The Yes Woman: Why I’m searching for a sense of self at Al-Anon meetings

I feel again my childhood sense of loss because of my father’s addiction

‘Growing up amid alcoholism gave me a broken sense of self.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

‘Growing up amid alcoholism gave me a broken sense of self.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

This week, I’ve undertaken a very personal challenge. Growing up amid alcoholism creates obvious psychological consequences. After the breakdown of my parents’ marriage, my mother encouraged us to see a counsellor. I refused.

In my teens, she encouraged me to go to Al Aateen, the support group for teens living with an addict in the family. Again I refused. Although I was deeply scarred by the abandonment of my father, I preferred to allow my grief to curl around me to the point of strangulation, believing the similar experiences of others could not have an impact on mine. Thinking myself beyond comfort and beyond love, I retreated into isolation.

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