The trauma and grief of growing up in an alcoholic or addicted family create a lifetime of baggage. If you grew up in an addicted family, the dysfunction that permeated every aspect of your childhood may have seemed "normal", and you may not even realize the level of affect alcohol still has on your adult life - whether or not you drink. If you are one of the millions of Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOAs), the cost of your childhood pain can be unbearable. You may have learned how to "survive", but are you "living" your life?
"It is my feeling that debilitating shame and guilt are at the root of all dysfunctions in families," says Jane Middelton-Moz. A few common characteristics of adults shamed in childhood: You may suffer extreme shyness, embarrassment and feelings of being inferior to others. You don't believe you make mistakes, you believe you are a mistake. You feel controlled from the outside and from within. You feel that normal spontaneous expression is blocked. You may suffer from debilitating guilt; you apologize constantly.