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Adult Children of Alcoholics

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In the 1980's, Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. In this updated edition of her bestseller she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics. After decades of working with ACoAs she shares the recovery hints t In the 1980's, Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. In this updated edition of her bestseller she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics. After decades of working with ACoAs she shares the recovery hints that she has found to work. Read Adult Children of Alcoholics to see where the journey began and for ideas on where to go from here.


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In the 1980's, Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. In this updated edition of her bestseller she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics. After decades of working with ACoAs she shares the recovery hints t In the 1980's, Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. In this updated edition of her bestseller she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics. After decades of working with ACoAs she shares the recovery hints that she has found to work. Read Adult Children of Alcoholics to see where the journey began and for ideas on where to go from here.

30 review for Adult Children of Alcoholics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    This isn’t going to be a long or in depth review by any means. On the recommendation of my therapist, I picked this up with the understanding it could help me deal with the repercussions of growing up a part of an alcoholic household. If you can classify yourself as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (or Alcoholics), I strongly recommend this book. Many of the direct quotes from those the author worked with could apply to me at various stages of my life. This book isn’t going to change your life, you This isn’t going to be a long or in depth review by any means. On the recommendation of my therapist, I picked this up with the understanding it could help me deal with the repercussions of growing up a part of an alcoholic household. If you can classify yourself as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (or Alcoholics), I strongly recommend this book. Many of the direct quotes from those the author worked with could apply to me at various stages of my life. This book isn’t going to change your life, you still have to act on the advice from the author, but it helps to know you’re not alone.

  2. 3 out of 5

    Leslie

    I learned to understand why I've made some of the choices that I've made and how my personality formed the way that it did. Be careful NOT to let this book serve as an excuse for dysfunction, but, as a way to understand it and to liberate yourself from it! It was very eye-opening as I saw parts of myself on many of the pages. We can't change our past but we can ruin a perfectly good future if we don't learn from it!

  3. 3 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a must-read for anyone who grew up in a family where addiction was an issue. It is so important to begin to understand the effects of that family system on one's sense of self and on one's relationships. It is a book I recommend to all of my clients when they have grown up in this kind of environment.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    It explains so much of my anxiety in everyday life. I don't feel so alone.

  5. 3 out of 5

    Jenna Monaco

    This is such a personal topic and journey that I cannot justify saying you should or shouldn't read ACOA. What I can say is that, many questions I had or couldn't quite articulate were spelled out in plain English. This book changed my life, and I finally feel free. I can only hope that others who have suffered from an alcoholic parent/s find the same comfort and strength that I found reading ACOA. We deserve that much.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Algirdas Brukštus

    Šilta, autorės išgyventa knyga. Jau antrą kartą lietuviškai.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    This book was excellent at making the distinction between blaming your parents for everything and using your past and how your parents treated you (and may still treat you) as a framework to understand different behaviors and reactions you have in the present. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has alcoholism in their family. I could have done without the poetry, but the real life examples were good. It was refreshing to have so many aspects described so articulately. I think that i This book was excellent at making the distinction between blaming your parents for everything and using your past and how your parents treated you (and may still treat you) as a framework to understand different behaviors and reactions you have in the present. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has alcoholism in their family. I could have done without the poetry, but the real life examples were good. It was refreshing to have so many aspects described so articulately. I think that it will be helpful in making a conscious effort to change different characteristics of myself that I don't like. This book made me feel less alone-- there are other people who are going through the same things. Overall-- it validated a lot of feelings I have and makes me feel more optimistic about the future.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James

    A groundbreaking and lifesaving book! Janet Woititz spoke to a lot of people who thought that no one else had their emotional challenges and helped them see that they weren't crazy and it wasn't hopeless. Without bashing alcoholic parents who were doing the best they could, she helps people understand some life skills and people skills that their role models just weren't able to teach them very well. Given that somewhere over 10% of Americans have had serious drinking problems in past and presen A groundbreaking and lifesaving book! Janet Woititz spoke to a lot of people who thought that no one else had their emotional challenges and helped them see that they weren't crazy and it wasn't hopeless. Without bashing alcoholic parents who were doing the best they could, she helps people understand some life skills and people skills that their role models just weren't able to teach them very well. Given that somewhere over 10% of Americans have had serious drinking problems in past and present generations, and an awful lot of them have had kids, a lot of people - and every psychotherapist - should have this book handy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Isabella Roland

    This tiny book provides so much value for those who grew up in a troublesome home environment. While I did not suffer from a traditional alcoholic home life, my father was an alcoholic and he left the picture to go to prison when I was 12 years old. I’ve felt like an adult for the last 11 years and I’m only 23 now. This book has helped me gain insight as to some of my unhealthy patterns such as judging myself without mercy, trouble trusting others, holding onto relationships that aren’t working This tiny book provides so much value for those who grew up in a troublesome home environment. While I did not suffer from a traditional alcoholic home life, my father was an alcoholic and he left the picture to go to prison when I was 12 years old. I’ve felt like an adult for the last 11 years and I’m only 23 now. This book has helped me gain insight as to some of my unhealthy patterns such as judging myself without mercy, trouble trusting others, holding onto relationships that aren’t working for me, my deep fear of abandonment, and just never feeling like I fit in anywhere. This book is great because it really helps you see the light and lets you know that you’re not alone. It’s a short read full of examples and stories from people who grew up in this type of home environment. Your parents didn’t have to be alcoholics to have a profound affect on you. I urge anyone who grew up with a rough home life to read this book to try and understand life better as a functional adult. I’ll be keeping and rereading this one through the years.

  10. 3 out of 5

    David

    Are you the adult child of an alcoholic? Do you have friends or family members that fall into this category? Have you ever wondered what makes you/them tick? If so, I highly recommend you read this little book by Janet Geringer Woititz who describes the typical traits and characteristics of people who have had a lot to overcome from an early age. The author identifies very clearly what kinds of behaviors and attitudes you might expect from ACOA's as well as guidance on how to overcome some of th Are you the adult child of an alcoholic? Do you have friends or family members that fall into this category? Have you ever wondered what makes you/them tick? If so, I highly recommend you read this little book by Janet Geringer Woititz who describes the typical traits and characteristics of people who have had a lot to overcome from an early age. The author identifies very clearly what kinds of behaviors and attitudes you might expect from ACOA's as well as guidance on how to overcome some of the more troubling aspects of their personalities and behavioral styles. For example, adult children of alcoholics judge themselves very harshly, taking themselves very seriously, and perfectionism is the norm. In addition, they have problems finishing projects all the way through in addition to having a difficult time doing things just for fun. ACOA's also have tendencies to lie unnecessarily, and feel different from other people. Intimate relationships are not easy for them, but they are extremely loyal. often to their own detriment. They can be either super responsible or highly irresponsible and can be quite impulsive. ACOA's can have a constant need for approval and tend to overreact to things over which they have no control. Do you or your friends/loved ones resemble these remarks? If so, there is plenty of advice on how to turn some of these difficulties around, but it is no easy task. Habits and beliefs get firmly fixed over the years and I have learned as a life coach that they will probably never be completely overcome, just managed. Best to try and use certain techniques and approaches outlined in the book because you will have a much happier life and sense of well being if you can take better control of your life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    This is the second time I have read this book and I am unsure whether it is helpful or not. Yes, I read the pages of this book and think, wow I really do have some of those characteristics, and yes that story sounds similar to my own, but the last time I read this book I felt really down, stuck in the negative gunk of my past and my patterns. I began attending some Al-Anon meetings and the people there were nice but it made me feel broken, needing fixing. it's hard to face the work to be done, m This is the second time I have read this book and I am unsure whether it is helpful or not. Yes, I read the pages of this book and think, wow I really do have some of those characteristics, and yes that story sounds similar to my own, but the last time I read this book I felt really down, stuck in the negative gunk of my past and my patterns. I began attending some Al-Anon meetings and the people there were nice but it made me feel broken, needing fixing. it's hard to face the work to be done, much easier to sweep it under the rug and keep going. I have noticed that I must have done some recovery since the last time I read the book since some of the characteristics don't apply quite as well to me know. But I wonder if it is valuable or detrimental to label myself this way. I also recently read Louse Hay's you can heal your life which is so positive and after reading it made me feel good not bad. Can positive affirmations and self talk change my patterns or do I have to go back to the muck and sort it through first?? I'd like to hear other's experiences with this book. Thanks.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This book seemed to be written about ME. After I finished it, I felt sort of exposed but also liberated knowing that I wasn't the only person with these traits or issues. It's encouraged me to look into Al-Anon meetings and also consider seeing a therapist to help me overcome some of these traits and help myself recover.

  13. 3 out of 5

    Deborah Day

    This is my long time favorate book for any Adult Children of Alcoholics. Almost every ACOA I have worked with relates to the book. Easy to understand. The author introduces you to how being raised in an alcholic system has a current effect on your life. A good first look into this issues.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Very short book and a necessary read for those mentioned in the title. I thought the author must have been following me! :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vaida

    konkreti, nevyniojanti į vatą knyga, su naudingais patatimais ir įžvalgom.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Christy

    Helpful for everyone, even those who grew up in home without (much) dysfunction.

  17. 3 out of 5

    Tania

    This book offers an excellent overview and introduction to the impact of growing up in a family where one or both parents abuse alcohol. It is a terrific resource for counselors or individuals alike. The book gives readers excellent information to help them make changes in their lives. The vignettes give the book a more personal feel. It doesn't come across like a dry, academic textbook. I found that the information made sense and was quite useful. It helped me grow and come to terms with some t This book offers an excellent overview and introduction to the impact of growing up in a family where one or both parents abuse alcohol. It is a terrific resource for counselors or individuals alike. The book gives readers excellent information to help them make changes in their lives. The vignettes give the book a more personal feel. It doesn't come across like a dry, academic textbook. I found that the information made sense and was quite useful. It helped me grow and come to terms with some things from my childhood. Counselors who read the book will find that it is short on theory. It's also a little shorter and more general than I would like. The author does make some broad generalizations. It would be worth reading as a text to guide discussion in a support group. It could also be given to clients to augment individual counseling/therapy. Some of the stories may give a professional added insight that a college course, which is by its very nature more theoretical and academic, may not provide. Despite the few flaw I've noted, this is a very worthwhile book for either laypersons who grew up in a home where alcohol was a problem, or for the professionals who seek to support and help them

  18. 3 out of 5

    Sigita Linkytė

    Gerai, nuosekliai parašyta knyga. Supažindinama su bendrais bruožais, nurodomos savybės, kuriomis pasižymi suaugę alkoholikų vaikai ir pan. Padeda suprasti kodėl tėvai galbūt elgiasi vienaip ar kitaip. Nemažai remiamasi psichologės konsultavimo istorijų ištraukomis, kurios pagrindžia pastarųjų vaikų mąstymą. Geriausia, naudingiausia dalis - praktinis pritaikymas. Tikriausiai pirmą kartą skaičiau ir suprasdama tėvus, ir nekaltindama jų dėl to, kaip jie auklėja, ir dėl to, kaip pati ,,išaugau''. Bū Gerai, nuosekliai parašyta knyga. Supažindinama su bendrais bruožais, nurodomos savybės, kuriomis pasižymi suaugę alkoholikų vaikai ir pan. Padeda suprasti kodėl tėvai galbūt elgiasi vienaip ar kitaip. Nemažai remiamasi psichologės konsultavimo istorijų ištraukomis, kurios pagrindžia pastarųjų vaikų mąstymą. Geriausia, naudingiausia dalis - praktinis pritaikymas. Tikriausiai pirmą kartą skaičiau ir suprasdama tėvus, ir nekaltindama jų dėl to, kaip jie auklėja, ir dėl to, kaip pati ,,išaugau''. Būtinai rekomenduočiau šią knygą perskaityti kiekvienam, kuris gali save pavadinti suaugusiu alkoholikų vaiku. ,,Nesunku suprasti, kodėl viską trokštate gauti nedelsiant. Atidėliojimas, atrodo, nieko gero nežada, nes jei vaikystėje iškart negaudavote to, ko prašydavote, tuo viskas ir baigdavosi. Jei pasakydavote: ,,Noriu dabar'', o tėvai atsakydavo: ,,Dabar negalima, atidėkim savaitgaliui'' arba ,,Pakalbėsim vėliau", žinojote, kad neverta nieko tikėtis. Žinojote: pažadų neištesės. Tai buvo vienintelė nekintama taisyklė jūsų gyvenime.''

  19. 3 out of 5

    Jamila

    I read this book for my own personal research into the subject for a little self awareness and maybe for some answers. The book has a broad spectrum of experiences to create a point of relation for a lot of people and provides useful information about dealing in a proactive manner. This did help me open my eyes to a lot of the ways I was dealing and approaching life. It helped me recognize my own behaviors and why I kept getting into unhealthy relationships, didn’t understand “normal, “why my lif I read this book for my own personal research into the subject for a little self awareness and maybe for some answers. The book has a broad spectrum of experiences to create a point of relation for a lot of people and provides useful information about dealing in a proactive manner. This did help me open my eyes to a lot of the ways I was dealing and approaching life. It helped me recognize my own behaviors and why I kept getting into unhealthy relationships, didn’t understand “normal, “why my life always felt like a mess, why I always tore myself apart for mistakes I made (no matter how petty), why I couldn’t laugh and have fun live others, and lastly why I felt so worthless. I’m in a path of self improvement and recovery that I hope to one day fully complete. If you had an alcoholic parent I suggest you read into this subject because without realizing it they did affect you.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    In some ways, the characteristics listed were so spot-on they made me laugh. In some ways, they seemed more representative of my sisters or friends who are ACOAs than of me. We all internalize things a little differently, I guess. Anyway, the descriptions -- particularly when the author explained why it made sense that someone would respond in a dysfunctional way to a dysfunctional situation -- were generally helpful. Some of the follow up stuff still has me a bit dubious, though. To get love, tel In some ways, the characteristics listed were so spot-on they made me laugh. In some ways, they seemed more representative of my sisters or friends who are ACOAs than of me. We all internalize things a little differently, I guess. Anyway, the descriptions -- particularly when the author explained why it made sense that someone would respond in a dysfunctional way to a dysfunctional situation -- were generally helpful. Some of the follow up stuff still has me a bit dubious, though. To get love, tell people you love them? Really? Experiencing that sort of manipulative behavior is why I have a hard time trusting people. But maybe that's why the author ended the book with recommendations about how to choose a therapist and additional readings.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Jessica Oban

    I read this on recommendation by my therapist and, to tell you the truth, it was kind of hard to read emotionally. My "father" did drugs and alcohol when I was little, but when he stopped, the verbal and mental abuse came. I was never good enough. He screamed at me, called me names, and made me so afraid of even making a single move because it wasn't right in his eyes. He tried to ground my brother so that he didn't have to go to the school's open house. All of what I felt in my childhood, were I read this on recommendation by my therapist and, to tell you the truth, it was kind of hard to read emotionally. My "father" did drugs and alcohol when I was little, but when he stopped, the verbal and mental abuse came. I was never good enough. He screamed at me, called me names, and made me so afraid of even making a single move because it wasn't right in his eyes. He tried to ground my brother so that he didn't have to go to the school's open house. All of what I felt in my childhood, were put into words by this book. Others had the same problems? It pained me that the author could see through me so clearly. She explained WHY I had these issues, they're not my fault but I CAN change them. I highly recommend this book if you come from alcoholics or any type of dysfunctional family.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I just read this in one sitting and am filled with an overwhelming sense of relief that there are others like me. Knowledge is power, and this book certainly opened my eyes. I recognize so much of my early childhood in this book: the inability to really be a child, the lack of a sense of self, the broken promises and the fear of abandonment. I finally have a glimmer of hope that I might not be crazy and my issues can be addressed with a positive outcome. I highly recommend this book to all adult I just read this in one sitting and am filled with an overwhelming sense of relief that there are others like me. Knowledge is power, and this book certainly opened my eyes. I recognize so much of my early childhood in this book: the inability to really be a child, the lack of a sense of self, the broken promises and the fear of abandonment. I finally have a glimmer of hope that I might not be crazy and my issues can be addressed with a positive outcome. I highly recommend this book to all adult children of alcoholics.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I grew up in a dysfunctional family with a mother who self-medicates with alcohol and a father who conquered a drug addiction when I was young. Living in this kind of environment has had a major effect on my sense of self and the way I approach relationships. So much of this book has hit home with me that I pulled out a red pen and started highlighting what applied to me, adding my own commentary to the margins. I recommend it to anyone who grew up in an alcoholic family.

  24. 3 out of 5

    Teri

    This is a helpful book. I read it to get to understand my mom a little better, considering her dad was an alcoholic, and to see what effects alcoholism had on Kevin and me, having some alcoholism among our eight parents. Much of it fit, some of it didn't. I imagine this is true for all adult children of alcoholics. The most reassuring thing was that there is no normal. That's a huge relief and I can quit worrying about trying for a normal family.

  25. 3 out of 5

    Kayla

    This was such a helpful read. I now understand I am the way I am and think the way I think as a result of being an ACoA. I feel less alone and like these behaviors aren't JUST me "being selfish", it's a chain reaction because of how I was brought up. There's a valid reason for why I think the way I do and do things the way I do, I don't have to feel ashamed anymore for feeling different. It's okay.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    i can understand why people like this book. it was informative, but a bit simple. the author used "you" quite frequently which was a bit condescending. i did like how she was able to break things down into categories. some of the clinical examples were nice. but i find that clinical examples are strange from someone who is an Ed.D. overall, though, i thought it could have been better.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Makes you think, 'wow, so someone else feels like or has been through this, too?' It's a good read, I think, to enlighten you to actually how your attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs have been formed and encouraging that the negative ones can actually be changed. While it offers no straight-forward step-by-step solutions, it's not intended to, but it does give you insight on options and suggestions to take you in the right direction of healing and moving forward with your life.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Monica Skeens

    Definatley a good read especially for those who are Adult Children of Alcoholics, It helped me to understand myself, my ex husband and my step daugther and hopefully I am on the road to recovery as well as I hope and pray I can help my Step daughter to get through this as well.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    A very insightful book, not just for adult children of alcoholics but also for anyone raised in a dysfunctional family. I really liked they way it was written, as if she's earnestly speaking to you, as a person.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Julie

    Validating, telling, emotionally disturbing and enlightening at the same time. A must-read for all Adult Children of Alcoholics, Parent/Alcoholics, and anyone who deals with these people at home or in the workplace. I plan to read this one again.

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