for adult children of alcoholics


I Believe You

Being an ACoA

Being an ACoA is one thing. 
Knowing you are an ACoA is another. 
Understanding what that means for your behavior, your feelings, your way of thinking is yet another. 
Understanding boundaries and anger and trusting oneself again is another. 
Navigating all this while also living through daily life stressors is yet another.
And another and another and another.

Coming to terms with being an ACOA has many layers. Many levels of realization and integration. Until something else pops up and you realize you have to peel back another layer and deal with that. And learn new healthy behaviors around that. Just when you think you have it sorted, a new situation with a loved one or a work situation will elicit an unexpected reaction in you and you’ll need to notice it, pause, think through how that might be tied to your childhood and deal with it.

This is all a lot.
Like, so much. 
Even: exhausting.

To be ever aware of all these different strands of your life at play in any moment takes diligence, vigilance, a real awareness and so much courage. I know because I’m walking the same road with you. I’m proud of us for being this aware and doing the work. But I also want us to remember another strand we forget about when we are doing all of this: the fun strand.

Where can we add lightness and a little silly joy to all this heavy work we are doing? I mentioned it in a past newsletter (and if you aren’t on it yet, get ON it, link in bio) that I’m gonna start joy dancing for 5 minutes every morning. I can tell you right now: that is not anything that seems rational as I navigate heavy emotional terrain. But it’s just the kind of thing that is so silly it has an appeal I can’t quite describe. What little thing can you do every day to add some silly into all this ACoA seriousness? Share with us and let’s do it together!

I Believe You

As I sit and watch what is happening to a woman who was assaulted in high school and as I see how her story is triggering so many women in my timeline and in my personal life, I am reminded anew: what happened to us long ago is always there — even as we do our best to heal.

As I watch her integrity be questioned and as I watch her not be believed, I am reminded that I was not believed when I went to adults in my life when I could no longer navigate my life as a teenager living with two alcoholics.

As I see the concern about Kavanaugh’s life (“this could ruin him”) with no concern that it has already damaged hers, I am reminded of how many times I was told by the adults in my life that it would be wrong of me to continue to try and get help or family therapy for myself or my parents because “what if their work found out?”

I was not served by people who did not believe me. I had to fight like hell to be heard and to get the help I needed to survive. As I sit here tonight and watch all this unfold, I’m also reminded that these events may also trigger you in a hundred different ways on a hundred different levels. You don’t have to have endured sexual assault to be triggered by what is happening. And you may also have endured that silently and find this week’s news especially difficult to sit with.

I want you to know that I see you and I’m here for you and I believe you. Whatever happened. I believe you. And I believe in your ability to heal.