Letting Go of Our Resistance and Taking the Next Step Toward Family Recovery Meet Lisa Sue Woititz What is the "unwelcome inheritance" of addiction for families? It's the big bag of rocks we spend our lives trying to unload—the low self-esteem and destructive behaviors that pass from one generation to the next. When we grow up in a household where active addiction is present, we become accustomed to a certain tension and anxiety. It's a sense of unease that comes from never knowing what's going to happen from one moment to the next. That tension is always with us, even during the joyous times and celebrations that come along in life. Another important part of this unwelcome inheritance is the biochemistry we're born with, our highly addictive, highly allergic genetic predisposition to certain medical problems and to developing the disease ourselves. How are you carrying your mother's groundbreaking work forward? When Mom wrote Adult Children of Alcoholics, she gave people who grew up with addiction in their family a frame of reference for understanding their experience and feelings. Her work motivated people to get into therapy and join support groups and begin to sort things out. Sadly, at the height of her research and writing, Mom became ill and passed away—before we could address her concern that many ACoAs seemed to be stuck in anger and resentment toward their parents. While they had a strong bond with their support group or their therapist, many were resistant to the idea of healing family relationships. We have observed over the years that even when the anger is justified, there is still a profound sense of grief that continues to impact our lives when the family remains broken. My focus is on helping people take that next step toward family recovery so that they can enjoy a happier life and also impact future generations in a positive way. What is that next step in helping ourselves and our families get "unstuck"? Healing begins with acknowledging our pain and hurt, and understanding that it wasn't our fault. The next step is about taking back our power and doing what we can to help make repairs and change our family dynamics, as appropriate, going forward. I'm raising the bar because we have a profound impact on the people we love and the people who love us. We can be a healing bridge between the generations of our families. It's up to each of us to take that next right step. I hope to compel others to open the door to that possibility. Lisa is an ACoA recovery coach, family mediator, author and daughter of the late Janet Woititiz, EdD, the researcher and educator widely recognized as the "mother" of the Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) movement. In Unwelcome Inheritance: Break Your Family's Cycle of Addictive Behaviors (Hazelden Publishing), Lisa combines her personal experience and clinical insight with her mother's unpublished findings to help families find their way out of destructive, intergenerational behavior patterns. Visit LisaSueWoititz.com for more information.