The title of my dissertation was “Sons of Alcoholic Fathers.”  After graduating from college and before applying to graduate school I needed a break from book learning.  With some persistence and luck I found a good BA level job at an alcohol residential treatment facility in Johnson County, a suburban district of Kansas City, Kansas.  That’s where my education really began. 


From the men in recovery, and excellent supervisors, I learned there but for the grace of God go I.  Open AA and Al-Anon meetings taught me humility and respect for my clients.  The Twelve Steps gave me an appreciation of the power of spiritual faith that years of catechism never did.

…Sons of alcoholics…

And I learned that many of the alcoholics in rehab were themselves sons of alcoholics.  At that time, the early eighties, research in this area was just beginning.  In 1982 Claudia Black, an adult child of an alcoholic (ACOA) herself, wrote It Will Never Happen To Me, placing a new focus on the special nature of ACOA problems.

A few years later I started graduate school and I had my dissertation research topic.  Today I see the depth of hurt and pain an ACOA can bury in their hearts only to have it resurface in the form of crippling low self-esteem, difficulty with intimacy, issues with authority and total confusion about what’s “normal”.

If you struggle with any of this, do not struggle alone.  Go to an Al-Anon meeting.  Find a counselor to help you sort out how growing up with an alcoholic parent effects your current and future happiness.  With fresh insight, there is hope you can gain true, secure and healthy mastery of your life.  Start by educating yourself with good books like Claudia Black’s.  Here are a few suggestions:

Adult Children of Alcoholics, by Janet Woititz

Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics, by Herbert L. Gravitz

A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety & Radical Transformation, by Stephanie Brown

Elvira G. Aletta, PhD, Founder & CEO

Executive & Personal CoachingIndividual & Relationship Counseling

Life gave Dr. Aletta the opportunity to know what it’s like to hurt physically and emotionally. After an episode of serious depression in her mid-twenties, Dr. Aletta was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease that relapsed throughout her adulthood. While treatable, the cure was often as hard to bear as the disease. Later she was diagnosed with scleroderma, another chronic illness.

Throughout, Dr. Aletta battled with anxiety. Despite all this, Dr. Aletta wants you to know, you can learn to engage in life again on your terms.

Good therapy helped Dr. Aletta. She knows good therapy can help you. That’s why she created Explore What’s Next.

Today Dr. Aletta enjoys mentoring the EWN therapists, focusing on coaching and psychotherapy clients, writing and speaking. She is proud and confident that Explore What’s Next can provide you with therapists who will help you regain a sense of safety, control and joy.

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