English: Brooke Shields at Naval Air Station, ...
 Brooke Shields at Naval Air Station, Pensacola in 1986. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There was a little girl,

Who had a little curl,

Right in the middle of her forehead.

When she was good,

She was very good indeed,

But when she was bad she was horrid. 
……….Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Brooke Shields was the little girl…

This week multiple generations of Americans are learning more about the Brooke Shields they thought they knew. If you are at least 45 years old then your earliest memories of Brooke would include movies like Pretty Baby, Blue Lagoon or Endless Love. In the 1990’s she appeared in a lot of television productions and by 1996 was starring in Suddenly Susan for four years. Many of us will recall her famous Calvin Klein advertisements and now almost every evening you can see her in ads for La-Z-Boy furniture and Foster Grant eye wear. 
Some may wonder why we cared about following Brooke’s career. It’s a good question, but basically the answer is probably we were drawn to her because she has been in the public eye since she was a baby, she put her acting
career on hold to attend Princeton University where she lived in a dorm and
received a degree in French Literature, and she dated interesting and provocative people. She married and divorced Andre Agassi. In 2001, she married Chris Henchy. They have two daughters. All the while her life looked engaging, perfect and enviable. 
Her mother, Teri, died October 31, 2012.    

“There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me”

This week Brooke Shields published her latest book “There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me.” It is memoir, but it takes a different turn than her previous books “Down Came the Rain” which discusses quite eloquently her battle with and recovery from post-partum depression and “On Your Own” written in 1985 in which she is talking to other young girls her age. 

Now “There Was a Little Girl” is about Teri, Brooke’s mother. It is about them, or as she offered today in an interview with NBC’s Willie Geist, her life was about their life together, she constantly uses the pronouns “we” and “us.” Teri was Brooke’s mother and manager in every way…guiding her career, her education, and her social life. Teri was also an alcoholic.

Brooke is an adult child of an alcoholic…

Chances are you, too, will see a number of interviews with Brooke over the next few days. She is on the cover of the current PEOPLE Magazine. ETonline had one of the most interesting interviews with Brooke and reported: 

“According to Brooke, her mother would take her into bars when she was a baby and later in life would be drunk by the time Brooke got home from school. Brooke also claims that she staged an intervention for her mother when she was just 13.”

Watch ET’s Michelle Turner’s interview with Brooke.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Some final thoughts…

It is indeed possible that many surviving adult children of alcoholics will welcome Brooke’s openness and willingness to share her story. They will identify with her frank statement: “I had to learn at a very early age to be the adult.” She doesn’t want to be portrayed as a victim and she doesn’t want to think of herself as a victim.

Here at Cottonwood Tucson we work with adult children of alcoholics. It is part of what our Family Program is all about. The goal of our Family Program is to help families relearn behavioral interaction so that healthy behaviors become logical. Interpersonal change that can be sustained after treatment requires a movement from following direction (first order change) to internalizing new ways of interacting (second order change). Families shift from obsessive worry and controlling behaviors to acknowledging that which is outside of their control and learn to focus on their own personal needs and boundaries. They learn to detach from the pain, and not from the person.

Cottonwood Tucson is particularly proud to say that our InnerPath Workshops Clinical Director and Facilitator Rokelle Lerner is a founder of National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA)!

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