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February 19


Isolation and Grieving

"Isolation is our retreat from the paralyzing pain of indecision. This retreat into denial blunts our awareness of the destructive reality of family alcoholism and is the first stage of mourning and grief." BRB p. 82

Isolation is a way of protecting ourselves from the grief of our childhoods. We were alone and we had no one who "got us." Protecting ourselves through isolation is common among ACAs. Whether we attend meetings, do Step work, go to retreats or just hang around meetings, we can do all of these things and still protect ourselves from the conscious, deeper knowledge of our losses. In an effort to avoid grief, we can share superficially or not at all. We can get to the meeting late and leave as soon as it closes. So even in recovery, we can remain alone as a way of not allowing ourselves to get in touch with the pain of our grief.

Yet, this isolation can be a part of the grieving process, and we are entitled to stay isolated as long as we need to in order to feel safe. Though it seems contradictory, as fellow travelers, the best that we can do for someone who is isolating is to allow them to grieve in the way they need to as long as it doesn't create an unreasonable distraction to the meeting. There is no timetable.

On this day I will give myself permission to grieve in my own way. If I'm isolating, I will be gentle with myself and be where I need to be until I'm ready to reach out.

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of Alcoholics / Dysfunctional Families
World Service Organization, Inc.
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