Growing up in an alcoholic home caused us to take on the characteristics of alcoholism, without ever picking up a drink, and made us reactors rather than actors. (The Laundry List, numbers 13 & 14). Healing these two characteristics is about unearthing, acknowledging, and healing those characteristics and learning to think things through before reacting (meaning that we act of our own volition rather than spinning off the handle and reacting emotionally).
Recovery for me has been a process–learning how to feel again after having been numb, learning how to deal with life, basically parenting myself after having parents who were emotionally absent. I went from being numb to having moments of happiness in the midst of misery, to having moments of misery in the midst of happiness. Al-anon really does work, but we as individuals have to do the work in order to feel better.
If you feel you have been affected by a problem drinker in your life, go to http://www.al-anon.org/ for more information and for meeting lists for your area. Online chat meetings are also available here, or you can join an email group here.