Dating a child of alcoholics
Almost one in five adult Americans (18 percent) lived with an alcoholic while growing up (1), and there are an estimated 26.8 million children of alcoholics in the United States (2).ACAs often find themselves attracted to or drawn to friends and partners who exhibit the kind of inconsistent behavior and moods they encountered at home.Some never speak of it and assume they can move on and let it go forever.Unfortunately, the shadow of a troubled childhood follows us until we find the courage to face it.Assuming they are the cause of their partner’s emotions, they may direct their behavior in the hopes of eliciting a desired emotional response, which often causes frustration for both ACAs and their partners. As children, they were often blamed or identified as the cause of trouble.Thus, they may take responsibility for and attempt to “fix” their partner’s mistakes, even when doing so makes them feel resentful.The process of healing from the trauma, of growing up in an insecure environment, takes time, but it is well worth the effort and tears.Quality of life improves significantly when you are able to leave old patterns behind and eliminate the blind spots that have influenced your choices. Some are more severe than others and have multiple problems.
Most adult children of alcoholics want to forget their past.
Maggie (age 36) sought counseling after her divorce from an alcoholic.