F.R.E.E.   Family Recovery thru Education & Empowerment


Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA)

Adult Children of Alcoholics, also called ACA’s or ACoA, are individuals raised by alcoholic adults or adults who were raised in an alcoholic home. Due to the predictable behaviors exhibited in these homes, ACA’s are trained to be dysfunctional and unavailable in their lives. Most recovering people have a dual problem. Once the initial addiction has gone to sleep, other behaviors surface that inhibit the recovery process. Dealing with ACA issues after stopping the intake of chemicals is commonly referred to as Second Stage Recovery.

Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics:

Guess at what normal behavior is

Have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end

Have difficulty with intimate relationships

Take themselves too seriously

Judge themselves without mercy

Lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth

Over-react to changes over which they have no control over

Are extremely loyal; even when evidence is presented which proves
that the loyalty is undeserved

Constantly seek approval and affirmations from other people

Are super irresponsible or super responsible

Feel that they are somehow different from other people

Do not have fun

Are impulsive. They tend to look at something without giving serious consideration to any type of alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This leads to confusion and loss of control.  
They then spend a huge amount of time cleaning up the mess.



QUESTION: Does being an ACA have anything to do with how I deal with life? Does being an ACA have anything to do with how I deal with life? Does being an ACA have anything to do with how I deal with life?

ANSWER: If you look at the list of characteristics, you will see that most areas of your life are out of control. There is no balance in the behavior of an ACA. They don't do life very well.

QUESTION: I have all of these characteristics, but my parents were not alcoholic. What does this mean?

ANSWER: Behaviors are like bad habits. They are passed from generation to generation. Ask your parents if they ever went to parent school. I would bet they did not. Therefore, they parented you just as they were parented. Your problem is that you got some from Mom and some from Dad and you are the combined mix of all that dysfunction. Somewhere in your family there was an alcoholic.

QUESTION: What is the solution to this problem?

ANSWER: Find a clinician that is knowledgeable in ACA issues. If you choose to attend ACA 12-Step meetings be aware that you are in denial and it may take more than a few meetings for you to get in touch with the issues you need to deal with.

Related Links

12-Step Recovery Stories
 Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families and Recovery stories. 
A very nice site!

You Don't Realize How Deep This Is Until A Tragedy Occurs...
A recovery story by the founder of F.R.E.E. and featured at the above Recovery site, 12-step Recovery Stories. Check this out if you thought you were alone in your familial dysfunctions.

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This page last edited: Thursday, Jan 15, 2009 07:47 PM

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