Study Determines Adult Children of Alcoholics Share Common Patterns

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On Saturdays, starting on July 9, experienced Clinical Social Worker Susan Marcus is leading a group for adult children of alcoholic or drug addicted parents to address the effects of growing up in a home affected by addiction. Participants will learn to identify common behavioral patterns, improve communication skills, strengthen boundary setting skills and learn mindfulness.

On Saturdays, starting on July 9, experienced Clinical Social Worker Susan Marcus is leading a group for adult children of alcoholic or drug addicted parents to address the effects of growing up in a home affected by addiction. Participants will learn to identify common behavioral patterns, improve communication skills, strengthen boundary setting skills and learn mindfulness.

"Many adult children of alcoholic and drug addicted parents learn how to keep secrets, deny their own feelings and remain distant in relationships," Susan Marcus stated. Marcus, a licensed independent social worker with a private practice in Gahanna who has worked with this population, said that Stephanie Brown and Tim Cermak of the Stanford Alcohol Clinic were the first to identify common behavioral patterns among adult children of alcoholics.

"They have a universal need to be in control, have trust issues and avoid feelings," shared Marcus, who added, "young children develop a sense of competence when caregivers respond to their basic needs. When a parent has an addiction, the response can be erratic and unpredictable. Thus, rather than develop a strong identity and self esteem, the child of an alcoholic grows up with a feeling of abandonment even though the parents were home, just not available."

In an effort to help adult children of alcoholic and drug addicted parents connect with one another in an accepting and nonjudgmental environment, Marcus is starting an on-going weekly co-ed group on Saturday, July 9, 2016, from 11AM to noon in her office conference room at 1075 Beecher Crossing North, Suite C, in Gahanna.

"First, we'll break the barrier of silence," Marcus said, referring to the reluctance of adult children of alcoholic or drug addicted parents to share their experiences of growing up in a home where no one was allowed to talk about the addiction. Participants will learn to identify common behavioral patterns established from childhood due to living amid chaos and unpredictability. Marcus noted, "When a child lives with an addicted parent, he doesn't know if that parent will be happy, in a rage or unconscious, if there will be food in the house, or if anyone will remember it's his birthday."

Marcus said, "I have counseled adult children of addicted parents who were forced to fulfill the parental role because their parent was drunk or high. As a result, they lost many social opportunities for peer interaction and may have bypassed other critical developmental passages, as well. They continue to struggle with feelings of anger, depression and anxiety." This new group is designed to help this population by offering support, reinforcing communication skills, reduce codependency by strengthening boundary setting skills and teaching mindfulness.

Group size is limited. Registration and a free introductory interview is required. Please email marcus(at)marcuscounselingllc(dot)com or call 614.980.4052. Each session costs $20. For more information, go to https://www.marcuscounselingllc.com/

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