Motherhood in Adult Children of Alcoholics
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Adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs) grew up in homes where one or both parents struggled with alcohol abuse. Countless children and families are impacted by intergenerational alcohol abuse and suffer in silence as they often do not receive the assistance they need. This qualitative phenomenological study aims to describe the essence of parenting experiences of eight women who identify as adult children of alcoholics. I employed Moustakas' (1994) transcendental phenomenology to understand the essence of the participants' experience. I conducted single in-depth interviews using a semi-structured interview style and utilized a modified van Kaam (1966) method to analyze the transcript of each interview. Four major themes emerged: silence and disconnection, personal impacts on the participants, caregiving roles, and cycle breaking. The participants demonstrated a nuanced understanding that they can be impacted by their childhood yet still break the cycle of intergenerational addiction and violence. Both endless pain from childhood trauma and restorative healing are possible non-mutually exclusive narratives of mothers who identify as ACOAs.