Drug abuse intervention can start with an understanding that there are similarities and common personality traits among adult children of alcoholics that are characteristic of alcoholism itself. Alcoholism effects family systems in devastating ways, sparing no one. Outpatient therapy or intensive outpatient treatment can expose the consequences of being raised in an alcoholic family. A child raised by an alcoholic is often afraid of people, especially authority figures. This causes them to want to isolate from others. They seek approval from others and this approval, or lack of approval, is often tied to their identity. They are more easily frightened by angry people and intolerant to criticism. They are predisposed to alcoholism or involve themselves with other alcoholics. They often see themselves as victims. Alcoholics fulfill the role of perpetrator nicely for the adult child of an alcoholic. The adult child lives with an overwhelming sense of responsibility. They find refuge from looking at their own faults or experiencing difficult emotions by focusing on another’s problems or needs.
Alcoholic families struggle with boundaries; in many instances they are non-existent, or they are not enforced consistently. They experience guilt when setting boundaries with others and have trouble standing up for themselves. Outpatient therapy or intensive outpatient treatment helps with establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries. Children of Alcoholics become accustomed to the excitement and chaos of the alcoholic homestead and find comfort with the same in their personal relationships. There is a tendency to confuse love with pity, and thus they fall in love with those for whom they feel sorry, or who need to be rescued. They often experience trauma in their childhood. Difficult feelings originating from trauma are avoided, losing their ability to feel or express feelings in healthy ways. They judge themselves harshly and experience low self-esteem. Fearing abandonment, codependency forms and they will find themselves doing anything to stay in the relationship, no matter the dysfunction or abuse. Codependency forms when you become too emotionally or psychologically reliant on someone else to define your mood, happiness, or identity. Codependency can become pathological and it is difficult to escape this unhealthy dynamic, often requiring outpatient therapy or intensive outpatient treatment.
By its nature, alcoholism is a family disease and inherently children of alcoholics acquire many of the same characteristics as the alcoholic, often requiring drug abuse intervention services or outpatient treatment. This is especially troublesome to those who have vowed that they would never end up like their alcoholic family member. Impulsivity and reactivity are also characteristic of the adult child of an alcoholic. They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. Of course, if you are a child of an alcoholic, that does not mean that everything on this list will apply to you. But it is likely that at least some of it will. Resurgence Tampa Bay is committed to effective drug abuse intervention and providing outstanding intensive outpatient treatment and outpatient therapy. We are here to help restore the real you.