What is ACA?

Adult Children Anonymous (formerly known as Adult Children of Alcoholics or ACOA) is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition program of women and men who grew up in alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional homes.  We meet with each other in a mutually respectful, safe environment and acknowledge our common experiences.  We discover how childhood affected us in the past and influences us in the present.  We take positive action.  By practicing the Twelve Steps, focusing on the solution, and accepting a loving Higher Power of our understanding, we find freedom from the past and a way to improve our lives today.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to recover from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family.

Meetings
Sunday - 3:00 PM est
Monday - 9:30 PM est
Tuesday - 7:00 PM est
Thursday - 7:00 PM est

Java Based Chat room On Web Site -  Room Name: #ACOA_Chat
To Enter meetings click on the "Java Based Chat room Entrance" Link below or in site menu at top of page.  Then, after page fully loads, click on the "Load Chat Client" button towards center of page in java box.
If you run an IRC client such as mIRC you can use it by selecting a Webnet or Webchat server from the server list on mIRC and then adding #acoa_chat to your channels list.

ACOA Meeting Room Entrance. CLICK HERE!

 

The Problem

Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic household. We had come to feel isolated, uneasy with other people, and especially authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process. All the same, we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat. We either became alcoholics ourselves or married them or both. Failing that, we found another compulsive personality, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment. We lived life from the standpoint of victims. Having an over-developed sense of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. We somehow got guilt feelings when we stood up for ourselves rather than giving in to others. Thus, we became reactors, rather than actors, letting others take the initiative. We were dependent personalities -- terrified of abandonment -- willing to do almost anything to hold onto a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally. Yet we kept choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic parents. These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism made us "co-victims" -- those who take on the characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink. We learned to keep our feelings down as children and kept them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue. Even more self defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable relationships. This is a description, not an indictment.

 

The Solution

The Solution is to become your own loving parent. As ACA becomes a safe place for you, you will find the freedom to express all the hurts and fears you have kept inside and to free yourself from the shame and blame that are carryovers 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 accept and love 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 reparent 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 parents, our Higher Power gave us the 12 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 healthier 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 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 will 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 God, yourself and your parents.


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