What is Adult Children of Alcoholics?
Adult Children of Alcoholics is a recovery program for adults whose lives were affected as a result of being raised in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional family. It is based on the success of Alcoholics Anonymous and employs its version of The Twelve Steps and The Twelve Traditions. If you can identify with The Problem or have several of the characteristics of The Laundry List (below), ACA will benefit you.
14 Traits of an Adult Child
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.
Excerpts from Fellowship text (BRB) ©Adult Children of Alcoholics®/World Service Organization. All rights reserved.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are reprinted and adapted from the original Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.