Children, regardless of circumstance, face numerous challenges. Adults from all walks of life present with issues resulting from various situations survived in childhood—i.e., bullying, single parent, divorce, pre-mature death of a parent, etc. As such, in many ways life is a struggle for everyone.
However, growing up in an alcoholic home presents greater obstacles. Marked by inconsistency, role reversals, lacking boundaries and at the very least emotional neglect—simply termed as chaotic—the experience of a child of an alcoholic is quite devastating. The dysfunctional behavior witnessed and learned negatively affects these individuals well into adulthood and present unique challenges on their journey to recovery.
Although adult children of alcoholics may report varying degrees of negative experiences—ranging from extreme violence, abuse or neglect to embarrassment associated with witnessing the public intoxication of a parent—there are at least three universal struggles unique to adult children of alcoholics and pertinent to understanding the needs of ACOAs in recovery: