It’s time to trade armor for courage!

If you grew up within a chaotic childhood environment caused by chronic inconsistency, stress, and emotional or physical
top_recovery_blogabandonment or abuse, whether due to addictions, political unrest, war, or a parent’s mental health issues — then Guess What Normal Is is for you.  If you are prone to anxiety, depression, self-doubt, people-pleasing, and decision-making influenced by fear — then Guess What Normal Is is for you.  If you want to free yourself of the coping behaviors that worked in a chaotic childhood but don’t serve you in adulthood — Guess What Normal Is welcomes you!

I named GWNI after one of the thirteen characteristics of adult children of alcoholics developed by the late Janet Woititz, author of many ground-breaking books about the legacy of adult-children of alcoholics. The characteristic states that “Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is.”

The Kind Self-Healing Book 

To learn about my book, The Kind Self-Healing Book, visit the Facebook page:  The Kind Self-Healing Book. You can buy the book here on Amazon.com.

My IGNITE talk

I hope that I can inspire others to make changes in their lives in order to get happier and function better. It’s essential to try to get what you secretly want out of this life. And, to get there, you need to grow. To grow, it’s necessary to conduct a personal investigation, one which includes looking at the reactive, defensive, isolating, and safety-seeking behaviors that all of us as adult children of alcoholic, addict, or otherwise narcissistic and child-like parents have always utilized, simply as learned habits and survival mechanisms.

This site has a Facebook Pagecheck it out here!


I’ve organized the content in a way that reflects the surviving-healing-thriving journey.

The THRIVING section is about living from a place of self-esteem, courage, and according to what you want from life. People who grew up in chaotic childhoods live life from survivor mode (people-pleasing is one example, and waiting for the next shoe to drop is another) without knowing it but not actually liking it – and so, moving into thriving mode is where fear is traded for courage and we spread our wings…no matter what others might think or say or threaten to do.

The SURVIVING section contains information about discovering what the heck happened in childhood, and its implications. It’s an adult-child primer, a 101 in surviving a chaotic childhood.

The HEALING category is about becoming present, aware, incorporating your wounds, getting quiet, being calmly still, and transforming your pieced-back-together self and history into a meaningful life, as well as keeping self-kindness in the forefront of that life. And then doing it forever and always as a lifelong practice.

Next is RELATIONSHIPS, which is the final frontier for a lot of us. The relationships in our lives are where we can practice trust, and putting into action our new belief that our needs are actually valid and worth getting met, and the zone in which we trade control for courage.

It’s never too late for a dose of childhood!


I work full-time in the book publishing business, which I have been doing since 1994 (including a few years of magazine and web publishing, back when CD-ROMs were new fangled and the Internet was called the on-line). Right now I’m a Senior Acquisitions Editor for a technology book publisher based in San Francisco, CA. I used to also do freelance writing on the side, and have published nonfiction articles in city and national magazines, for educational publishers and for the web (see my personal site for all those oldies).

My time is filled with my job in publishing, raising my five-year-old son, enjoying friends, tending to this blog, book editing, learning video, reading, avoiding laundry, playing, being present, and learning the practice of being idle, a kind of nourishing, waking relaxation.

I’m also a writer of fiction and creative nonfiction essays and you can check out some of that work on my personal writing site. I have a BA in English language studies and an MFA in creative writing.

You’ll find bits of my personal story throughout the site; here is a piece that I wrote about my mother’s death, her addiction, and my longing for her after she died suddenly in March of 2002.

I like making How-To videos

‘Guess How To End Conversations’ by Amy Eden for GWNI with Tim G. from amy eden on Vimeo.


I love speaking to groups, leading workshops, and moderating panels. Feel free to email me at amyeden@guesswhatnormalis.com if you’d like to invite me to speak to your group or give a session at a conference. I have experience moderating panels and enjoy addressing groups not yet familiar with the concepts of adult children of alcoholics, too.


I enjoy answering all of the emails I receive, and spend time giving the most complete feedback I can especially when personal situations and relationship questions are involved. I really enjoy meeting all of you over email and through comments. Many reader emails were the inspiration for quite a few posts on this blog.

Thank you for reaching out, and thank you for your involvement!



These opinions are my own, based on my reactions to and conclusions from my readings of various self-help, psychology and alcoholism-related texts, as well as my own personal experiences.

If this is ‘normal,’ I need a stronger prescription.


Images:  The photographs of me were donated to GWNI by lifestyle, wedding and portrait photographer Annika Erickson (www.aepicturesinc.com).  All other photographs on this blog were shot by me or are from iStockphoto.com.

(c) 2011 All Rights Reserved Guess What Normal Is