My life changed I when recognized I was the child of an alcoholic…

According to the 2018 Al‑Anon Membership Survey, approximately seven in 10 members have been affected by alcohol abuse or misuse that spans two or more generations. Many people do not realize that the effects of a parent’s drinking don’t stop when their child moves into adulthood and is no longer living with the parent. Teddy, an anonymous Al‑Anon member, shares how her life changed when she realized that she was an adult child of an alcoholic.

To find out other ways people are affected by a parent’s drinking and how the Al‑Anon program can help,
read other Al‑Anon and Alateen members’ stories.


This interview was recorded at the 2018 Al‑Anon International Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Members were asked to share about various aspects of the Al‑Anon program and their personal experience.

Members’ anonymity is protected so that they can share openly and honestly about their experience with a loved one’s drinking and with the Al‑Anon program.

The opinions expressed in this video were strictly those of the person who gave them.

Video Transcript

My life changed I when recognized I was the child of an alcoholic…

INTERVIEWER: Al‑Anon has had a very positive influence on you. How has it changed the way you deal with your professional life, your personal life?

TEDDY: Biggest effect I have found has been recognizing that I was an adult child, that the first alcoholic in my life was my mother and that her behaviors were not against me. She wasn’t angry with me. She just didn’t know how to respond and not hurt me. And it taught me to misread people. So when I came into the Al‑Anon program and years later, working with the adult children aspect, it helped me see how those early adventures shaped my thinking, and it made it difficult for me to take criticism at work. If someone, if a friend or an acquaintance would say something about my behavior, my appearance, I would get so hurt.

INTERVIEWER: So you took it personally.

TEDDY: I took it very personally and it helped me to see that most of the time, the majority of the time, those people who were even if they were intentionally trying to hurt my feelings, they weren’t really they were coming from a place of pain in themselves. And when I started having difficulties relating to a boss or a friend or someone in the community, I would think to myself, there’s alcoholism in their life, and that’s why they’re responding that way. And it really, really, really helped because it took away the pain.


TEDDY: If I could just say to myself, it’s not me that they’re attacking, even though they were attacking me verbally. They’re not really attacking me. They’re attacking that person who’s hurt them in their life, and I hope they find the rooms.

I have also found the biggest help literature wise was the Reaching for Personal Freedom.


TEDDY: Because it takes all of the Steps, Traditions, and Concepts and applies them to you personally. And that has been a big help to both with myself and anybody I’m sponsoring or talking with.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. That’s great. It’s all about really applying those things to your personal life.

TEDDY: Exactly. Yes. Exactly, yes.