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    Adult Children of Alcoholics

    Getting Help

    Experts recommend therapy and 12-step meetings for help coping with the effects of growing up with an alcoholic parent.

    Psychotherapy may help you understand the impact your parents’ alcoholism has had on you and the choices you are making. Look for a licensed mental health professional with experience working with adult children of alcoholics or with addressing trauma.

    Al-Anon is a free support group for family members and friends of people with alcoholism. It uses a 12-step program. Meetings are held in communities across the U.S.

    “Al-Anon meetings are led by people who are dealing with the same things you are, and they can share very practical tips and skills,” O’Gorman says. “Also, if you’ve felt isolated and embarrassed that your parent has alcoholism, Al-Anon can help you let go of that shame.”

    Another 12-step support group that may help is Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA).

    If you have a drinking problem and are trying to stay sober, O’Gorman suggests attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as well.

    Harkes says she found the support she needed through therapy and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

    “It was so helpful to hear other people’s stories and share my own and to be really honest about my childhood and my drinking,” she says. “I knew I didn’t have to go through this all by myself and that it was possible to have a better life.”

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    Reviewed on December 13, 2013

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