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Adult Children of Alcoholics

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  3,170 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
In the 1980's, Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. In this updated edition of her bestseller she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics. After decades of working with ACoAs she shares the recovery hints t ...more
Paperback, Expanded, 135 pages
Published November 1st 1990 by Hci (first published 1983)
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May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, non-fiction
This isn’t going to be a long or in depth review by any means.

On the recommendation of my therapist, I picked this up with the understanding it could help me deal with the repercussions of growing up a part of an alcoholic household. If you can classify yourself as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (or Alcoholics), I strongly recommend this book. Many of the direct quotes from those the author worked with could apply to me at various stages of my life.

This book isn’t going to change your life, you
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
It's a hard and painful book to read, but if you've had a tough childhood, it might help you understand some things about yourself better, and hopefully, start moving forward. It's hard to sum up my feelings while reading it, but they're roughly what the author predicts they would be - pain, anger and grief. However, she also predicts reactions such as relief (that you're not alone in this) and happiness at being able to move forward. Perhaps you will experience those reactions while reading thi ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
May 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 16, 2015 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.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Svarbi knyga. Manau, ją verta perskaityti kiekvienam tam, kad geriau pažintume ir suprastume save (o gal kitą žmogų, esantį šalia). Ir tada galėtume pasirinkti, kokie norime būti. Suaugusiems žmonėms, kurių vienas ar abu iš tėvų buvo alkoholikai - ypač. Kitiems tiesiog dėl to, kad galima rasti šį tą, kas tinka ir pačiam. Daug kas tinka apskritai nedarnioms šeimoms.
Jenna Monaco
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Algirdas Brukštus
Šilta, autorės išgyventa knyga. Jau antrą kartą lietuviškai.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Isabella Roland
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This tiny book provides so much value for those who grew up in a troublesome home environment. While I did not suffer from a traditional alcoholic home life, my father was an alcoholic and he left the picture to go to prison when I was 12 years old. I’ve felt like an adult for the last 11 years and I’m only 23 now. This book has helped me gain insight as to some of my unhealthy patterns such as judging myself without mercy, trouble trusting others, holding onto relationships that aren’t working ...more
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who come from dysfunctional families
This is the second time I have read this book and I am unsure whether it is helpful or not. Yes, I read the pages of this book and think, wow I really do have some of those characteristics, and yes that story sounds similar to my own, but the last time I read this book I felt really down, stuck in the negative gunk of my past and my patterns. I began attending some Al-Anon meetings and the people there were nice but it made me feel broken, needing fixing. it's hard to face the work to be done, m ...more
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Deborah Day
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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! :)
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
konkreti, nevyniojanti į vatą knyga, su naudingais patatimais ir įžvalgom.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, books-i-own
Helpful for everyone, even those who grew up in home without (much) dysfunction.
Aug 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sigita Linkytė
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gerai, nuosekliai parašyta knyga. Supažindinama su bendrais bruožais, nurodomos savybės, kuriomis pasižymi suaugę alkoholikų vaikai ir pan. Padeda suprasti kodėl tėvai galbūt elgiasi vienaip ar kitaip. Nemažai remiamasi psichologės konsultavimo istorijų ištraukomis, kurios pagrindžia pastarųjų vaikų mąstymą. Geriausia, naudingiausia dalis - praktinis pritaikymas. Tikriausiai pirmą kartą skaičiau ir suprasdama tėvus, ir nekaltindama jų dėl to, kaip jie auklėja, ir dėl to, kaip pati ,,išaugau''.
Jun 15, 2010 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
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I just read this in one sitting and am filled with an overwhelming sense of relief that there are others like me. Knowledge is power, and this book certainly opened my eyes. I recognize so much of my early childhood in this book: the inability to really be a child, the lack of a sense of self, the broken promises and the fear of abandonment. I finally have a glimmer of hope that I might not be crazy and my issues can be addressed with a positive outcome. I highly recommend this book to all adult ...more
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a helpful book. I read it to get to understand my mom a little better, considering her dad was an alcoholic, and to see what effects alcoholism had on Kevin and me, having some alcoholism among our eight parents. Much of it fit, some of it didn't. I imagine this is true for all adult children of alcoholics. The most reassuring thing was that there is no normal. That's a huge relief and I can quit worrying about trying for a normal family.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was such a helpful read. I now understand I am the way I am and think the way I think as a result of being an ACoA. I feel less alone and like these behaviors aren't JUST me "being selfish", it's a chain reaction because of how I was brought up. There's a valid reason for why I think the way I do and do things the way I do, I don't have to feel ashamed anymore for feeling different. It's okay.
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.

Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Monica Skeens
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
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“You probably had fantasies about leaving home, about running away, about having it over with, about your alcoholic parent becoming sober and life being fine and beautiful. You began to live in a fairy-tale world, with fantasy and in dreams. You lived a lot on hope, because you didn’t want to believe what was happening. You knew that you couldn’t talk about it with your friends or adults outside your family. Because you believed you had to keep these feelings to yourself, you learned to keep most of your other feelings to yourself. You couldn’t let the rest of the world know what was going on in your home. Who would believe you, anyway?” 2 likes
“1. Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is. 2. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.” 1 likes
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