to be codependent?

7. Have my relationships created chaos, abuse, or predictable turmoil in my life?

8. Has my behaviour and thinking affected my job performance or my ability to relate to others?

9. What is my ACA bottom or bottoming out? Have I hit my bottom?

10. Has an obsession for antoher perons, drugs, gambling, food or sex made my life unmanageable? HOw?

11. Is my manageable life actually controlling behavikour, which I have mislabeled?

12. Am I in denial about my controlling behaviour?

13. Can I recover alone?

14. Do I realte to other adult children in meetings? How?



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1. What is my definition of being unmanageable or having an unmanageable life? - NOt able to concentrate on the day to day things. Obsessing over past 'things'. NOt able to plan ahead. NOt being happy in life. Hating how my life is going. Crying so much it hurts. Wanting everything to change so I can be happy.

2. Do I think I can still control people, places,and things by acting right, perfect, or otherwise? To a certain extent I guess I still do. If I control what I do on the road, then I shouldn't get a speeding ticket, if I put out 'good vibes' then shouldn't I get good vibes back? If I maintain my cool, then people shouldn't get angry at me. ON the broader sense, I can't control it though, I certainly can't control people. I am a master of emotional manipulation and that is not a good place to be.

3. Do I think I have power over other people and can control thier actions and thoughts? - I have no control over peoples thoughts at all. I would like to make the world love me, but I can't. Actions.. that is a harder one to answer... again, if I do the right thing, then the right thing should be done by me shouldn't it? I can't make someone love me though. I know I should sy no to this question, but I am not so sure it is so cut and dry. I have been told that my moods makes other people walk on eggshells, its not positive but it is proof tha twhat I do affects others. When I am happy my husband is happy. When I am annoyed he gets angry. Is that not control???


4. Am I letting the thoughts, feelings and actions of others have power over me? oh for sure I do that all the time. So I guess that is why I think others could be controlled by my thoughts and actions. Why shouldn't it when I am controlled by them. mmmm maybe that explains a few things then??? I give alot of power to others.

5. Do I allow the feelings or possible reaction of others to control me or to determine my behaviour and choices? oh yes I sure do that. Some of that is a respect. I would not go out of my way to hurt anyone. If my behaviour would have a negative affect on another, I would go out of my way to avoid that. On the negative, I have difficulty going out and leaving my husband at home alone for fear of what he may get up to, so I stay home wiht him.

6. What does it mean to be codependent? LIve vicariously through another is my definition of that.

7. Have my relationships created chaos, abuse, or predictable turmoil in my life? Oh for sure on that one.. definately.

8. Has my behaviour and thinking affected my job performance or my ability to relate to others? ditto

9. What is my ACA bottom or bottoming out? Have I hit my bottom? I think I did. I wanted to die. I couldn't comprehend my life anymore. It had tochange.

10. Has an obsession for antoher perons, drugs, gambling, food or sex made my life unmanageable? HOw? Other persons and food and sex. Too much to write on here but yes definately obsessoin for those things means 'normal' life can't be continued.

11. Is my manageable life actually controlling behavikour, which I have mislabeled? OH I would say so yes. For a couple of years at the beginning of my current relationship I thought everything ahd finally started to go right because I had a great partner and a great life. Then a bombshell hit. What I thought was good and normal was really me having control over everything and everyone. I can only see that now.

12. Am I in denial about my controlling behaviour? Not any more.

13. Can I recover alone? no way

14. Do I realte to other adult children in meetings? How? on the boards.. I can relate to what people say about feelings and events and know this is real. This really did happen to me. I was affected. It could have been so much worse, but what it was, was bad enough for me to need help. Other people recognise that.




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Hello and thank you for this opportunity
Here I go with my first step:
The Alcoholic / Addict - My mother
The Sexual Abuser - My father
The General (militaristic, rigidly harsh) - A grandmother who partly raised me
The Basket Case (emotionally ill or fragile) - Mom


1. What is my definition of being unmanageable or having an unmanageable life? - Having problems in taking healthy, calm, decent decisions. Having problems interacting with people. Doubting that I deserve a place in this world.

2. Do I think I can still control people, places,and things by acting right, perfect, or otherwise? - I slowly understand I cannot control anything yet I give it a try now and then. I am so desperate to find harmony that I sacrifice sometimes the real me for a nicer, more flexible, understanding, generous copy of myself.

3. Do I think I have power over other people and can control thier actins and thoughts? No, I don't believe that anymore and don't have the need to be liked by the entire world. It would be very nice if those I live with (including my mother in law) would find me ok but my happiness does not depend on that. I am a clever person and will find the method to deal with people's criticism.

4. Am I letting the thoughts, feelings and actions of others have power over me? As time passes less and less. I can now make more and more the difference between what belongs to me and what not.

5. Do I allow the feelings or possible reaction of others to control me or to determine my behaviour and choices? The feeling not, the possible reactions yes. I am way too defensive. Want to stay out of trouble, make no trouble,I don't know where I have this idea from, that I am a lot about trouble (for others & myself)?

6. What does it mean to be codependent? To not be able to live without a disfunctionaly person around. To not be able to be oneself but live to complete someone else's puzzle.

7. Have my relationships created chaos, abuse, or predictable turmoil in my life? Yes, of course they did! But I was sooo sure I could manage whatever was "predicted" that I went on and jumoed in the middle of it. Or maybe I was not sure I deserved anything better?

8. Has my behaviour and thinking affected my job performance or my ability to relate to others? Yes, I was - and still am even if not in that degree anymore - 100% codependant. I took jobs under my education and accepted to be payed much less than others although I had better results. I was promised positions that were tan given to someone else based on family-friends-since-generations. Not only that I accepted that, I even offered my full support to the person who took that position and made friend with her.

9. What is my ACA bottom or bottoming out? Have I hit my bottom? The years of depresion, of suicidal intentions, borderline simptoms, poor health, negative self-image and zero self-esteem - do they count?

10. Has an obsession for antoher perons, drugs, gambling, food or sex made my life unmanageable? HOw? Yes. I lived 10 years of my precious life thinking I was in love with a person and that if that person would have wanted me I would have been happy forever. No drugs except cigarettes, which I quit after 17 years of sucessfully impulsivelly smoking. Never understood how games and gambling work so no risk in that. I see food as the fuel of the body so I'll eat to stay alive. As a young woman I was sexually very active and adventurous but I would not call that obsession, maybe hormones?

11. Is my manageable life actually controlling behavikour, which I have mislabeled? I have problems understanding this question. I try to focus on myself, even stay out of gossip because that would mean getting unusefull infos about people. Maybe I succeed, maybe I am in denial, who could tell?

12. Am I in denial about my controlling behaviour? Hahaha! I guess I'll simply have to keep writing in my diary, be very specific, and than read it from time to time to see things more clearly.

13. Can I recover alone? No. I need fellow-ACOAs, my HP and a lot of love.

14. Do I realte to other adult children in meetings? How? ACOA meetings are almost inexistant in Europe.






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hi
maybe I can help with number 11
For me... I previously thought my life was going well. I had left my husband and moved in with a wonderful man. IN those first throws of romantic love where we would do anything and everything for each other. He would listen to me and we woudl talk for hours.

I thought I had finally found a manageable life. Then he didn't do something that I asked one day. Then he wanted to do something different to our arranged plan. Then he stopped doing some of the housework. Then I started 'losing control'.

I thought it was a manageable life, but really, he was so in love that I was in control of situations. He still loves me just as much, but you may understand what I mean by that first flurry of romance and devotion before every day life seems to kick in that flow of oxytocin diminishes hahahaha.

It is mislabelled control. I am happy when I think things are going 'right' but really, I am happy when things are going 'my way'.. when I have control over my environment.


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The Alcoholic / Addict~ both parents and later in life brother, husband
The Hypochondriac
The Sexual Abuser~ neighbor
The General (militaristic, rigidly harsh)~ mother
The Basket Case (emotionally ill or fragile)~ mother
The Perfectionist~ mother

1. What is my definition of being unmanageable or having an unmanageable life? chaos, crisis and any dysfunctions that hinder growth.

2. Do I think I can still control people, places,and things by acting right, perfect, or otherwise? No, but I regress at times.

3. Do I think I have power over other people and can control thier actions and thoughts? No, but I regress at times.

4. Am I letting thoughts, feelings and actions of others have power over me? Yes, still need work here.

5. Do I allow the feelings or possible reaction of others to control me or to determine my behaviour and choices? At times

6. What does it mean to be codependent? I am the poster child.

7. Have my relationships created chaos, abuse, or predictable turmoil in my life? Yes, yes and yes.

8. Has my behaviour and thinking affected my job performance or my ability to relate to others? yes

9. What is my ACA bottom or bottoming out? Have I hit my bottom? I hit my bottom over a year ago right before I found Al-anon.

10. Has an obsession for another persons, drugs, gambling, food or sex made my life unmanageable? How? yes I was addicted to my exAH, sex and food.

11. Is my manageable life actually controlling behaviour, which I have mislabeled? I am letting go of control.

12. Am I in denial about my controlling behaviour? Could be.

13. Can I recover alone? No, therapy and Al-anon have been great help.

14. Do I relate to other adult children in meetings? Yes How? Childhood chaos makes you merely survive.






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FLOP,

"Recovery isn't winning, it's not playing" and "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"

F.E.A.R. = false evidence appearing real

INSANITY = doing the same thing over nad over again and expecting different results.



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Linda: thank you

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Oh my goodness gracious!  Ditto! Ditto! Ditto! 

 

I am still in that space in large part. 

 

Fingers crossed, lots of meetings, step work, program calls, prayer and I hope I can change.



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The Alcoholic / Addict - My grandfather and many great grandfathers, all dead before I was born
The Sexual Abuser - My father - with his inappropriate comments
The General (militaristic, rigidly harsh) - My mother, grandfather, me to myself
The Basket Case (emotionally ill or fragile) - Mother, me sometimes
The Rageaholic - my grandfather, aunt, mother
The Intellectual without Warmth - my father, mother, me sometimes


1. What is my definition of being unmanageable or having an unmanageable life?
Rushing through the day at work, not stopping to pee, chewing gum to maintain focus, not taking breaks, making errors because I am rushing, being sure I am going to be or should be fired even as I am complimented for a good job, freaking out at disapproval/criticism and taking it so hard I wish I would die.

2. Do I think I can still control people, places,and things by acting right, perfect, or otherwise?
Well, yes, I must still believe that. I tried all day to be perfect at work but I made mistakes because I was so panicky/in fearful dysfunctional thinking. Then I panicked further when I saw I had made the mistakes. Still hoping I can stop making mistakes, then be safe, then be happy and relax.

3. Do I think I have power over other people and can control thier actins and thoughts?
Yes, I think I still believe that. I can prevent their anger if I don't make mistakes and if I meet their needs. I still operate in that mode.

4. Am I letting the thoughts, feelings and actions of others have power over me?
Yesterday, someone "berated" me for not reading the full pages related to duties in a service position. At the time, I feel really wrong, bad, terrible, guilty. I made a program call. It turns out that that person's anger is hers. I can leave it with her. I am saying this intellectually, not beleiving in down deep yet.

5. Do I allow the feelings or possible reaction of others to control me or to determine my behaviour and choices?
Yes, as someone else wrote, I want to stay out of trouble, make no trouble. So today, I corrected typos in other people's documents, all the while kicking me for not having corrected their typos sooner, did not take a break and now I am worn out, lonely, neck hurts, dehdrated and ignoring my pets. Ah, help Higher Power, I am still up to my old trick and can't do this alone.

6. What does it mean to be codependent?
To fear criticism, mistakes, anger of others. To spend most days seekign to avoid potential criticism, anger, attack. Catastrophizing what will happen if i don't get it right for people. And imagining what getting it right means for them as if I am in their heads.

7. Have my relationships created chaos, abuse, or predictable turmoil in my life?
Yes, predictable turmoil - at work, me everyday, worrying that I did not do enough and putting myself down and needing pep talks.

Yes, dating an abusive boyfriend and thinking if I would just be nicer, more patient, he would be okay, then I would be okay. In the meantime, I scared my family with my depression and anxiety over this boyfriend.

8. Has my behaviour and thinking affected my job performance or my ability to relate to others?
Yes, I rush at work, can't think clearly, don't prioritize tasks, say yes to all requests, get resentful, fantasize about quitting, get grouchy.

9. What is my ACA bottom or bottoming out? Have I hit my bottom?
I have "crashes" once per week or so, where I get crazy in my thinking about what a failure I am. Is that a bottom? I don't know. Maybe not if I still do it?

10. Has an obsession for antoher perons, drugs, gambling, food or sex made my life unmanageable? HOw?
Yes, tried to make boyfriends happy, even if they mistreated me, then I would try to be more patient, more understanding, more kind. Sometimes though I would get so angry with them I would yell/rage and then feel ashamed of me.

11. Is my manageable life actually controlling behaviour, which I have mislabeled?
My job is to manage a number of projects. I am miserable in this job and stressed much of the time. It is so tough for me as an ACA-er who wants to get it perfect and control all. Hard to tell for me when I am following up as appropriate and when I am being controlling or doing more than my part. It is gray to me. I can suppose thought that if I feel this stressed, I must be straying into control territory.

12. Am I in denial about my controlling behaviour? I think probably yes.

13. Can I recover alone? No. I need help from people in the program, my HP and time.

14. Do I realte to other adult children in meetings? How? Share in meetings, do service, make program calls, participate in this forum.

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Thanks, Linda and James, for posting these exercises.

My mom was the addict, the hypocondriac, and the basket case. My father was the General.


1. What is my definition of being unmanageable or having an unmanageable life?

There have been many behaviors in my life that clearly indicated that my life had become unmanageable -- tolerating physical abuse, years of smoking pot even when I knew deep in my heart that I did not want to be smoking, repeating the same fights over and over with my spouse, the suicidal thoughts that would creep in my head when I was deep in victim mode, the unhappiness that would hang over me, the shame, the guilt. Much of this became magnified after my mothers passing. It was then that i started to realize that all my bad decisions and bad behavior could not all be blamed on my spouse. I had always thought that it was his fault because all my behaviors were just reactions to his behavior. I had long recognized the resentment towards him that i had harbored....but for so long i thought it was justified and appropriate.

And then when my son was born. And when the arguing continued and my tearfulness continued...in front of my son....well, I knew i needed help. I realized that despite my efforts to manage the situation for the past decade or more...well, life had truly become unmanageable. It had been, but I finally reached the point where I knew I had to fix me in ways that I never considered.

It was at this point that I had finally heard my husband beg me to act like an adult, to grow up, to accept responsibility for decisions that I had made, and to please help him make good decisions for our family.

It was then that I realized that I really was an adult child, that I needed to re-parent myself, lovingly, gently...and firmly.

To answer the question directly, my definition of having an unmanageable life is walking around feeling like a victim, drained of the power to make any decisions, repeating the same insane behavior, seeing the behavior repeat but unable to make it stop.

2. Do I think I can still control people, places,and things by acting right, perfect, or otherwise?

Yes. I believe if I am smart, funny and friendly, people will like me. Fortunately, I don't spend a lot of time about "people" liking me. However, I am absolutely consumed with the thought if my husband is happy with me. It has become pretty clear that if I do not act "right" at least most of the time, it will cause a lot of friction in our relationship. But to him acting right is not being selfish, responding to what is going on around me rather than what is in my head, acting in a sensible manner, etc. Most of the time. But when he is an unhealthy state of mind, acting "right" is very specific and remembering all the rules that he has created in and around the house.

So while I truly feel like I have no control over my husband, I often worry and feeling like I am walking on eggshells, because I might be screwing up at any minute. I am often unaware of me not acting "right" until he brings it to my attention. I am trying to work on that.

To be honest, when I am suffering from poor emotional regulation, I feel like I have no control over myself or my life. When thinking clearly I know that this is not only inaccurate, it is a root cause of many of my issues.

3. Do I think I have power over other people and can control their actions and thoughts?

Not really, see above. I don't think I can even control my own thoughts and actions. With the caveat, I think if I could just do everything right all the time, my husband would be happy with me and be happy with life. However, I often am resentful of feeling this way, so I get caught up in the emotions and stop being able to/caring about doing the right thing.

I spend a lot of time worrying that my husband is not happy with his life...and that it is my fault. So while I do not actively think that I can control his thoughts and actions, in fact, I feel so out of control...and yet, I still feel responsible for his negative thoughts and actions.

4. Am I letting the thoughts, feelings and actions of others have power over me?

Oh, yeah. See above. I am totally consumed by thoughts of my husband, constantly seeking his approval.

5. Do I allow the feelings or possible reaction of others to control me or to determine my behaviour and choices?

Definitely. I am a compliant-codependent. My husband is controlling-codependent. Through my actions and my thoughts, I am begging for him to control me. I am continuously giving up control. And yet, I am resentful of him controlling me so I am often passive-aggressive and rebel against in inappropriate ways.

6. What does it mean to be codependent?

I am still working on this one. When I was a teenager, when my mother attended AA and CoDA, there was a time when I joked that my mom and I were in a codependent relationship because she was constantly depending on me for company and emotional support. I now see that this was no joke. That my mother's behavior had seriously affected my ability to regulate my own emotions, maintain my own self-esteem, etc.

A few years back, I realized that I was obsessed in unhealthy ways about my relationship with my husband. For a long time I accused him of being controlling and dominating. It took a lot longer for me to recognize my own responsibility for the unhealthiness in our relationship.

7. Have my relationships created chaos, abuse, or predictable turmoil in my life?

Yes. My mother created a significant amount of very consistent turmoil in my life (but a whole lot more in her own life!) And yes, my husband and I both have patterns of behavior that created very predictable turmoil in our home life.

One issue that I have is that I have allowed my husband to "control" many of my relationships with friends and family by heavily influencing my thoughts and decisions about the relationships I have with other people.

8. Has my behaviour and thinking affected my job performance or my ability to relate to others?

Yes. I naturally have an addictive personality, and while I am still quite successful, I allow myself to spend a significant amount of time on the internet. My addictive personality (cigarettes for a while, pot for quite a while and now just over-priced coffee drinks) has caused serious friction with my husband.

I have lost some important friendships because i suffer from serious bouts of not being able/willing to communicate with anyone except my husband. I have only recently recognized that I often avoided my friends because of the shame and guilt I felt on the inside.

9. What is my ACA bottom or bottoming out? Have I hit my bottom?

I don't know if I have hit bottom. It seems like there were plenty of situations that should have been the bottom (all of which involved serious fights with my husband). Fortunately, I am now focusing on recovery before I hit such low points again. I could imagine the following situations being true bottoms: my husband physically attacking me again (has been a long while since that has happened); my husband leaving me and taking our son; my son seeing me have a non-healthy emotional breakdown; my son hearing my husband lecture me about my behavior, me losing my job due to poor performance.

10. Has an obsession for antoher perons, drugs, gambling, food or sex made my life unmanageable? HOw?

Well, I think I made it clear that my obsession with my husband's thoughts/feelings/behaviors have made my life unmanageable. For about 8 years, I could not control my pot use. (I would smoke when I really didn't want to, when my HP told me not to smoke) These years really broke down my self-esteem and created many of the problems I have with my husband today.

11. Is my manageable life actually controlling behaviour, which I have mislabeled?

Nope. My issue is lack of control. Lack of the fundamental belief that life can be managed.

12. Am I in denial about my controlling behaviour?

Probably, but I think only in the case of my husband. (I have so few other relationships.) In many ways by giving up control, I am forcing him to be in control. He is super-responsible...so if I don't make a decision or do something that needs to be done, he will.

13. Can I recover alone?

Oh, no. I have tried that, and all I did was create more problems and more mental chatter. Until I found ACoA, I thought I had to do it alone since seeing a counselor is not an option for me right now.

14. Do I relate to other adult children in meetings? How?

Yes, through the online forums and online meetings, I have realized that I am not alone, that I am not the only adult who is struggling with self-regulation and self-esteem issues. I see that others are seeking to recover from dysfunctional childhoods. I see that relapses happen but it is not the end of the world. Recovery continues. I see that this is a long journey, a worthwhile journey.

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This is very similar to various pieces of the information in the Big Book of AA, but with more detail for this specific malady. Excellent. I am the alcoholic in the family, but they have the "disease" too - drinkers or not. They affected me and I responded by creating survival skills that only worked for so long. I know today they were affected too. The solution is not to change them - it is highly unlikely that will happen...it's to change the ideas, emotions, and attitudes that formed in my head long ago. The solution is always God and the 12 steps, and I am here (and beginning to go to ACA meetings) to accept more about myself and look for more tools, and fellowship. I can run from my parents, but whether I stay or go, I have to change my survival skills. I must apply spiritual principles better right now so I stop taking the bait. I cannot do this of my own self will, correct. I have to include God in the picture and ask Him to help me so it's automatic. Good to be here.

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I feel my family is dysfunctional, and I'm always fighting the notion that I am powerless over it.

My mom is an A and an emotional basket case. Every "conversation" we have she's obsessing over tedious details and making plans (most of which she has no intention of carrying out.)

my father might be an addict/alcoholic (he left too early in life for me to really know) but he IS a General and the sexual abuser. (not me, as far as i know today. but always making VERY inappropriate sexual remarks, as young as i remember)

My grandmother was a bit of a general, more of a basket case. The intellectual without warmth is most everyone else. We're all very cold and distant. Hugs without love, advice without love, etc.

This is just one "family". I am adopted and know nothing about my biological family. I just know i feel abandoned.

My fathers side of my adopted family seemingly disappeared after my parents divorce. My mothers adoptive family is the only one I'm in contact with. (And by "contact" i mean being second-hand invited to events/holidays and being asked WHERE ARE YOU/WHAT ARE YOU DOING)

I'm never comfortable in any family. I always feel alone and abandoned. I never know what to do about it and feel angry and envious at everyone elses "functional" families.

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Hello everyone. Thank you for your shares.  This will be my first big share and I'm anxious to get it out....

FOO

Father - A, adulterer, spender/heavy debt, undependable, harsh, loner

Mother - Co-depenent, perfectionist, people pleaser, enabler, neurotic, anxiety-ridden, depressed

ACA step workbook

p 30 Qustions:

1. What is my definition of being unmanageable or having an unmanageable life? I don't feel like I am livinjg. 

of my days are consumed by thinking and wondering what other people are doing Or  how happy they are or how an ex is doing without me.  I also spend my time wondering what the point is of all of this. There is no meaning for me and that leads me to wonder if I will ever have a family of my own because at least, in that, I can find meaning.  I feel very alone all the time in my own mind.  I have been unable to make a relationship work.  I choose unhealthy people and seem to not want a relationship once I have one, even though all I think about when I dont have one is having one.  I will do everything in my power to get an ex back (truly missing them and wanting them when I dont have them) only to find that once I have them I end up irritated and wishing I was alone.

2. Do I think I can still control people, places,and things by acting right, perfect, or otherwise?

I still try to control sometimes by my actions or words but I know when I am doing it and feel badly and ashamed when doing so.  I have also become aware enough to not do or say what I want knowing it will be manipulative.  I dont want to feel that way anymore or to do that to the people I care about who also care about me.

3. Do I thin I have power over other people and can control thier actins and thoughts?

I think there are always people I could control if I wanted tounhealthy people.  I do not want to do that or feel like I need to in order to make them love me or stay in a relationship with me while I refuse to actually take full part in the relationship.

4. Am I letting the thoughts, feelings and actions of others have power over me?

Yes, I always succumb to this.  The current example would be my last relationship.  My ex recently had enough of my back and forth and told me she did not want to see me any longer. This devastated me even though we havent been together for awhile.  Something in that finality (loss of control) just really hit me hard.  It was the bottom that brought me here because it seemed an unfitting reaction to the news.  My reaction as overboard and clearly had a much deeper meaning than just her saying that.  I think it brought up all the abandonment issues I have.again, I no longer had control. I dont want it but yet seem to need it.

5. Do I allow the feelings or possible reaction of others to control me or to determine my behaviour and choices?

 Yes, I always think through how my feelings or behaviors will affect someone else for fear of how they will or will not react.  I am very good at hiding my true feelings in order to keep someone happy or contentbut, of course, the truth always comes out.

6. What does it mean to be codependent?

Co-dependent means having no identity separate from others.   A co-dependent must have others to focus on.  They have very low self-esteem and they do not know who they are without attaching themselves to others.  Co-dependents manipulate with people-pleasing and helplessness.

7. Have my relationships created chaos, abuse, or predictable turmoil in my life?

Yes, yes and yes.  Most of my relationships have had the characteristics of chaos, turmoil and abuse and the ones that didnt are the ones I rejected and didnt want.

8. Has my behaviour and thinking affected my job performance or my ability to relate to others?

Yes, my thinking is often cloudy, mired and pre-occupied by personal relationship issues which have affected my work product from time to time. If particularly upset, I find it nearly impossible to concentrate.

9. What is my ACA bottom or bottoming out? Have I hit my bottom?

See above for my ACA bottom.

10. Has an obsession for antoher perons, drugs, gambling, food or sex made my life unmanageable? HOw?

Yes, I have had strong addictions for people.  Both were characterized by high highs and low lows. These people were unhealthy also and unable to actually love me.  One let me go while the other kept me tethered to her in a perfect dance we worked out with our unhealthy personalities.  One of us in control at one point then it would shift but neither of us being healthy with each other.  The years I spent in this entanglement left me unable to create any other healthy relationships, caused me great guilt and anxiety, made me feel weak and at times self-hate for not being able to get rid of it and move past it, drink too much, and to not eat enough.  I hid  my true self with this person and my true feelings to keep her and on the other hand when I had had enough of being mistreated, blew up and would finally draw a line only to months later have her return and me cave entirely letting her back in to wreak havoc once again.

11. Is my manageable life actually controlling behavikour, which I have mislabeled?

I would say that there are clearly portions of my manageable life which are mislabeled as control I just dont know how much.  I find I need to work out to feel in control of my weight, eating and health but working out also makes me feel good.  I used to be very obsessive about cleaning but I am less so now, however, everything seems to need to be in perfect control before I can make plans or do something social.  Its insane.  No spontaneity, always worry always anxiety.

12. Am I in denial about my controlling behaviour?

I do not think I am in denial about my controlling behavior though I may not recognize all of it.

13. Can I recover alone?

NO, I cannot recover alone.  I wish I could but I have come to realize I cannot.  I am becoming more and more isolated.

14. Do I realte to other adult children in meetings? How?

I have only been to one live meeting but I related to everyone who spoke.  I have attended two online meetings.

Thank you for reading and please let me know if anyone relates or understands any of what I have written. 

 

 

 

 



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I lost you and have found you again. I am in a place where I have been sober over six years and still know I'm not right. So many issues have been coming up in the last year and 1/2 dealing with family. I know this is exactly what I need, but am frozen trying to place feelings
and thoughts down. I have no local meetings I can attend here, but am hoping to make you my home group if that is possible. I have been reading the workbook tonight and it is wonderful. Both my parents are/were alcoholics. My dad passed at age 59 and mom and stepdad are stilling going strong in their 80's. It's very difficult for me to be around them now, as their actions have become worse and worse as they age.

I have two older brothers - oldest just passed 2 days before his 61st birthday - the smart one, good grades, attorney, barrister etc. etc.
Next younger brother is 18 months younger than the oldest. He has been sober for 21 years but uses a little of the marijuana maintanence program. Vietnam vet and was the "bad child".

I'm the baby and only daugther, spoiled rotten by my father and very distructive relationship with my mother. I was quiet and hid at times
and others I would try to stop the fighting, mostly by pleading and crying. My brothers are 6 1/2 and 8 years older than I.

This disease has passed down to my children, and both of my brothers' children. All different but definately will now be the 5th generation we know of so far.

I have stuffed everything so far down inside me for so many years (55 now) that I'm not sure I can pull it out. I guess I realized my life was unmanageable when my husband told me last night that I am still daddy's little girl and need to start taking responsibility for my actions. Me? How dare you (denial)! It's 2:30 a.m right now and will work on the questions and post tomorrow. Is it ok for me to work on step one or have you all moved on?

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Kambosa, we have online meetings at our sister board if you'd like to attend.  Click the link in my signature.

Yes, please work Step 1.  We will come back and work with you.



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HOw are you going Kambosa?

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I'm doing ok. Thinking about all this is really difficult for me. I want to protect my sick family, yet I am have such rage for them too. The questions are bringing out quite a bit of things I had chosen to forget. Thanks a lot! Don't like feelings - is this normal? I don't like them at all!

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Kambosa wrote:

I'm doing ok. Thinking about all this is really difficult for me. I want to protect my sick family, yet I am have such rage for them too. The questions are bringing out quite a bit of things I had chosen to forget. Thanks a lot! Don't like feelings - is this normal? I don't like them at all!


Is this typical for going through the steps?  Yes.  We have been so long told to not feel things or to call one feeling something else that we are confused by feelings and find feelings unwelcome.  Feelings make us very uncomfortable and frightened.  It is to be expected.  But you have to go through it to get past it.



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Hi,

I`m new here.

My father was the alcoholic in my family of origin. He passed on several months ago and I am having all sorts of difficulties resurfacing, issues from ACOA patterns that I thought I had already dealt with.

Guess it`s time to do another round of ACOA Step work and reach out for support.

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Hi- here I go! I'm the adult child of an alcoholic father and June Cleaver mother.  Raised in a catholic home although dad never went to church; he couldn't stay sober long enough. Ok keeping the focus on me.  I am active in another 12 step program; married a man to keep my abandonment issues going. I have been a member of this other 12 step group 6 years and have known I needed to work on my FOO issues. I found a 12 step ACA group and attended 3 meetings but didn't feel right for me. It's time to try again.  I'm new to this forum and quite frankly desperate to try anything. 

Signs that my life is unmanageable:

My eating is out of control. Food is my comfort something to make me feel better but in the end I feel shame and guilt around my eating.

I am isolating, don't feel I have anyone to share what's going on in my head

Lack of motivation, just doing enough to get by

Confusion, difficulty focusing on personal issues

Lack of connectedness with HP. I pray but don't feel I'm being heard or feel any relief. I try meditating to hear HP's will but nothing.

Overall feeling of hopelessness

I will begin working step one although I'm sure the group is further along.  Thanks for being here!

A grateful member,

Jewels

 

 

 



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Jewels wrote:

Hi- here I go! I'm the adult child of an alcoholic father and June Cleaver mother.  Raised in a catholic home although dad never went to church; he couldn't stay sober long enough. Ok keeping the focus on me.  I am active in another 12 step program; married a man to keep my abandonment issues going. I have been a member of this other 12 step group 6 years and have known I needed to work on my FOO issues. I found a 12 step ACA group and attended 3 meetings but didn't feel right for me. It's time to try again.  I'm new to this forum and quite frankly desperate to try anything. 

Signs that my life is unmanageable:

My eating is out of control. Food is my comfort something to make me feel better but in the end I feel shame and guilt around my eating.

I am isolating, don't feel I have anyone to share what's going on in my head

Lack of motivation, just doing enough to get by

Confusion, difficulty focusing on personal issues

Lack of connectedness with HP. I pray but don't feel I'm being heard or feel any relief. I try meditating to hear HP's will but nothing.

Overall feeling of hopelessness

I will begin working step one although I'm sure the group is further along.  Thanks for being here!

A grateful member,

Jewels

 

 

 


You're welcome.  We'll work with you as you go.  You're not behind.  You're starting where you are.  And we'll take you where you are.



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Nakoda here. I found this site and was directed to the Step Forum. I have a sponser am on step 4 and have been working the Blue Book. However, I just did not feel I was getting enough out of the excercises. Enlightening from an intellectual standpoint but not heart knowledge or transformative emotionally? 

I did Step 4 here on the forum and realized this is what I need. I have never attended a ACA meeting, we don't have them around here so I didn't know what I was missing! So, I am back at Step 1 because I'm ready to start loving myself first. Whatever it takes.

1: We admitted we were powerless over the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

With my alcoholic father and then my alcoholic ex I was able to blame unmanageability on them. I haven't seen my father in 30+ years, my ex in 10 years and while I had some personal growth through ALANON a recent relationship had me reacting as I had with the alcoholics. Complete terror of abandonment when I knew all along he was moving to take a new job. And then complete obsession on how to keep the relationship going. Obviously, now I am the one making my life unmanageable.

Yesterday a passage was read in a meeting will you stay in the shadows or come to the sun? I believe the shadow over my life is when I make myself my HP yes I become big and powerful in my sick mind but I am actually casting the shadow over myself. Nakoda

"Sometimes I go about pitying myself and all the while I am being carried across the sky by beautiful clouds." -Ojibway



-- Edited by Nakoda on Thursday 26th of April 2012 03:26:28 PM

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Step 1

The Alcoholic / Addict Father The Hypochondriac Fathers MotherThe Sexual Abuser Father The General (militaristic, rigidly harsh) Father "The Silent Martyr" Mother

1. What is my definition of being unmanageable or having an unmanageable life?

Trying to act as if Im my higher power, forcing outcomes, using humor to get others to like and ultimately not abandon me, using humor as a shield. Expecting to draw healthy people into my life when I myself am not healthy.

2. Do I think I can still control people, places, and things by acting right, perfect, or otherwise?

Intellectually no, but when I feel scared or threatened I start my particular dance of idiocy.

3. Do I think I have power over other people and can control their actions and thoughts?

Again, logically no but if I dont overtly try to control I will revert into a downward spiral of obsession, ruminate endlessly, lose sleep, lose appetite, smoke.  

4. Am I letting the thoughts, feelings and actions of others have power over me?

Yes, generally I am strong, self-confident, in all areas except in relationships.

5. Do I allow the feelings or possible reaction of others to control me or to determine my behavior and choices?

Again, in relationships I will do anything to avoid being abandoned. I will constantly fish for compliments, test to determine if the person still wants me. If I get the sense I am not cherished I will push the person to force an outcome or push them away, or just run.

6. What does it mean to be codependent?

Letting the thoughts feelings and actions of my partner to have power over me, and allowing their reactions to determine my self-worth. I.E. insane controlling behavior.

7. Have my relationships created chaos, abuse, or predictable turmoil in my life?

Yes, even when things are going relatively smooth in the rest of my life one little comment or lack of affection or attention in my relationship will disrupt my whole life.

8. Has my behavior and thinking affected my job performance or my ability to relate to others?

At work no one knows how scared and powerless I actually feel. People comment on how I maintain my cool, my ability to calm upset people, how amazed they are that I maintain a positive attitude during a stressful day. They dont know I go home and fall apart sometimes.

9. What is my ACA bottom or bottoming out? Have I hit my bottom?

I hope I have hit bottom as I dont know how much more of this self inflicted pain I can take without starting to have physical manifestations. See answer below

10. Has an obsession for another persons, drugs, gambling, food or sex made my life unmanageable? How?

I recently hit bottom with a week of insanity where I didnt sleep, eat, or take care of myself (except at work) smoked a half pack a day until I heard from him and then asked for my needs to be met or was it forced an outcome? (still not sure if it was one or the other, another problem when upset I second guess my program) by jokingly (too scared to be risk honesty) requesting more contact. Followed by another couple days of complete insanity waiting for a response. Yes, Im a reactor.

 11. Is my manageable life actually controlling behavior, which I have mislabeled? 

Yes.

12. Am I in denial about my controlling behavior?

No. I am the queen of misguided control.

13. Can I recover alone?

No. I realize I need more than just ALANON meetings and 12 Step program, I need to face the abuse, pain and the empty spot inside me that no one but I through my HP can fill. I hope and pray using ACA I can recover.

14. Do I relate to other adult children in meetings? How?

No ACA meetings where I live most of the women in my home group have alcoholic husbands and children. I can learn from them, relate to their pain but I think my injuries are so deep and buried and I feel so sick and phony that I know I need something more.

 



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Hi I am new to the online board. I am 25 and have been attending ACOA meetings for two months. At first I was all excited and ready for it, and now I am hear at the bottom dreading that I may never change, that I am doomed to be this way for my entire life. I feel as though I do not know who I am. I lived thinking my reactions were normal until I started couseling for anxiety and then realized that most of my reactions or traits come from my dysfunctional family. My father is a drug addict/alcoholic, he was also abusive towards my mother. My mother is an enabler, and many other things I have yet to figure out, my brother is now an drug addict. I feel alone and like I should just fit in with my family and do whatever they do atleast I would feel as though I would fit in right. I have a 6 year old little girl and I want so bad to raise her in a home that was nothing like mine. With love and care. I think I have done okay so far, but my life seems crazy all the time. I want to recover and learn how to work the program. I am not sure where to start exactly.. Any suggestions would be great...

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bmsjhl wrote:

Hi I am new to the on-line board. I am 25 and have been attending ACOA meetings for two months. At first I was all excited and ready for it, and now I am hear at the bottom dreading that I may never change, that I am doomed to be this way for my entire life. I feel as though I do not know who I am. I lived thinking my reactions were normal until I started counseling for anxiety and then realized that most of my reactions or traits come from my dysfunctional family. My father is a drug addict/alcoholic, he was also abusive towards my mother. My mother is an enabler, and many other things I have yet to figure out, my brother is now an drug addict. I feel alone and like I should just fit in with my family and do whatever they do at least I would feel as though I would fit in right. I have a 6 year old little girl and I want so bad to raise her in a home that was nothing like mine. With love and care. I think I have done okay so far, but my life seems crazy all the time. I want to recover and learn how to work the program. I am not sure where to start exactly.. Any suggestions would be great...


 How I approached it when I first started was that I attended meetings (on-line) and read the forums regularly, just absorbing people's ESH, all while continuing the personal counseling that got me here in the first place.  Then I started sharing in the meetings.  Then I acquired the literature, first reading the big red book, then actively working the steps as best I could without a sponsor in the yellow workbook.  I hope that helps.



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-- Edited by existhere71 on Monday 6th of August 2012 05:02:19 PM

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bmsjhl wrote:

Hi I am new to the online board. I am 25 and have been attending ACOA meetings for two months. At first I was all excited and ready for it, and now I am hear at the bottom dreading that I may never change, that I am doomed to be this way for my entire life. I feel as though I do not know who I am. I lived thinking my reactions were normal until I started couseling for anxiety and then realized that most of my reactions or traits come from my dysfunctional family. My father is a drug addict/alcoholic, he was also abusive towards my mother. My mother is an enabler, and many other things I have yet to figure out, my brother is now an drug addict. I feel alone and like I should just fit in with my family and do whatever they do atleast I would feel as though I would fit in right. I have a 6 year old little girl and I want so bad to raise her in a home that was nothing like mine. With love and care. I think I have done okay so far, but my life seems crazy all the time. I want to recover and learn how to work the program. I am not sure where to start exactly.. Any suggestions would be great...


 

Hi,

I'm new here as well, and I feel like my life is most days out of control. I totally agree with you on wanting to raise your child in a safe and loving home, which is something that neither of us has ever experienced. My son is four, and I could never treat him the way that I was treated. He is a blessing, and the last thing I want to do is scar his young life by my own careless actions. Sometimes I feel so bad for the childhood that I lost. The two of us might be playing games or just laughing at a movie and I start crying. I cry because I cannot remember being that happy with either of my alcholic/drug addicted parents. My son then looks at me as if he has done something wrong, and I hate to see that face. One thing that came out of growing up in such an abusive home is that I now know the type of mother that I do not want to be.

There is hope for us all



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From recognizingTRUTH's original post:

Step one requires that we admit that our family is dysfunctional and the dysfunction affects our thinking and behavior as adults.  We must admit that we are powerless over the effects of growing up in a dysfunctional home.  Our lives are unmanageable regardless of appearances of self-sufficiency. Social standing or compulsive self-reliance does not equal recovery.  W must realize that will power or self-determination is no match for the effects of growing up in a sick family.  We cannot figure it out on our own.  We need help.  We must shatter the illusion that we can reason out a painless solution.


As part of working Step 1, I thought on this a lot. I can honestly say that I have admitted to myself many years ago that my dysfunctional upbringing was responsible for a lot of my feelings, thoughts and behavior in the present. I was never in denial about that, at least. I am guilty of trying to maintain the "I'm okay, nothing affects me" image that my friends and family see everyday. I realize now that even though it appears that I have it all together, I do not. Inside, I am battling with myself daily. I'm so consumed with anxiety, worry, guilt, shame, and I am put other peoples' needs before my own. Most of my actions and decisions are weighted against what other people will think or say. I cannot live like this anymore. I want my desires and opinions to matter. I want to go after whatever I want in this life without worrying about how foolish I will look, or what people expect of me. Lastly, I have to admit to myself that I cannot get better without help. I have struggled for years with the pain on my own and I have gotten no where. I know now that I need others to help me.

Thanks for reading.



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