Monday, April 30, 2007

Pain Is God's Megaphone

An uncomfortable feeling is not an enemy. It’s a gift that says, "Get honest; inquire." We reach out for alcohol, or television, or credit cards, so we can focus out there and not have to look at the feeling. And that's as it should be, because in our innocence we haven't known how. So now what we can do is reach out for a paper and a pencil, write thought down, and investigate.


Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Monday, April 23, 2007

Are You Ready To Have A Happy Childhood?

Healing The Inner Child

The Inner Child refers to that part of each of us which is ultimately alive, it is the emotional self-where our feelings live. When we experience joy, sadness, anger, fear, or affection our Child Within is coming out. When we are being playful, spontaneous, creative, intuitive and surrendering to the spiritual self, our Genuine Authentic Self, who we know deep within us, our Real Self is being welcomed and encouraged to be present.

We all have an inner child and the wounds our inner child received can and do continue to contaminate our adult lives. Our parents helped create this Inner Child part of us, society also helped with the creation. When this child self is not allowed to be heard or even acknowledged as being real, a false or co-dependent self emerges. We begin to live our lives as victims.

Then we have situations that arise in our lives which develop into unresolved emotional traumas. The gradual accumulation of unfinished mental and emotional business can lead to and fuel chronic anxiety, fear, confusion, emptiness and unhappiness through all of our life.

Besides the Inner Child / adolescent part, we have many other selves which are trying to be heard and take control, without us really hearing the voices until we make an effort to do so. Initially, it is very important to tame the Inner Critic part of us. That voice from the past often keeps beating up our Inner Child. This voice invades whatever trauma and pain there was in our childhood.

The wise Nurturing Self part of us can learn to stand as a protector self for the Inner Child. It’s the job of the Nurturer to be loving and self-affirming. This part of us can also teach the Inner Critic a new job of support instead of beating the Child self up, and can love the Inner Critic so that the Inner Child self can relax and not have to work so hard.

This is often where the internal battle begins. The Inner Critic has been keeping the Inner Child muffled and secluded. Often, it is a case of transforming the Inner Critic to be a good internal parent, beginning to listen to the Inner Child and to allow it to have fun and be heard.

Denial of the Inner Child and the co-dependent self are particularly common among children and adults who grew up in troubled or dysfunctional families. This is where chronic physical mental illness, rigidity, frigidity or lack of nurturing is common. Yet, there is a way out. There is a way to discover and to heal our Inner Child / adolescent part and to break free of the bondage and suffering of our co-dependent or false self.

This is called self-nurturing or re-parenting which allows us to reclaim that wounded child. We can provide for ourselves all the love and support and positive regard we never had and grow up again. It’s the easiest thing in the world to turn our feelings inwards and connect directly with that part of us that can offer comfort and support.

It is not the past as such that effects us – it is our images of it. By re-parenting or reclaiming that wounded child, we uncover any conscious or unconscious mythology of ourselves and begin to re-evaluate and transform it.

Linear time does not apply when we work internally and with the unconscious. It is possible to bring our present wise and loving self, to meet and help our young Inner Child and offer comfort and support and find a new joy and energy in living. This process to discover and heal our Inner Child can be quite astounding.

Through guidance, understanding and love we can learn to know how to form healthy and loving relationships by learning to love ourselves primarily. Because we have dysfunctional relationships internally, we have dysfunctional relationships externally. Loving ourselves is about unconditional love which means no judgement and no shame.

Examples of some of the parts of the Child you might find inside are:

The Abandoned Child

This child part that has been left in some way through divorce or adoption or just left because the parents were kept busy working. This part is always fearful that it will be abandoned again and again. This part of the self is starving for extra attention and reassurance that it is safe and wanted.
This self is very lonely.

The Neglected Child

The child self that was always left alone without much nurturing and love.
It doesn’t believe it is lovable or worthwhile. It finds it difficult to express and doesn’t know how to love.
It is depressed and wants to hide and cry.

The Playful Child

That self that is naturally playful, creative, spontaneous and fun, the loving child. This part longs to play. Many of us have forgotten how to do this and be free without guilt or anxiety because as adults we must be doing something that is `worthwhile`.

The Spoiled Child

That part of us who wants what it wants and it wants it now, and if it doesn’t get what it wants, it throws a temper tantrum.

The Fearful Child

This part has been overly criticised when young. Now it is anxious and in panic much of the time. It needs lots of encouragement and positive affirmations.

The Disconnected Child

This Inner Child part which never learns to be close to anyone. It is isolated and dissociated. Intimacy feels alien and scary. Trust is a basic issue.

The Discounted Child

This is a part of the self that was ignored and treated as though it did not exist. It feels invisible. It doesn’t believe in itself and needs lots of love to assist and support it.

These are all possibilities of the different Inner Child parts that might be inside us and they need support which will allow us to embark on a journey of profound healing, indeed Inner Child work is fundamental to healing!

NOW is the best time to do it.

"it is never to late to have a happy childhood".

excerpted from;

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Monday, April 9, 2007

How Am I Doing?

Like it or not, our parents have an impact on our behavior in ways that we may not even realize. When a parent is an alcoholic, the impact on their children can have consequences that follow them into adulthood. If one or both of your parents had a drinking problem while you were growing up, you are an Adult Child Of an Alcoholic (ACOA). Take this quiz and see just how much their drinking has affected your adult life.

Keep track of the number of questions you answer with a YES, and add up your score before consulting the score sheet below:

1 . Is it difficult for you to identify, understand, or express your feelings?

2 . Do you judge yourself more harshly than you do others?

3 . Do you have an extremely strong sense of responsibility?

4 . Do you feel guilty when you stand up for yourself?

5 . Do you find yourself afraid of or intimidated by people, particularly authority figures?

6 . Is the approval of others often more important to you than your own preferences or beliefs?

7 . Are thrills and excitement a necessary part of your life?

8 . When someone gets angry at you, do you shrivel inside?

9 . Does personal criticism make you feel as though you're under attack?

10. Do you often find yourself feeling isolated and alone?

11. When things go badly, do you feel like a victim?

12. Can you answer 'yes' to a lot of questions found on an "are you an alcoholic" questionnaire although you never pick up a drink?

13. Are you more concerned for others than for yourself?

14. Do you find yourself constantly trying to rescue others, whether it's a friend, relative or lover?

15. Are you uncomfortable with intimacy and revealing yourself to another person?

16. Do you find yourself hanging onto relationships that aren't healthy?

17. Have you ever confused pity for love?

18. Are you currently involved with an alcoholic?

19 . Are you currently involved with any kind of compulsive personality - such as a workaholic?

20. Have you ever been involved with an alcoholic or a compulsive personality?

21. Do you have a drinking problem?

Add up your score.

0 - 6: You're handling things very well. Just keep an eye on yourself to make sure you don't fall into potential trouble zones. Examine your answers and see if they have a theme. Look at the issues that create the most problems, whether it be in your relationships (questions 13 - 20), or struggling with your own identity (questions 1-12).

7 - 14: Things aren't terrible, but they could be better. No need to settle for "not terrible," however. Make the effort to raise your self-esteem and clear out the obstacles that are getting in the way of fulfilling your dreams.

15 - 21: The past is casting a heavy shadow over you. Sadness, fear, and frustration rear their heads all too often. Don't sweep your feelings under the rug. It's time to face what's going on so that you can turn it around. Get out from under by getting help. It is possible to change old patterns!

Yes to #21: You are following in your parent's footsteps. Don't let your parent's addiction overwhelm your life. Don't give up on yourself. To stop the cycle, seek help now.

By: Mark Sichel

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Kind Of "ACE" You Don't Want To Gamble With!

In 1992 Dr. Vincent Felitti, head of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego and Dr. Robert Anda, researcher with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began to collaborate on a large scale study of the incidence and effects of childhood trauma, known as the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study.

The ACE Study is a decade-long and ongoing study designed to examine the childhood origins of many of our Nation’s leading health and social problems.

ACE- Adverse Childhood Experiences

The concept of the ACE Study is that stressful or traumatic childhood experiences increase the risk of cognitive damage, re-victimization, disease and have a negative impact on behavior, health, and even longevity.
Abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, or growing up with alcohol or other substance abuse, mental illness, parental discord, or crime in the home are common pathways to social, emotional, and cognitive impairments.

We now know from breakthroughs in neurobiology that ACEs disrupt neurodevelopment and can have lasting effects on brain structure and function.

ACEs have a strong influence on:

-adolescent health
-teen pregnancy
-alcohol abuse
-illicit drug abuse
-sexual behavior
-mental health
-risk of revictimization
-stability of relationships
-performance in the workforce

ACEs increase the risk of:

-Heart disease
-Chronic Lung disease
-Liver disease
-HIV and STDs
-and other risks for the leading
causes of death


The effects of ACEs are long-term, powerful, cumulative, and likely to be invisible to health care
providers, educators, social service organizations, and policy makers because the linkage between
cause and effect is concealed by time. The original traumatic insults may not become manifest until much later in life.

When a child is wounded, the pain and negative long-term effects reverberate, thereby sustaining the cycle of abuse, neglect, violence and substance abuse, and mental illness. For example, ACEs greatly increase the risk of adult alcohol abuse or marriage to an alcoholic, perpetuating the adversities and their consequences. Thus, growing up with alcohol abuse contributes to many of the leading chronic health and social
problems in the United States.

The ACE Study suggests that stressful and traumatic childhood and adolescent experiences
literally become “biology” affecting brain structure and function (as well as endocrine, immune,
and other biologic functions) leading to persistent effects. Until now, these persistent effects
were “hidden” from the view of both neuroscientists and public health researchers.

We found that adults who reported any single category of adverse childhood experience were likely to have suffered multiple other categories during childhood. Children experiencing alcohol abuse in the home should be screened for other types of maltreatment and traumatic stressors—and vice versa!

Many of our nation’s leading health and social problems are directly tied to enduring neurodevelopmental consequences of growing up with alcohol abuse and related adverse experiences during childhood.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County ACOA Meeting