Thursday, April 13, 2017

Like Father, Like Daughter

I grew up with an alcoholic father whom I both loved and hated at the same time. I loved the man, but hated the alcoholism. He could not really function without having a drink. An introvert by nature and suffering with low self-esteem, my father drank to ease his anxiety and hide his insecurities. With lower inhibitions, he could be more relaxed; especially in social situations. The drink also gave him courage to stand up for himself; even if it meant getting into arguments and saying hurtful things.

I loathed his drinking and the person he became when drunk. I promised myself that I would never be a drunk. But am I really any different? Taking a deep look inside, I find that I too am introverted, uncomfortable in most social situations, and suffered with low self-esteem for many years. But instead of turning to booze, I use food. When I'm anxious, I eat. The primary culprits are cookies and potato chips, which floods my brain with dopamine and makes me happy.

Just as junk food leads to powerful cravings, so does alcohol. This is what happened to my father. I'm now sorry for judging him so harshly. Addiction is a disease, for which professional help is needed to overcome.

Hi, I'm Liz Hawkins and I'm an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wanting Change

Part of my journey as a recovering ACOA is trying to become more transparent.  This isn’t easily.  Growing up under a cloud of shame and pain caused my heart to become hard as a child.  I pretended my father was not an embarrassing ‘fall down’ drunk.  I did this by ignoring him as much as possible.  And to the outside world, I pretended that my family life was ‘normal’.  This fa├žade followed me into adulthood and became a metaphorical mask that I have wore for decades.

I now trying to live my life with an unveiled face.  This process is hard because it requires me to be exposed; not pretending, not acting like I’ve got it all together, not watering down where I have been, or like it was no big deal.  Although I want to change, I still struggle in many areas in my life.  But through prayer I know I will be victorious.

Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m a recovering Adult Child of an Alcoholic.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

I Am My Own Best Friend

Adult Children of Alcoholics tend to cater to needs of others rather themselves.  It began in childhood when we always had to care for our alcoholic parent.  For me it was my father who was the alcoholic.  I worried about him when he was drunk. Would he heat up food on the stove then pass out at the kitchen table leaving the food to burn - even worst burn down the house.  Things like this were real concerns for me and caused me great anxiety.

I’m ready to focus on myself - do special things just for me.  Giving to others and withholding from myself doesn’t work for me anymore. Today I affirm that I will encourage, support and congratulate myself.  Put myself first for a change and be my own best cheerleader.  

Unlearning the old habits from my past will require real effort on my part but I’m up for the task. 

Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m a recovering Adult Child of an Alcoholic.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Discovering my true self

According to Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist, the most abstract human need is self-actualization.  Maslow defined self-actualization as fully developing and using our unique “talents, capacities, and potentialities.”  To achieve this, we need to refine the talents that we have already developed to some degree, while we also cultivate new potentials in ourselves. 

It took me a very long time before I began to enter into self-actualization.  Growing up in a dysfunction home with an alcoholic father and ACOA mother stunted my emotional growth.  I was always tended to the needs of my parents and others – never putting myself and my needs first. 

Thankfully, through knowledge and understanding about what it means to be an ACOA I am finally on my way to discovering who I was always meant to be.

Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m a recovering adult child of an alcoholic.



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Choosing My Attitude

My work environment is extremely tense.  There are few people employed to do all the work that is required.  My co-worker came to me upset about some things and I just took it all in stride.  She wanted to know why I was so calm.  I simply realized that I can only do so much, and if I know I’m doing the very best that I can that’s all that matters.

As an ACOA, I’m prone to become anxious or depressed when things get out of control.  But I’ve learned that I have the power to choose my own attitude no matter what the circumstances.  My ability to choose the attitude I will take puts something into my hand that can change the way I experience my own life.

Today, I experience a rare serenity: the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.  And I remember the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m a recovering Adult Child of an Alcoholic.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Understanding the past to change the future

As an ACOA, denial has been a major part of my life.  I have always been uncomfortable with change and made concerted efforts to leave the past in the past.

Unfortunately, these methods have not served me well over the years.  Because I didn’t recognize or admit that my father’s alcoholism had any effect on me, I fell into the common trap of seeking a partner just like my father.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing expecting a different outcome.  When I look back on my ‘insanity’ years, I shudder. 

However, there is no sense beating myself up over my past mistakes.  The past cannot be changed.  However, the past must be studied and understood so that the same poor choices are not repeated.  So now instead of trying to put the past behind me I learn from it so I can change my future.

Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins, and I’m a recovering Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

With God's Help I can Overcome

After years of denial, I finally came to terms with the fact that my father was indeed an alcoholic.  This means he had an addiction, another term that I never before acknowledged applied to him until recently. 

I have also learned that consuming alcohol is not the only substance that one can be addicted to.  I now acknowledge that I too have an addiction.  I am addicted to sugary and salty snacks.  As we enter the season of Lent I decided to give up candy and chips, two of my favorite things.  It’s only been a day and I’m already struggling.

I am thankful to have my spirituality as a helpful component in dealing with my addiction.  And with God’s help I can overcome it.

Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.