skip to Main Content

Effects of Alcoholic Parents

Looking at the problem of the children of alcoholics and drug users may require something like bifocals. You need to see the problems that your dependence has caused them; but at the same time, you should be trying to recognize the ill effects that having an alcoholic or drug-abusing parent has had on you.

Many of the descriptions of your children’s emotional problems and pain will also describe the problems and pain you have felt—but probably didn’t realize it at the time.

Full Circle

Many alcoholics and drug users are astonished when they recognize their childhood selves in their own children today. The more you can learn about children of alcoholics and addicts, the more you will learn about yourself—and the more it will help both their recovery and yours.

Royal Life Centers offers an education and treatment program for adults who grew up in alcoholic or addicted families. By taking an objective look at his or her family of origin, each patient learns to identify feelings that require expression and behavior patterns that need to be changed.

Repressed, “stuffed” feelings might include many of the following:

  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Resentment
  • Fear
  • Terror
  • Guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Helplessness
  • Insecurity
  • Inadequacy
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of abandonment

Self-defeating behavior patterns might include these:

  • Denial
  • Approval seeking
  • Isolation
  • Compulsions (regarding food, work, money, or sex)
  • Inappropriate relationships
  • Controlling
  • Caretaking
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Blaming
  • Self-criticism
  • Difficulty intimacy
  • Difficulty with authority
  • Difficulty setting limits
  • Inability to make commitments
  • Fear of failure
  • Repeating the victim role

Adult Child of an Alcoholic : ACOA

No two children of the chemically dependent are alike, any more than any other two children are alike, nor any two sets of parents are alike. Just as no attempt to define “the addictive personality” has ever met with universal agreement, no child can be made to fit a precisely defined picture of “the child of an alcoholic or addict.”

Yet all such children do grow up with certain very similar family patterns and influences, and so they do share many of the shame problems and personality patterns. Two things in particular are almost universal: these children grow up with shame, and they are taught to hide it.

One adult child of an alcoholic parent spoke for almost all such families when he said, “In our family there were two rules:

The first rule was: Never air your dirty laundry in public; never talk about family matters outside the house.

As soon as you got the hang of that, you learned rule two: Never talk about it inside the house either.”

Hiding Your Emotions

Such children also grow up with sadness, which they also learn to hide, too. This rigidly imposed silence and denial leads them to develop rigid behavior patterns that prevent them from changing and growing—until they get help. They also grow up not knowing the difference between love and need, between relationships with give-and-take and relationships in which one person always needs to be in control.

Because they don’t grow up learning healthy patterns of behavior, they have to invent ways of feeling as if they have some control over events, people, and their environment. These patterns of behavior develop into personality types which allow them to function in their dysfunctional families, but which prove self-destructive in the outside world.

Reach Out

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance abuse problem, please reach out to our addiction specialists for guidance and support, at (877)-RECOVERY.

Our team of addiction specialists make themselves available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Because We Care.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out” 

– Robert Collier

Take a Look at Our Recent Blog Posts

Narcotic Stimulants - Stimulants - Licensed Doctors Turned Drug Dealers
Guess Who’s Pushing More Narcotic Stimulants: Street Dealers or Licensed Doctors?
Guess Who’s Pushing More Narcotic Stimulants: Street Dealers or Licensed Doctors?

The 2018 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) numbers are in, but do…

Life Changes - What Changes Do You Make In Recovery?
What Are the Life Changes that must be made by Recovering Alcoholics?
What Are the Life Changes that must be made by Recovering Alcoholics?

The life changes that must be made by recovering alcoholics and drug dependents differ a…

Recovery - Set Yourself Up For Success - Addiction Recovery - Sober Support Network - Meetings - Reach Out For Help
A How-to Guide: Set your Recovery Up for Success
A How-to Guide: Set your Recovery Up for Success

Generally speaking, the goal for anyone in recovery is to maintain their sobriety for the…

Sober - Can I Hang Out With People Who Aren't Sober? - Do My Friends All Have To Be Sober Too? - Sober - Non-sober - Normal Vs. Addict
Can I Hang Out With People Who Aren’t Sober?
Can I Hang Out With People Who Aren’t Sober?

If you’ve been sober for any period of time, you know how precious that time…

Drug Dependence - Substance Abuse - Commonly Smoked Drugs - Nicotine Dependence - Cannabis Use - Nicotine And Marijuana - Smoke - Gateway Drug - Gateway Drugs
What are the 2 Most Commonly Smoked Drugs and Do They Both Have Medication-Assisted Detox?
What are the 2 Most Commonly Smoked Drugs and Do They Both Have Medication-Assisted Detox?

The Two Most Commonly Smoked Drugs The 2 top drugs most commonly smoked are: Nicotine…

AA - Alcoholics Anonymous - Program Of Recovery - 12 Step Program - 12-steps - The 12 Steps Of Alcoholics Anonymous - 12step Groups
Everything You Need to Know About AA: A Beginner’s Guide
Everything You Need to Know About AA: A Beginner’s Guide

Alcoholics Anonymous or AA, is the de facto 12-step fellowship for those recovering from substance…

Sober - Can I Use Other Substances That Aren't My Drug Of Choice - Doc - Drug Of Choice - I Can Still Drink Right?
I Can Use Other Stuff as Long as It’s Not My Drug of Choice, Right?
I Can Use Other Stuff as Long as It’s Not My Drug of Choice, Right?

As an addict myself, I can say that getting sober wasn’t easy. The first couple…

Genetics For Cannabis Abuse - Addiction Is Genetic - Is Addiction Genetic? - Impaired-cognitive Genes - Impaired Cognition
Are Studies Linking Impaired-Cognition Genetics to Increased Risk for Cannabis Abuse Telling?
Are Studies Linking Impaired-Cognition Genetics to Increased Risk for Cannabis Abuse Telling?

Researchers fleshed out genetic data that attempted to correlate substandard cognitive functioning with an augmented…

Royal Life Centers is one of the leading providers of addiction treatment in the nation. We strive to set ourselves apart from other treatment centers by providing not only the highest level of care, but also diverse programs and amenities. Our staff work around the clock to ensure the best possible chance of success in a safe and constructive environment. We pride ourselves on providing exemplary, quality addiction treatment and exceptional care.

Royal Life Centers provides the best quality of care, while extending our genuine hope and belief in each guest that steps into our facility. We strive to give each guest the most transformative recovery experience, not just because that’s what we do— but, Because We Care. We hope for each of our guests to rebuild happy, healthy, and meaningful lives in sobriety.

Back To Top