7 Best Ways to Love an ACOA Well
Are you in love with or married to an adult child of an alcoholic or addict? Are you having a hard time relating to them because your childhood was as normal as they come? Navigating a relationship can be challenging, but factor in the dysfunctional past of your loved one and this proves to be near impossible.
As an adult child of an alcoholic in recovery, I can tell you it’s not easy being one either. We have constant struggles with self-esteem, past trauma, and feelings of unworthiness just to name a few. The ACOA can also suffer from bouts with depression or an addiction themselves.
Loving an ACOA well can be difficult, but it is possible. Following these 7 best ways to love the ACOA can change your relationship.
1. Don’t tell them to “get over it”
Believe me, we have tried this. A painful past or traumatic childhood is not something one can easily “get over”. It takes years of therapy and recovery programs in order to accomplish this. If your loved one is struggling to overcome their past, it important to assist them in seeking help. This should also be done with caution. Some of us are not ready for help. Lovingly tell him or her that there are others that struggle with their dysfunctional pasts and there are groups available if they are interested. Leave it at that. Don’t try to push them into getting help. Pray for God to work in their lives and for Him to show you how to be supportive.
2. Help them with a new normal
ACOA’s are confused as to what “normal” looks like. Their childhood was likely filled with chaos, turmoil, and possibly abuse. That is the normal they are used to. Show them what normal should look like. Serenity, understanding, and supportive is what a normal relationship consists of. If he or she is not in a recovery program yet, the thought of serenity is far from their mind. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.