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Al-Anon Adult Children (of Alcoholics) Info

The "Adult Child" Syndrome
An Adult Child (of an Alcoholic) is defined as a person who has grown up in a dysfunctional or alcoholic household. There are certain general traits that Adult Children have, which are listed below. Adult Children tend to carry these common characteristics into adulthood as the result of their childhood and upbringing. Adult children often struggle with addiction themselves, marry an alcoholic or addict, or remain in relationships with them. Even if they don't have a substance problem, Adult Children often take on the characteristics of an addict.
There is hope. Many of us are on the road to recovery, and each day brings us closer to true happiness and fulfilling relationships. It is no longer necessary to base our happiness and well-being on those who simply lack the emotional tools to help themselves, much less be functional in our lives. There is hope in Al-Anon and the tools of the program:
  • Meetings
  • Sponsorship
  • The Twelve Steps
  • The Literature
The "Adult Child" Traits
Listed below are the typical personality traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.
  1. Are you frightened by people in authority? Do you rebel against people in authority, or authority figures?
  2. Do you need the approval of others? Do you need to be accepted by others to the point of neglecting your own personal needs?
  3. Are you a victim of past circumstances?
  4. Do you constantly or consistently place the needs of others before your own?
  5. Are your close relationships with people who need to be taken care of? Do you tend to rescue people?
  6. Are you hard on yourself? Are you critical of yourself? Do you "beat yourself up" or blame yourself?
  7. Is it difficult, even impossible, to "let go", have fun?
  8. Are you different? Are others "normal", and you are not?
  9. Are you hyper-responsible? Or are you irresponsible?
  10. Do you have difficulty attracting or maintaining intimate relationships?
  11. Do you isolate yourself? Especially in difficult times?
  12. Do you have to convince others that you are right, or that you are acceptable?
  13. Have you ever been in a relationship with an alcoholic, addict or other compulsive person?
  14. Do others frighten you when they become angry?
  15. Do you like "living on the edge", or taking risks? Do you constantly "bet on the long shot"?
  16. Would you rather give in to others than stand up for yourself? Is it difficult to tell others about your feelings?
  17. Do you overreact to situations? Do you "rage" when you become cornered or frightened?
  18. Do you cling to relationships beyond the point of reason, or when they become abusive, painful, or one-sided?
  19. Are you stubborn beyond reason? Do you have a difficult time seeking and heeding the honest guidance of someone wiser or more experienced?
  20. Do you feel that you spend a lot of time cleaning up after others?
  21. Do you difficulty following a project through from beginning to end?
  22. Do you lie, or avoid the truth, or "lie by omission" when it would be just as easy to tell the truth?
Answer the questions honestly. How many of the questions did you answer "Yes" to? Here's the breakdown:
  • 1-5 Yes answers: pretty good.
  • 6-10 Yes answers: keep working.
  • 11-15 Yes answers: do you have a sponsor?
  • 16 or more Yes answers: you'd better get to a meeting. Check out the schedule to the left.
Alcoholism is a family disease. Those of us who live with, or have have lived with, this disease as children or adults sometimes have problems which the Al-Anon program can help us to resolve. If you have answered yes to some of all of the above questions, Al-Anon may be of help to you. You can contact Al-Anon by checking your local telephone directory, or from the Resources page. Phone numbers and Contact Information for the Austin Area are listed on the Contact Page of this website.