Monday, September 3, 2012

Tian Dayton's new book on adult children of alcoholics

Tian Dayton's newest book, The ACOA Trauma Syndrome: The Impact of Childhood Pain on Adult Relationships, takes a look at what it means to be an adult who grew up in an alcoholic home, the childhood pain that results from this experience and the way to find happiness in adult relationships.

Tian, who has a Ph.D. in psychology and is a sister psychodramatist, writes not from ivory tower research -- although she does offer plenty of research to back up her information about neurobiology -- but also from a very personal perspective:

"My father had two very distinct personalities. The same father who tenderly gave me cafĂ© au lait on a spoon and fresh-squeezed orange juice in a baby glass, who listened to my childish sentences with such pride and pleasure, who dreamed impossible dreams for my future and worked all of his life to give me the best of everything—that same beloved father had a monster living inside of him. And that monster was as frightening to me as the other side of him was beautiful. And that monster grew stronger with each drink he took. At different times of the month, the week, and eventually the day, the monster would take over my father, and I would have no idea where my 'real' dad had gone."
Tian, who has been awarded the Scholar's Award from  the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, is the executive editor of the organization's journal. She has written a number of books about psychodrama and experiential therapy including The Living Stage and  The Drama Within, and has also documented much about pain and trauma associated with dysfunctional families, including Heartwounds, Emotional Sobriety and Trauma and Addiction.

Here she talks about emotional sobriety and growing up in a family that hurts: