drunk alchoholic

5 Common Issues Children of Alcoholics Face as Adults

It is a club most never ask to join, but there is a solidarity among members that is hard to find anywhere else. Given a choice, most who belong wouldn’t have chosen the path that brought them there. Not only do they still carry the emotional, and sometimes physical, scars of that journey but some have been cursed to repeat the journey in their own lives.

drunkenAdult children of alcoholics (ACOA) spend most of their childhoods struggling to make sense of the insanity that is alcoholism, only to find out as adults that they still don’t have all the answers. Even more frustrating is the awareness that for all the promises that they were *never* going to be like *them* when they grew up, they often find themselves back in the vicious cycle of addiction.

One in four children under the age of 18 are exposed to alcoholism in their family, and those children are four times more likely to face their own addictions as adults. They are also more likely to marry someone dealing with alcoholism, either their own or with a similar family history. For some it can be a double-edged sword because they will either become the alcoholic, or marry one. Even if they escape the addictive personality, they are sometimes drawn to partners who will treat the as badly as they saw their parents treating each other.

Copycat Behaviors

Parents model many of the behaviors that children learn from, and that includes how to treat other people. If, for example, a son grows up seeing his alcoholic father or mother berate and belittle the other parent, he learns from their example how to 1) berate and belittle others; 2) what constitutes “acceptable” behavior in a relationship, especially if the other parent never stands up for themselves. It can create conflicting emotions as an adult because they will either look for someone they can bully, or try to find someone who will bully them.

Controlling Walls

child-of-alcoholic-hiding

As children, they saw or experienced painful behaviors from the alcoholic and so as adults, the walls they build are comprised of rigid routines, inflexible predictability, “no one will ever treat me like that,” and “I will never do that.” It is their way of controlling what they couldn’t control as children, and it helps to make them feel safe again.

When someone breaks one of their boundary rules, changes plans, or they feel  out of control in other ways, there can be a sudden reaction of anger and anxiety. Relationships can be swiftly and uncompromisingly ended. It is often “all or nothing” or “my way or the highway.”

Role Reversals

In some single parent homes where the parent is the alcoholic, children may roles reverse and it is the child that takes care of the parent. Often if there are multiple children in the home, the oldest child becomes the parent for all of them, because there were no other options. As an adult, an ACOA may become overly responsible, taking responsibility for things that are out of their control such as problems they didn’t cause or other people’s feelings.

Isolation as a Wall

alcoholicWith a childhood that was often filled with neglect, abuse, rejection, or feeling unloved, unwanted, and alone, ACOAs can have a hard time trusting others, making it hard to develop lasting relationships because they can’t bring themselves to open up to others in an effort to protect themselves from getting hurt again. They may not even know how to trust themselves, or honestly know who they are. They may have hidden their own emotions for so long, going along with what others wanted just to keep people from knowing them.

Approval Seekers

ACOAs want to be liked, loved, accepted and approved after childhoods filled with everything but those needs. They want to avoid conflict, and so they do whatever is necessary to make everyone happen, even at the sacrifice of their own desires. Hand in hand with people pleasing, ACOAs can also be perfectionists. In another effort to avoid conflict and criticism as a child, they sometimes had unattainable goals of perfection which may carry into adulthood.

A Brighter Future

While these are just a few of the traits that Adult Children of Alcoholics may have learned as coping mechanisms, there is hope for change. Counseling, or (free) groups like Al-Anon and ACOA, can provide help, direction, support, materials, and just the knowledge that you are not alone in your struggles. Sometimes the road to recovery begins with a  welcoming hug.


Jennifer Landis is a tea-drinking, yoga loving, clean eating blogger, writer, wife, and mother. You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama.

vaping is stupid

Why Vaping Is as Dumb as Smoking

There’s a lion enclosure at your local zoo. The lions have a well-documented history of attacking people on sight. The lions have not yet been fed that day. Given the data at hand, deciding to jump into that enclosure would be pretty stupid, wouldn’t it?

Say there’s a different lion enclosure at another zoo. The lions are new to captivity. There’s no data regarding their reactions to humans. They’ve been fed.

Which enclosure would it be safer to jump into?

The second, obviously. The lions have at least been fed, so a human leaping in doesn’t look like a magically appearing meal. There’s no proof they’ve attacked before, so there’s at least a chance they won’t attack now. But is it safe to jump into that enclosure?

The answer, of course, is an emphatic no. Just because an activity is safer than, it doesn’t make it safe, especially when the data needed to make that decision is incomplete.

Vaping: Safer Than

vaping teenagerVaping delivers a nicotine fix without the tobacco, sating an addiction without the known carcinogenic and other medical dangers of tobacco. As such, it’s touted as a safe, satisfying alternative to smoking. It’s marketed as a fun hobby and an effective way to quit smoking cigarettes. Fact: neither of those marketing claims is facts.

Not enough studies and tests have been completed to support sweeping statements regarding the safety of e-cigarettes and vaping. There is no conclusive evidence that these alternatives are effective tools for kicking a tobacco habit.

Where’s the Data?

Over the last decade, the e-cigarette and vaping industry have exploded, resulting in a largely unregulated $3 billion global industry.

The data has, simply put, not had the time to catch up to the market. Policymakers and lawmakers are struggling to decide if and how to regulate e-cigarette use. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO), and other guardian entities of health and public safety are scrambling to find the footholds they need to even begin studying the effects of vaping on the human body.

In other words, there isn’t enough data to show that vaping is a definite health threat, but there also isn’t enough data to prove that it’s safe.

Emerging Health Concerns

A lack of definitive answers does not equal a complete lack of data or concerns.

Health organizations like the American Lung Association are beginning to compile and investigate a growing list of concerns including, but not limited to:

  • Manufacturers have not revealed the chemicals used in their products
  • Early tests have already found significant cancer-causing chemicals
  • A child has already died from accidentally ingesting liquid nicotine from e-cigarettes
  • Preliminary studies also raise concerns over the risks of secondhand emissions

Frightening Setbacks

Thanks to diligent research and effective communication, the population of cigarette smokers in the United States has dropped to between 12 and 28%, depending on the state.

But while Big Tobacco’s control and influence are waning in traditional cigarette sales, they are starting to make up for it through vaping. In the case of youth sales, vaping has allowed them easy, unchecked access to a new market.

As of 2013, “over a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used e-cigarettes.” That’s triple the amount from 2011. Imagine what that figure would be today.

Between flavoring options and marketing, it is clear that the vaping industry is taking advantage of the lack of oversight and regulations to create an addicted consumer base among youth and children.

Pro-Profit, Anti-Truth

Whether it’s Big Tobacco at the helm or new vaping manufacturers, the end-goal is clear: profit. If the decades of runarounds, cover-ups, and deceptions from the tobacco industry have proven anything, it’s that the manufacturer of the goods has no incentive to reveal the dangers and risks their goods pose to consumer health and safety.

Does that sound too cynical to be true? For some light reading, read WHO’s information revealing just how much the tobacco industry was willing to lie, deny, and cover up in the name of profit.

With vaping profits on the rise, consumers need to ask: why should we believe an addiction-for-profit based industry’s word now?

Why Is Vaping as Dumb as Smoking?

vaping outside schoolIt’s like jumping into that second den of lions because the lions told you: “Come on in – I already ate.” 


Jennifer Landis is a tea-drinking, yoga loving, clean eating blogger, writer, wife, and mother. You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama.

Stress relief

Why Minimizing Your Life Could Be the Answer to Your Stress

Stress is something we encounter every day, from work obligations to family requirements, and everything in between. Americans, however, experience more stress than is healthy — and they may not be doing much about it.

Even though Americans’ stress levels are starting to decrease overall from previous years, there are still 42 percent of people who aren’t taking the time to keep their stress in check.

Ways to Lower Your Stress Levels

What can you do to manage stress? The kneejerk reaction is often to make more money, do more and be more.

In truth, however, eliminating elements from your life will provide you with the clarity, space and time you so desire. The answer to your stress problems is available through minimizing different aspects of your life.

Here are three ways to start de-cluttering and cleansing your world:

1- Forget Storing, Embrace Purging

Don’t spend any more of your time or money on storage systems. It’s not that the perfect containment system for all your stuff eludes you — it’s simply that you have too many belongings.

With possessions comes responsibility — and stress. If you don’t have heaps of belongings to worry about and take care of, you will spare yourself that time and energy of trying to keep track of it all.

Additionally, when you are selective about the items you keep, only the useful and meaningful items will remain. This will actually save you time in the long run, as you won’t have to go searching for items amongst all your unwanted clothing, housewares and possessions. You’ll have a very clear mental catalog of what you held onto.

If you need a little added motivation, look at the bestselling book, “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing Book” by Japanese cleaning consultant, Marie Kondo. It details how to begin bringing minimalism into your home by sorting through what’s there.

Once you’re done culling, you can donate your unwanted belongings to various charities including Goodwill or the Salvation Army.Bigger Isn’t Better

2- Bigger Isn’t Better

Somehow the American Dream got caught up in the notion that bigger is better, especially with homes. Coming in second only to Australia, US homeowners have the largest average house size in the world — with a footprint of over 2,000 square feet.

With each square foot comes a higher price tag, meaning higher mortgage payments, property taxes and debt. Not only that, but monthly costs, such as utility bills, also go up since there is more space that needs to be supplied with power, water and heating/cooling.

In an effort to avoid these costs, people are opting for smaller homes. Some folks are even moving into tiny homes — less than 500 square feet. Some are traditional structures, and some are less traditional ones including buses, campers and shipping containers.

Each tiny living space allows the occupant to be free of crushing living expenses and money woes each month. All overhead costs decrease when living in a tiny house.

Tiny homes also discourage hoarding or excess accumulation of food and household products. With the limited amount of space available, only choice items can be housed. This empowers residents to invest in high-quality possessions. These pieces will last longer and will be more likely to be treasured possessions rather than a conglomeration of so-so items.

3- Go Paperless & Online

Papers have a way of stacking up on countertops, office desks and by the front door. The time and energy required to open, read, deal with and then file the paperwork could be better spent.

Opting to go paperless via online billing and banking reallocates that time for other, more fulfilling tasks. It will also eliminate physical clutter and allow for more accurate and efficient bookkeeping.

We’re all busy people, juggling a multitude of tasks and expectations. If meaningful efficiencies can be found in our day-to-day lives, we’ll be better able to spend our precious time with who and what we love.

Practicing simplicity and minimalism isn’t about depriving yourself. Rather, it’s about making the very most of what you have — and eliminating stress in the process.


Jennifer Landis is a tea-drinking, yoga loving, clean eating blogger, writer, wife, and mother. You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama.

Lower my cholesterol

5 Proven Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

Cholesterol is an essential substance needed for proper body function but when levels get too high, cholesterol increases the risk of heart attacks. Alarmingly, more than 17% of the adult U.S. population have dangerously high cholesterol. Some medications can reduce cholesterol levels, but there are also natural ways to help achieve the same goal.

Here are five proven ways to naturally decrease cholesterol:

1- Make Fiber Your Friend

Fiber-rich foods such as oats and barley can help lower cholesterol levels. When ingested, they form a gel in the gut which fixes itself to cholesterol-rich bile acids. This pairing prevents the body from absorbing bad acids.

2- Be Choosey About Protein

Opting for leaner meats and protein-rich plant foods can decrease cholesterol in the body. Fish such as wild salmon, sardines, and bluefin tuna (Omega-3-Rich Fish Chart) are great menu items and contain omega-3 fats. Another fine option is consuming  plants which contain protein, including legumes, beans, seeds or nuts.

Equally important is the decrease or removal of red meat from the diet. Red meat has an abundance of saturated fats, which have negative health impacts.

3- Make Small Changes

Ingredients added to food in preparation and presentation can affect cholesterol values. Opt out of using margarine and other processed fats in favor of olive oil in food prep.

Add some spice to a meal to help lower the levels. Garlic, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and coriander all help while also adding some major flavor to each bite. Researchers at Penn State University discovered that adding spices to high fat and oil content dishes actually lowers absorption of these dangerous substances. So spice things up to lower triglycerides.

4- Make Lifestyle Changes

Lowering cholesterol isn’t just about watching what’s ingested and digested: One’s lifestyle can also impact cholesterol levels.

Smoking lowers the body’s “good” cholesterol while also injuring blood vessel linings and raising the risk of blood clots. The good news is that studies have shown that good cholesterol levels can rebound soon after a person stops smoking.

A good dose of laughter also helps. Laughing actually increases good cholesterol which counterbalances the bad stuff. Watching a funny movie, looking at silly cat videos online, and going to a stand-up comedy show are all forms of good medicine.

Learning to take time out and to relax can assist in keeping cholesterol in check. When you’re tense, stress hormones are issued out into the body and destroy other cells. This causes the body to respond by manufacturing large amounts of cholesterol to try to repair the damage. This, in turn, creates a glut of cholesterol in the system. After learning to use relaxation and meditation, your body will rely less on cholesterol for help.

5- Lose Weight

If a person is carrying extra pounds, losing the excess weight can help with cholesterol control. The American Society for Clinical Nutrition detailed 70 studies that have linked weight reduction to significant decreases in cholesterol.

We can’t and don’t want to eliminate cholesterol entirely from our lives and bodies — it is essential for proper body function. The key is to keep it in healthy forms and amounts.

For a person hoping to achieve and maintain this, many approaches can be tried. Medications are available but so are ample natural options for decreasing cholesterol.


Jennifer Landis is a tea-drinking, yoga loving, clean eating blogger, writer, wife, and mother. You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama.

energy drink

5 All Natural Alternatives to Energy Drinks

Let’s face it: We all need an energy boost now and then. If you don’t have time to get to the gym (exercise is a natural energy booster) or to take a snooze, you might reach for an energy drink instead. The only problem is that manufactured energy drinks have a slew of side effects, including chest pain, heart palpitations, and seizures. That’s because they often contain excess sugar and caffeine, which has adverse effects on how your body functions. This is highlighted in the article ‘Energy Drinks vs Anti-Energy Drinks‘ by 12 Keys Rehab Center.

For these reasons and more, it’s important for energy-seekers to expand their horizons and start testing natural alternatives instead. We’ve gathered five options for easy and natural alternatives that’ll give you a buzz without the bite. Bottoms up!

Yerba Mate

Hailing from South America, Yerba Mate has been said to have it all: the energy boost of caffeine, the health-improving effects of tea, and the feel-good vibes of chocolate. In fact, the mate leaves used to make this beverage contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, and antioxidants galore. In other words, drinking it will boost your energy and improve your overall health, which is more than most manufactured energy drinks can say.

To prepare Yerba Mate, you need a special mate cup designed to make preparation easy. Other than that, it’s made much like regular tea: After adding the leaves to the bottom of your cup, add hot water and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then, put the mate straw into the leaves-and-water combo before adding enough hot water to make a full glass.

Green Smoothie

green smoothieLove for green smoothies has been widespread for some time now, and for good reason: The inclusion of so many fresh veggies delivers a wealth of vitamins and minerals that you might not otherwise get in your diet. Recipes for green smoothies are all over the Internet, too, so you should have no trouble finding one that gives you the power you need to push through a long morning or afternoon slump. As you get used to whipping up your own smoothies, you’ll probably start experimenting to find a personal, perfect iteration.

As a starting-off point, here’s a recipe for an energizing green smoothie. All you need to do is blend 1 cup of baby kale or spinach with 2 cups of pineapple. Once that’s done, add 1 cup of ice and up to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to complete your cool treat.

Green Tea

The green trend continues with green tea, a widely revered beverage in the world of health and fitness. Most teas can provide us with an energy boost, but green tea has an added bonus: It also contains theobromine, which enhances your circulation to energize you both physically and mentally without overdoing it.

It’s easy to prep, too, and can be done in just about any office that has a hot-water tap or microwave. Steep your tea bag, sip and feel better without any jitters.

Check out ‘Benefits of Increased Blood Circulation‘ by LIVESTRONG.COM

Coconut Water

coconut waterOne common source of fatigue is dehydration – if you’re thirsty, that means you’re already dehydrated. While any one of these beverages will help you fight dehydration and, therefore, boost energy, coconut water is known for its dehydration-fighting abilities. That’s because it also contains carbohydrates, electrolytes, potassium and minerals to get your body hydrated and energized faster than plain old water.

Honestly, though, we can’t knock that as a remedy for low energy, either. Make your way through a large glass and reap the mood-boosting effects.

Kombucha

Kombucha is often touted for its ability to detox your body. Surprisingly enough, this ability is what makes it a great source of energy, too. Unlike other energy drinks, which provide a jolt of energy via caffeine, Kombucha cleans your system so it runs more efficiently, thus providing you with more energy. It’s also chock full of B vitamins, which boost your body’s overall energy along with several other appealing benefits. Check out ‘Top 7 Kombucha Health Benefits‘ by cheeselave.com

See? You don’t need to reach for that energy drink next time you’re feeling less-than-stellar. Instead, whip up or pick up a natural alternative that’s just as effective at fueling you through the day. Cheers to your health!

What’s your tip for picking yourself up when you are feeling less energized? Leave me a comment below.


Jennifer Landis is a tea-drinking, yoga loving, clean eating blogger, writer, wife, and mother. You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama.