But help was at hand from support group ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics or Dysfunctional Homes) and she has since set up a group in Joondalup.
‘My mother was a survivor of an alcoholic family ” her father was an alcoholic, and she developed certain traits for survival that she passed to us in a non-drinking family,’ said the woman who asked to remain anonymous.
The woman went from being a sporadic drinker to a binge drinker in her late 20s and with it came low self-esteem, self-confidence and other problems.
Her brother also became an alcoholic although both are now recovering.
They fit the pattern of children who grow up in dysfunctional families. Research shows that as adults many become alcoholics themselves or marry alcoholics, or others with compulsive personalities such as workaholics.
‘Being the child of a traumatic family impacts on whom we become as adults,’ the now middle-aged woman said.
‘Even not drinking doesn’t solve the problem of the thinking.
‘I did not have the coping skills and my mother did not have them to pass on.’
The woman, who has not had a drink for 24 years, said her life changed dramatically after joining ACA, which offers a program based on AA’s 12 steps.
‘Benefits to me include increased self-esteem and self-confidence, having more faith in things turning out all right, clearer personal boundaries, communicating better with others and having more joy and a sense of wellbeing,’ she said.
‘You are part of a group of |people who have had similar experiences. Therefore you know you are in a safe environment where you can share experiences and be listened to.’
Joondalup ACA group meets at the old Grace Church building, corner of Grand Boulevard and Shenton Avenue, on Tuesdays, 6-7.30pm. For details, call 0405 200 523.