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Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACOA)

Adult children of alcoholics often rely on the same coping skills that helped them survive through tough situations when they were younger.  As adults those skills can cause problems in their relationships.  ACOA’s may have addictions to substances or behaviours such as alcohol, drugs, eating, work or gambling themselves or they tend to find people that they can “save” such as alcoholics and substance abusers. They often criticize themselves and continuously seek approval of others and may lose some of their identity in the process.  ACOA’s often have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and have guilt feelings for standing up for themselves instead of giving in.  The Adult Child of an Alcoholic usually has a dependent personality that is afraid of abandonment and will do “anything” to keep a relationship, they are frightened by angry people and confrontation.  It is hard for them to trust others.  It is helpful for the ACOA to work on their addictive behaviours first and then they can begin to see their other problems more clearly.  They can learn to feel hope, trust and healthy love again.
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Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a mental obsession that causes a physical compulsion to drink.  A mental compulsion is a thought processwhich you have no control over.The vast majority of problem drinkers are people with families and jobs.  They may be dependent drinkers, binge drinkers or people who just drink too much on a regular basis.

It is estimated that for every problem drinker there are 3 or 4 other people affected directly and many more indirectly.  Those problems affect the family, relationships, routines and damage the quality of individual life experiences and opportunities.

The cost of alcoholism is outrageous.  A recent study estimates that the annual economic costs of alcohol and other drug abuse in Canada may be as high as $24.6 billion.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease, it starts with the mental compulsion that is stopped by having a drink and soon one is not enough, then maybe four is not enough to stop the compulsion and it continues until the individual can only stop the compulsion by passing out.

The progression of the disease is so subtle and has  usually taken place over an extended period of time that even the alcoholic themselves have failed to notice when alcohol took over their lives.

For those that have realized that alcohol is a problem there is help but for those that haven’t realized sometimes intervention is the only way.

Gambling “Will I ever get out of the hole?”

As with other addictions, the first step is admitting there is a problem.When is it a problem?
Can you answer yes to any of these questions?

Have you gambled more often or higher stakes to win back your lost money?
Does gambling cause you to have sleep difficulties?
Have you ever lost time from work or school to gamble?
Lying, borrowing or criminal activity to finance gambling?
Spending long or increasing amounts of time in gambling venues?
Gambling to escape the daily pressures of life?
Has gambling ever caused your home life to be unhappy?
Have you ever gambled until you lost your last dollar?
Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
Constantly thinking about or preparing for gambling?
Neglecting family, nutrition, or general well-being?

For most people, gambling is simply a form of recreation, something fun to do occasionally but for others it can be a devastating and life-threatening addiction.

A very serious effect of problem gambling is what is called “the loss of hope”.  Compared to other addictive disorders, the rate of attempted suicide is highest among compulsive gamblers.

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