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Adult Children of Alcoholics: Expanded Edition

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,263 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Ten years ago, Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. Today she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics. After more than ten years of working with ACoAs she shares the recovery hints that she has found to wor ...more
ebook, 135 pages
Published November 1st 1990 by Health Communications (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Smiley
Dec 29, 2008 Smiley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone touched by alcoholism.
I learned to understand why I've made some of the choices that I've made and how my personality formed the way that it did. Be careful NOT to let this book serve as an excuse for dysfunction, but, as a way to understand it and to liberate yourself from it! It was very eye-opening as I saw parts of myself on many of the pages. We can't change our past but we can ruin a perfectly good future if we don't learn from it!
Lisa
May 08, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: therapists, adult children of alcoholics
This is a must-read for anyone who grew up in a family where addiction was an issue. It is so important to begin to understand the effects of that family system on one's sense of self and on one's relationships. It is a book I recommend to all of my clients when they have grown up in this kind of environment.
James
Feb 28, 2008 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who grew up with parents whose parenting abilities were impaired for whatever reason
A groundbreaking and lifesaving book! Janet Woititz spoke to a lot of people who thought that no one else had their emotional challenges and helped them see that they weren't crazy and it wasn't hopeless. Without bashing alcoholic parents who were doing the best they could, she helps people understand some life skills and people skills that their role models just weren't able to teach them very well. Given that somewhere over 10% of Americans have had serious drinking problems in past and presen ...more
Jessica
Aug 01, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It explains so much of my anxiety in everyday life. I don't feel so alone.
Danielle
Feb 19, 2014 Danielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
This book was excellent at making the distinction between blaming your parents for everything and using your past and how your parents treated you (and may still treat you) as a framework to understand different behaviors and reactions you have in the present.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has alcoholism in their family. I could have done without the poetry, but the real life examples were good. It was refreshing to have so many aspects described so articulately. I think that i
...more
Susan
Mar 09, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adult Children of Alcoholics
Recommended to Susan by: Heather VanDeBoe
This book seemed to be written about ME. After I finished it, I felt sort of exposed but also liberated knowing that I wasn't the only person with these traits or issues. It's encouraged me to look into Al-Anon meetings and also consider seeing a therapist to help me overcome some of these traits and help myself recover.
Denise
Jan 28, 2008 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Very short book and a necessary read for those mentioned in the title. I thought the author must have been following me! :)
David
Jun 27, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Are you the adult child of an alcoholic? Do you have friends or family members that fall into this category? Have you ever wondered what makes you/them tick? If so, I highly recommend you read this little book by Janet Geringer Woititz who describes the typical traits and characteristics of people who have had a lot to overcome from an early age. The author identifies very clearly what kinds of behaviors and attitudes you might expect from ACOA's as well as guidance on how to overcome some of th ...more
Tania
Aug 19, 2011 Tania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book offers an excellent overview and introduction to the impact of growing up in a family where one or both parents abuse alcohol. It is a terrific resource for counselors or individuals alike. The book gives readers excellent information to help them make changes in their lives. The vignettes give the book a more personal feel. It doesn't come across like a dry, academic textbook. I found that the information made sense and was quite useful. It helped me grow and come to terms with some t ...more
Jamila
Jul 10, 2010 Jamila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for my own personal research into the subject for a little self awareness and maybe for some answers. The book has a broad spectrum of experiences to create a point of relation for a lot of people and provides useful information about dealing in a proactive manner.

This did help me open my eyes to a lot of the ways I was dealing and approaching life. It helped me recognize my own behaviors and why I kept getting into unhealthy relationships, didn’t understand “normal, “why my lif
...more
Jenna Shaffer
Oct 01, 2015 Jenna Shaffer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
This is such a personal topic and journey that I cannot justify saying you should or shouldn't read ACOA.

What I can say is that, many questions I had or couldn't quite articulate were spelled out in plain English. This book changed my life, and I finally feel free.

I can only hope that others who have suffered from an alcoholic parent/s find the same comfort and strength that I found reading ACOA. We deserve that much.
Jessica Oban
I read this on recommendation by my therapist and, to tell you the truth, it was kind of hard to read emotionally. My "father" did drugs and alcohol when I was little, but when he stopped, the verbal and mental abuse came. I was never good enough. He screamed at me, called me names, and made me so afraid of even making a single move because it wasn't right in his eyes. He tried to ground my brother so that he didn't have to go to the school's open house.

All of what I felt in my childhood, were
...more
Jessica
Jul 26, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In some ways, the characteristics listed were so spot-on they made me laugh. In some ways, they seemed more representative of my sisters or friends who are ACOAs than of me. We all internalize things a little differently, I guess.

Anyway, the descriptions -- particularly when the author explained why it made sense that someone would respond in a dysfunctional way to a dysfunctional situation -- were generally helpful.

Some of the follow up stuff still has me a bit dubious, though. To get love, tel
...more
Sue
Nov 12, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I began reading this, I had no intention of putting it on Goodreads, even though I put every other book I read on here. If I did, people would know that I am, in fact, an adult child of an alcoholic and what would they think of me? Then I realized I was feeding into the culture of shame and silence that surrounds alcoholism, a shame that I myself feel and a silence I know too well. So, here goes: Hi, I'm Sue, and my mom is an alcoholic.

I'm not going to go into specifics about my and my fami
...more
Natalie
Oct 10, 2011 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Natalie by: Michella Jones
Shelves: self-help
Makes you think, 'wow, so someone else feels like or has been through this, too?'
It's a good read, I think, to enlighten you to actually how your attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs have been formed and encouraging that the negative ones can actually be changed. While it offers no straight-forward step-by-step solutions, it's not intended to, but it does give you insight on options and suggestions to take you in the right direction of healing and moving forward with your life.
Rachel
Feb 25, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I grew up in a dysfunctional family with a mother who self-medicates with alcohol and a father who conquered a drug addiction when I was young. Living in this kind of environment has had a major effect on my sense of self and the way I approach relationships. So much of this book has hit home with me that I pulled out a red pen and started highlighting what applied to me, adding my own commentary to the margins. I recommend it to anyone who grew up in an alcoholic family.
Joseph
Apr 27, 2014 Joseph rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i can understand why people like this book.

it was informative, but a bit simple. the author used "you" quite frequently which was a bit condescending. i did like how she was able to break things down into categories. some of the clinical examples were nice. but i find that clinical examples are strange from someone who is an Ed.D.

overall, though, i thought it could have been better.


Aurelien
Mar 28, 2014 Aurelien rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alcoholism
A good book outlining some of the most striking and common features of ACoA. It was a very interesting read as, it also gives clues and explanations regarding why such features are prevalent among most ACoA. Is there a need to change, though? The author rightly insists several times: it's not about self-pity and making excuses (I am so, so and so because of my childhood etc.) but, understanding why, as ACoA we are the way we are and, then, make our own choices accordingly. I give it only a three ...more
Deborah Day
Aug 25, 2010 Deborah Day rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my long time favorate book for any Adult Children of Alcoholics. Almost every ACOA I have worked with relates to the book. Easy to understand. The author introduces you to how being raised in an alcholic system has a current effect on your life. A good first look into this issues.
Patricia
"Are You an Adult Child of an Alcoholic?" This book is recommended to anyone who's life is touched by alcoholism either in one's immediate family or extended family. A real eye-opener describing behavioral and relationship patterns by those affected by alcoholics and disfunctional family dynamics.
Jenny Justice
Jul 02, 2015 Jenny Justice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could have a summary of this to give to everyone who interacts with me ever

The absolute one hundred percent story of my life. All of these things - the characteristics, the issues, I am living them. I thought once I had "grown up and gotten out" that in would be free and it would be smooth sailing! My jobs would all work out! I would have love ans the Cosby show family I've always wanted! I had earned it I deserved it! Nope nope nope nope nope. And many of the reasons for all the nope
...more
Monica Skeens
Mar 12, 2012 Monica Skeens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: janet, g, woititz
Definatley a good read especially for those who are Adult Children of Alcoholics, It helped me to understand myself, my ex husband and my step daugther and hopefully I am on the road to recovery as well as I hope and pray I can help my Step daughter to get through this as well.
Julie
Apr 05, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Validating, telling, emotionally disturbing and enlightening at the same time. A must-read for all Adult Children of Alcoholics, Parent/Alcoholics, and anyone who deals with these people at home or in the workplace. I plan to read this one again.
Arthur "AJ"
Jul 04, 2010 Arthur "AJ" rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ACOA provides some of the best guides to healing from alcoholic homes and dysfunctional families. Great stuff! Suggest that you do the exercises in one of their groups so you don't feel so ashamed and isolated.
Crystal
Feb 03, 2010 Crystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very insightful book, not just for adult children of alcoholics but also for anyone raised in a dysfunctional family. I really liked they way it was written, as if she's earnestly speaking to you, as a person.
April
Aug 05, 2009 April rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jackson
Recommended to April by: Linda
I think this book is amazing. I don't think that I have ever come across as self help book that I would call a page turner and yet I tore through this one. I underlined something on literally every page.
Lindsey
Feb 27, 2011 Lindsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very insightful, I would recommend it for anyone who grew up with an alcoholic parent. No matter how severe the alcoholism, this will help you understand the defensive strategies you developed as a child.
Olivia
Sep 10, 2010 Olivia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
This book has changed my life forever. Highly, highly recommended. Even if you grew up in a non-alcoholic household, but one whereas you grew up with a mentally-ill parent, this will be helpful.
Debbie Evancic
Nov 30, 2014 Debbie Evancic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The material discussed in this book applies to many types of dysfunctional families, not only alcoholism, but also compulsive behaviors such as gambling, drug abuse or overeating, chronic illness or profound religious attitudes, or if you were adopted, those that lived in foster care."

But, basically the book reviews the traits of a child of an alcoholic. Traits include making you either super responsible, or irresponsible, being extremely loyal even when when the loyalty is undeserved, taking y
...more
julia
Sep 10, 2009 julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned that I fit this to a T and it was kind of depressing and then not so bad since it gave me the tools to not only recognize what was going on but to get rid of it all.
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“Adult Children of Alcoholics was largely based on the premise that for the ACoA there is a lack of data base: ACoAs do not learn what other children learn in the process of growing up. Although they do wonderfully well in crisis, they do not learn the day-to-day process of “doing life.” 0 likes
“The family is affected when the relatives and friends can no longer tolerate the consequences of alcoholism and avoid the alcoholic and his/her family. The family is also directly affected by the alcoholic’s behavior. Unable, without help, to counteract this, the family members get caught up in the consequences of the illness and become emotionally ill themselves.” 0 likes
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