ACOA Characteristics


1.) ...guess at what normal behavior is.
2.) ...have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.
3.) ...lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
4.) ...judge themselves without mercy.
5.) ...have difficulty having fun.
6.) ...take themselves very seriously.
7.) ...have difficulty with intimate relationships.
8.) ...overreact to changes over which they have no control.
9.) ...constantly seek approval and affirmation.
10.) ...usually feel that they are different from other people.
11.) ...are super responsible or super irresponsible.
12.) ...are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.
13.) ...are impulsive and tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsiveness leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend and excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cracking the Stone of the Past

I was reading Amy Eden's ACOA blog, and I feel like she wrote a post especially for me regarding frustrations about current situations. Check out the excerpt that follows:

Do you often find yourself thinking, "Why does this seem to always happen....?" Do you realize that OF COURSE it always happens? It always happens because your frame of mind hasn't changed although the situation may have changed -- your frame of mind will continue to interpret things as it does until you reconsider how you view your world.

Think about what frustrates you. Then think about how altering your interpretation -- altering the frame through which you interpret your world -- might alleviate your frustration and bring you a sense of satisfaction.

I have been slowly coming to realize that the only thing I haven't changed about my situation is myself. It sucks that it's the hardest thing to change, but I'm trying! It's interesting how the more I allow for recovery, the more realizations seem to magically become

The recovery process kind of reminds me of a story about "personal layers" I once heard. It involved a little girl who inherited an old, ugly statue that had been in her family for generations and generations. She didn't know the statue's history, but she decided to somehow make it beautiful. She worked hard and saved up her money to purchase gold leaf so that she could cover the ugly statue.. Excited about her efforts and changes, she rushed the statue to her grandfather to boast about her accomplishments. At the site of the statue, though, the grandfather was surprisingly disdained! The little girl didn't understand, and grew upset because all her hard work was not appreciated. In response to her reaction, the grandfather lovingly took the little girl by the hand and explained that had she taken the time to understand the statue's history, she would find the true beauty already inherent within the stone itself. At that, he took a hammer and chisel to the statue. The little girl watched (somewhat painfully) as he removed all the gold leaf and continued to chisel and chip at the stone itself. As he worked, larger pieces began to fall off revealing what appeared to be a slightly smaller statue inside the stone. When the stone was completely removed, the grandfather began to polish the inner statue, revealing the the statue itself was made of pure gold...

I feel like I have been trying to cover up my past with gold leaf. This seems like the same concept as changing everything about a situation but oneself--the common alcoholic nature of "putting on the show" that "everything's fine here!" It's difficult that you can't discover the "inner gold" until learning about the history of the stone--not to mention the difficulty and pain in then chipping it all away.

I feel like my mini-realizations are pieces of stone falling away. You've got to feel the pain of the past before being able to work according to the present and toward a better future.

We'll get there... piece by piece... little by little....


  1. I just read Amy's new post as well and then got a notification that you had updated your two are so wonderful and insightful. You give me so much hope. I'm just having so much trouble working through this pain. I want so badly to have someone just "lift it all away" but I know that's not what happens and that would never help me truly recover. I have to do this on my own. I can! I know I can! I will look at things differently...every chance I get.

  2. Thanks so much for your comments, fullohope (sorry for the late 'thank-you'). Just seeing your name brings me hope amidst these struggles in addition to your empathy.
    Something that's really helped me to see some things differently is the Al-Anon daily reader, "Hope for Today." It's full of recovery stories aimed at ACOAs. While sometimes I get annoyed when it boasts Al-Anon as the end-all/be-all path to recovery, I always find myself rereading some points repeatedly with the thought, "hmm, I never thought of it like that..." Perhaps you might find a resource for yourself that might help you find those "hmm..." moments?

  3. Thanks for writing about this. I'm not sure if I'm ready for meetings yet, right now I think writing may be my form of therapy.

  4. You're welcome! Thank you for reading and commenting. Even though I attend meetings, I still don't feel "ready" for them. I don't know if anyone ever "feels" ready or prepared to go. But meeting or no meeting, I've found great therapy in writing. I was never one to journal, but I'm finding that I'm filling more and more notebooks with rants, ravings, fears, discoveries, and hope. A lot of times I don't realize this until I have the opportunity to look back and read something again. If anything, though, I take writing as a way to "preserve" all the fears, musings, and anger I seem to be afraid to let go of... I hope you can find something useful in the act for yourself!

  5. There are a number of different treatment programs and approaches to support people suffering from substance abuse disorders who decide to get help. I’ve found Silver Hill Hospital's website to be very informative about adult and adolescent residential programs.


Thanks for commenting! I appreciate your input.