The term “adult children of alcoholics” confused me at first. It was only after I had been in Al‑Anon for nearly a year that I realized how the effects of alcoholism could extend beyond someone’s immediate relationship with an alcoholic. Although my parents did drink alcohol on occasion, I never considered them to be alcoholics. What I did learn was that, when my parents were children, their parents were alcoholics; therefore, my parents were adult children of alcoholics. The grandparents I knew were not drinkers, but their earlier drinking had affected my parents greatly, and those effects were passed along to me.

For instance, I had a need to try to take care of everybody and everything. I also had a superficial glibness that I used to deflect serious situations, as well as a tendency to shy away from expressions of love while expressing anger with ease. Furthermore, I learned to do everything myself because that was the only way to ensure things got done right, or so I thought. However, through Al‑Anon, I not only recognized these traits in my parents and myself; I understood where they came from and how to correct them. I will always be a work in progress, but I continue to get better.

By Timothy B., California

Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2020