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family stuff- I am an ACOA

Friday, October 07, 2011

I don't post a lot of family stuff here, especially about my mom and my childhood. I'm 40 now so it's not like it happened yesterday etc. I just joined the ACOA team though so I thought it would be a good time to post some of my ACOA history. It's Mental Health Awareness Week too, so there's another reason.

My mother is an alcoholic. I can say that now. When I was growing up it wasn't allowed. She's been married and divorced 3 times and has been "single" now for many, many years although she almost always has a boyfriend around somewhere. She can't stand to be "alone".

When I was growing up she was married to my step-father (now ex-step-father) for a few years. During that time they tried to have kids but my mom kept having miscarriages. So they decided to do foster care. We got a 4 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. My parents still wanted a baby though so when I was 9 years old (3 years later) they got a 3-month old baby boy who they eventually adopted.

The foster kids stayed with us for 4 years. During that time my mother abused the girl. When the social workers finally caught on to the abuse the kids were pulled out of our home immediately. I pretty much never saw them again.

Flash forward 30 years. Last week I found their names on Facebook. They were connected to a friend of a friend.. the girl has changed her name thanks to adoption and marriage. The boy has also changed his name because of adoption. However after figuring out what I could I solved the puzzle.

So after 30 years we are getting the chance to catch up. My mother is in Florida and I haven't told her. I might soon, but so far I haven't. My adopted brother is 31 years old now, and still in touch with my mother and my step-father. He doesn't remember the foster kids at all I think since he was only an infant when it all happened. He's 9 years younger than me so he had a different experience with this all.

Still I think what is amazing is that I think the girl thought she was the only one to be abused, and while I knew that my mother hit her once I did not know much of the other stuff. The words that come into my head are "You are not alone." I think we both thought we were alone on this, and turns out we weren't.

Many ACOAs feel they are alone. I know as a kid I wanted nothing to do with group therapy because I didn't honestly believe that anyone else had a crazy mother like I do. I know better now, and sadly I have heard stories far worse than ours as the years have gone by. Still.. it's a good thing. Very traumatic, but a good thing.

I've done a lot of writing in the past week, and this is more of it. I think writing it down helps make it real, and helps me process what can best be described as "grief".

Thanks for reading my story.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am an ACOA, too. Long ago and far away, fortunately. My mom has been in AA for 31 years and our wounds have healed. We are the lucky ones.
    2320 days ago
    AWESOME that you were all to reconnect and share the past experiences........healing is a good thing!!! YOU ARE STRONG!! You can do this Rebecca!!!
    2322 days ago
    I am happy for you to be able to connect and process a lot of what has happened. I find a lot of comfort and support in Acoa - it does not matter if we have similar stories, the thing I ind very comforting is that I av not alone in being "crippled" by my story and needing to find peace with it.
    2323 days ago
    I am an ACOA as difficult to deal with. I think it's great you are attempting to reconnect with the kids you once knew as family.
    2324 days ago
  • CAR58OLE

    I wish you the best as you reunite with your foster sister... I know it cant be easy, but I hope you can find your peace within emoticon
    2324 days ago
    Thank you for sharing. I know how hard that is. I am also an ACOA, and while my story is different in many ways, I know that feeling of being alone.

    2324 days ago
  • TANYAP71
    I hope you find both the rekindled relationships and the team here good forms of support. Processing all of this must be hard but hopefully it will bring you some peace and healing.
    2324 days ago
    Yay Facebook!! I found several of my cousins on there who I hadn't seen in years and years because of various drug, abuse, and alcohol problems among our parents, and it is SO CATHARTIC to talk to the other people who went through it with you as a kid and know that not only are you not alone, you're all pretty okay and can stop the cycle and live positively!!

    Thanks for sharing!
    2325 days ago
    I am glad that you are finding support. You choosing to write about your past is a step towards more healing. Stay brave and strong.
    2325 days ago
  • AMAS92568
    I think it's really terrific that you have been able to reconnect with the people who you knew as child. (I don't know what to call them -- foster siblings?)

    I also think it's great that you have joined a support group and are working through your feelings. My father is your mother. I often feel alone even though I'm in my early 40s now. It's hard to work through this. So many people don't understand and minimize it.

    You are a strong woman.

    Athena emoticon
    2325 days ago
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