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Adult Children of Alcoholics
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The Laundry List


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The Laundry List 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.

  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.

  3. We are frightened of angry people and any personal criticism.

  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.

  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.

  6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.

  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.

  8. We became addicted to excitement.

  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and "rescue."

  10. We have "stuffed" our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).

  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.

  12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.

  13. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.

  14. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

Tony A., 1978

Note: The Laundry List serves as the basis for The Problem statement.