There is redemption and restoration, just look…

This last week we all got to learn that Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canerbury, leader of the Anglican faith and a senior member of the British Establishment, is an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACOA).

Image of the Archbishop of Canterbury talking about addiction

The fact that the issue of his parentage led to this revelation is a tragedy that only he can truly understand.  However his honesty and humility in sharing details of his “messy” childhood and upbringing makes him all the more inspirational for those of us who have an understanding of the true meaning of his “messy”.

Politicians, Doctors, Lawyers, business professionals and now senior ecclesiasts who identify as ACOA, demonstrate that lives can be redeemed.  A childhood spent with an alcoholic/addict can be defining for those who allow it to hold them back.  Growing up with “messy” dysfunction can lead to anxiety disorders, depression and emotional turmoil.

I’m often surprised when its explained to me that this dysfunction WILL result in negative behaviours and attitudes, poor performance at school etc.  However, in my experience the opposite is true.  Often children who live with this dysfunction will behave impeccably, they will be high achievers, desperate to not further “rock the boat”.  They will often be perfectionists and with that come all the associated anxieties.

The fact that Justin Welby has achieved such high office in the British establishment is an indictment of the strength of character it takes to overcome the addictive disorder.  That he is able to commend his mother for her recovery, the fellowship of AA and his faith is such a positive role model for all children and young people still suffering.  

What an inspiration and how sad that he felt he had to justify his childhood experiences.  The man has often expressed sentiments that I thought were inclusive, compassionate and caring, now we can all understand why.

Amanda Thomas
Western Counselling