Welcome to the Arizona Intergroup website for 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 annual ACA Arizona Retreat (you’re invited). If you can relate to any of the laundry list characteristics listed below, you’re probably in the right place. We hope that you find this to be a helpful resource. Bookmark this page for future reference, and use this site as one of your recovery tools. – 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.
Who Attends our Meetings?
ACA is not limited to those from alcoholic homes. If you identify with traits from The Laundry List (below), ACA might benefit you. Find your first meeting in the menu bar above.
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.
THE ACA ARIZONA RETREAT ON MINGUS MOUNTAIN
33 YEARS OF AMAZING EXPERIENCES
Here are some pictures from the ACA Arizona Retreat on Mingus Mountain. It doesn’t look like an Arizona desert, does it? Our event is 30 minutes from Sedona, 2.5 hours from the Grand Canyon, and 1.5 hours north of Phoenix. Hosted by the Arizona Intergroup. Read more here.
DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S SOLD OUT
The ACA Solution
The solution is to become your own loving parent
As ACA becomes a safe place for you, you will find freedom to express all the hurts and fears that you have kept inside and to free yourself from the shame and blame that are carry-overs from the past. You will become an adult who is imprisoned no longer by childhood reactions. You will recover the child within you, learning to love and accept yourself.
The healing begins when we risk moving out of isolation. Feelings and buried memories will return. By gradually releasing the burden of unexpressed grief, we slowly move out of the past. We learn to re-parent ourselves with gentleness, humor, love and respect.
This process allows us to see our biological parents as the instruments of our existence. Our actual parent is a Higher Power whom some of us choose to call God. Although we had alcoholic or dysfunctional parents, our Higher Power gave us the Twelve Steps of Recovery.
This is the action and work that heals us: we use the Steps; we use the meetings; we use the telephone. We share our experience, strength, and hope with each other. We learn to restructure our sick thinking one day at a time. When we release our parents from responsibility for our actions today, we become free to make healthy decisions as actors, not reactors. We progress from hurting, to healing, to helping. We awaken to a sense of wholeness we never knew was possible.
By attending these meetings on a regular basis, you will come to see parental alcoholism or family dysfunction for what it is: a disease that infected you as a child and continues to affect you as an adult. You will learn to keep the focus on yourself in the here and now. You will take responsibility for your own life and supply your own parenting.
You will not do this alone. Look around you and you will see others who know how you feel. We love and encourage you no matter what. We ask you to accept us just as we accept you.
This is a spiritual program based on action coming from love. We are sure that as the love grows inside you, you will see beautiful changes in all your relationships, especially with your Higher Power, yourself, and your parents.