Hello and welcome to Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA). Just taking the time to find us, was a big first step in your recovery. Spend a few minutes navigating these pages, and be sure to read about the ACA Retreat. If you can relate to any of the laundry list characteristics listed below, you’re probably in the right place. It’s our sincere hope that you find this to be a helpful resource. Use this site as one of your recovery tools. Please bookmark this page for future reference, and send it to anyone you think should know. - Arizona Intergroup
What is ACA?
Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA or ACoA), is as an international 12 Step recovery program for individuals who grew up in alcoholic or dysfunctional homes. ACA is based on the belief that the disease of alcoholism and family dysfunction infected us as children and continues to affect us as adults.
What is an “Adult Child”?
An adult child is someone who meets the demands of life with survival techniques learned as children. Without help, we unknowingly operate with ineffective thoughts and judgments that can sabotage our decisions and relationships.
The ACA Laundry List
These are some characteristics we seem to have in common due to being brought up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional household.
- We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
- We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
- We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
- We either become alcoholics, marry them, or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
- We live life from the viewpoint of victims and are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
- We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
- We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
- We become addicted to excitement.
- We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue”.
- We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (denial).
- We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
- We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
- Alcoholism is a family disease and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
- Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.