Books for Adult Children of Alcoholics

Growing up in a dysfunctional family can pose challenges later

Adult children of alcoholics or other kinds of dysfunctional parents may still be affected by the experience, but books to overcome these challenges can help. If you're such a child, you may have some personality traits that are common to adult children of alcoholics. Many people raised in alcoholic homes must address the repercussions of their upbringings throughout their adult life, especially in their careers, relationships and decision-making processes.

The list of books that follow offer insight into the characteristics that adult children of alcoholics typically develop as well as practical advice for learning how to make better decisions to lead healthier lives.

1

This best-selling book by Janet G. Woititz was the first to address the specific problems experienced by those who grew up in alcoholic homes. This expanded version includes experiences from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics. You can now purchase a complete collection of Dr. Jan's groundbreaking books in one volume: "The Complete ACOA Sourcebook: Adult Children of Alcoholics at Home, at Work and in Love."

2

Alcoholic families are not the only ones that produce adult children with dysfunctional characteristics. In this book, John and Linda Friel explore how perfectionism, workaholism, compulsive overeating, intimacy problems, depression, and problems sharing feelings can create a dysfunctional family system. One hallmark of all dysfunctional families is that they try to keep secrets. That means children may be discouraged from discussing the emotional, sexual, or physical abuse they suffered at the hands of a family member. A wife in a physically violent marriage will cover her bruises and pretend to the outside world that she is in a loving relationship. 

3

One of the characteristics adult children who grew up in dysfunctional families have is that they must guess at what "normal" is, because they have no model to follow. John and Linda Friel wrote this practical guide for adult children from dysfunctional homes to give them a better sense of what healthy behaviors, relationships, and communication styles look like. Use this book to learn how to live a more healthy life.

4

Janet Woititz gives practical tips to help adult children learn basic life skills, such as standing up for themselves, making decisions, solving problems and learning how to say "no." The book contains examples and exercises to help readers practice their newly learned skills. Twenty-five years after it was first published this book is still relevant to those who grew up in dysfunctional homes.

5

Herbert Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden explain the journey of recovery for adult children of alcoholics. This includes making the transition from ignorance to awareness to integration and self-acceptance. The authors offer a guide to determining which issues and treatment options are most appropriate for adult children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families.

6

Adult children of dysfunctional families struggle to achieve intimacy in relationships because taking the steps required to do so contradict the survival skills they learned while growing up. Janet G. Woititz, pioneer in the field, explains the lifelong journey adult children of alcoholics and other troubled parents must embark on to experience closeness in their relationships.

7

Adult children of dysfunctional families tend to sabotage things just when they start going well. This is particularly unhealthy in the workplace. This book offers advice on how to find balance and develop healthy relationships and attitudes at work.

8

Tony A., one of the founding members of the Adult Children of Alcoholics recovery movement, authored the "Laundry List" of common characteristics of adult children. In this book, Tony teams with Dan F. to provide an inside view of "The ACoA Experience."

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