The Adult Child: Growing Up In The Program

Memoir Excerpt:

“Recovery from addiction, one’s own or from the effects of someone else’s, is not an easy accomplishment. My program of recovery has enabled me to grow in self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-forgiveness. I’ve committed many sins in my life, against my sister and others. There were very few consequences, and so I internalized my guilt. I would be forever crippled until I found a way to let go of that baggage.

This healing Program has shown me how to face myself in the mirror honestly, with gentleness, kindness and praise for the good things I have done. I’ve learned how to hold myself accountable for my actions and cease blaming others. I’ve learned the importance of making a simple apology, something I didn’t learn as a child.

In fact, I’ve often said in meetings that I grew up in my recovery groups. And it’s true. I am an adult child: chronologically an adult but emotionally immature, though less so as I continue in my recovery. Many of us who grow up with alcoholism have addictive personalities ourselves and find ourselves ill prepared to meet life’s challenges effectively. We often marry our addicted parent, or we look outside of ourselves for sources of comfort. There is an absence of differentiation, as Dr. Gabor Maté explains (237). Many of us overeat, pop too many pills, shop too much, drink too much, work too much, etc. Addiction is everywhere in our society. It temporarily fills in our hollow spaces until we feel better. A soundly moral character, among many other things, has gone a long way toward keeping my addictions at bay—one day at a time.”

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