My new psychologist and I hit it off at our first session. I felt completely comfortable sharing my story with him. He impressed me with the level of knowledge and understanding he had of my mental illness. By my second session, it was as if he had me figured out and was ready to tackle the big issues starting with my childhood.
He was also intuitive enough to see the painful scars of an adult who had grown up in the chaos of an alcoholic home. Before I left my second session, he recommended a book. He suggested the book “Adult Children of Alcoholics” by Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D.
That night, I went to my favorite bookstore and purchased Dr. Woititz’s book. When I began reading it, I could not put the book down. Dr. Woititz wrote with knowledge of the subject matter in a way that was very relatable to someone who lived through the turmoil of an alcoholic home. The examples she shared were as if she had placed cameras inside my childhood home and was writing about me. The book was so enlightening, that with every page that I turned, I learned more about myself. It was as if I was getting to know me for the very first time.
Through her research, she has identified thirteen perceptions regarding adult children of alcoholics that she lists in the introduction of the book of which are discussed later in more detail. As I read through the list, I found myself agreeing with every single perception. One of the perceptions she unpacked was “Adult children of alcoholics judge themselves without mercy”. I really resounded with this perception. I have always judged myself harshly in my professional life, social life, personal life and spiritual life for as long as I can remember.
As I continued reading the book, I felt like my life was on the operating table and Dr. Woititz was performing exploratory surgery. With the skilled precision of a surgeon using a scalpel, she revealed the issues I have had my entire life such as low self-esteem. I now recognize that low self-esteem is a prime characteristic of adult children of alcoholics.
At the end of the exploratory surgery, there was no need for pain pills to numb the pain. I came through the other side of the surgery armed with information and clarity that has helped me deal with the aftermath of my childhood.
If you are an adult child of an alcoholic or know someone who is, I highly recommend this book. If you ever wondered where some of your quirks or not-so-pleasant behaviors came from, this book is the one to help you flesh out the whys and the hows of such questions you may have.
Here are the specifics of the book:
- Paperback: 135 pages
- Publisher: HCI; Expanded edition (November 1, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1558741127
- ISBN-13: 978-1558741126
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches