Alcoholism does not discriminate who it affects. The whole family suffers when a loved one is struggling with addiction to alcohol. People who have a drinking problem usually need help in order to stop. Children of alcoholics grow into adults who might struggle in the aftermath of their parent’s addiction. Counseling is one approach to seeking help as an adult child of an alcoholic.
Impact of Alcoholism
Once children reach the age of independence, usually age 18, they move out of the house into the real world. Problems often follow long into adulthood affecting employment opportunities, relationships and personal lives. Some of the after effects of growing up with an alcoholic parent, stepparent or caregiver may be as follows:
- Difficulty making and maintaining intimate relationships
- Fear of rejection or abandonment
- Difficult time enjoying life, activities or hobbies
- Fearing failure and sabotaging success
- Overreacting to changes to which they have no control
- Lying when they could tell the truth
- Severe self judgement
Therapeutic Support for Adults
It is possible to overcome some of the negative consequences of growing up with a parent addicted to alcohol. Therapy and counseling is one way to do this and often has positive lifelong benefits. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular forms but there are many different types of counselors. In the context of CBT, a therapist will challenge existing paradigms and assumptions about self and the world which can help negate the old, irrational thinking brought about by addiction. In addition, some of the other benefits include:
- Being able to discuss thoughts, feelings and fears in a safe space
- Processing experiences from the past to bring about change for the future
- Identify goals to work towards and make strides toward that end
- Get rid of self doubt and develop a positive self image and esteem
Friends, family and a decent therapist are all important aspects of the therapeutic process. An individual might choose to include some of them in the process. However, an individual may decide therapy is an intimate, safe space they need to share what is on their heart and mind which helps process experiences without fear of repercussion from family or friends. Sharing these fears out loud make them feel less overwhelming. By identifying the problems and seeking solutions, the most challenging first step is over. Continuing to challenge these assumptions and old ways of thinking will help move beyond them, build healthy boundaries and set a person up for a successful future free of fear and lasting issues which may have plagued them since childhood. That, in itself, is a great reason to seek counseling and therapy as a tool to help grow towards a fulfilling and healthy life.
For more information on counseling resources and addiction treatment for an adult child of an alcoholic, contact Hired Power today at 800-910-9299.