Never before in the history of Twelve Step programs has a fellowship brought together such a diverse group of recovering people that includes adult children of alcoholics, codependents, and addicts of various sorts. The program is Adult Children of Alcoholics. The term “adult child” is used to describe adults who grew up in alcoholic or dysfunctional homes and who exhibit identifiable traits that reveal past abuse or neglect. The group includes adults raised in homes without the presence of alcohol or drugs. These ACA members have the trademark presence of abuse, shame, and abandonment found in alcoholic homes.
Our 30 years of experience has shown that adult children who attend our meetings, work the Twelve Steps, and find a Higher Power experience astonishing improvement in body, mind, and spirit. Ours is one of the few Twelve Step fellowships that embraces the difficult task of trauma work, which can often lead to an exciting journey to the Inner Child or True Self. Along with sponsorship, we encourage informed counseling to help the adult child accomplish the greatest level of emotional healing from an abusive upbringing.
My personal favorite meeting is the ACA Healing Through Music phone meeting on Saturdays. Fellow Travelers request songs from the moderator that has special meaning to them and fellowship comments on those songs. A very powerful and healing meeting, especially if music is a deep part of your soul.
Old pain that gets imported into new relationships is the hallmark of the ACoA trauma syndrome. The past we thought we’d neatly left behind once we got tall enough, old enough or smart enough intrudes onto our present and we are returned, in the blink of an eye, to childhood states of emotion and along with them floods of feelings and images that we “forgot” were there…
Adult children of alcoholics often suffer long-term consequences of growing up in dysfunctional homes. DrugRehab.com spoke to three adult children of alcoholics who wished to remain anonymous. They revealed their childhood experiences of living with alcoholic parents, the emotional impact of the disease, and resources that have allowed them to process their pain…
ACA Fellowship Text was written by anonymous ACA members providing guidance on working the 12 Step ACA program leading to recovery from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family. This book is now often referred to as the “Big Red Book” , or “BRB”.
The Twelve Steps of Adult Children Workbook provides members with a detailed series of exercises and questionnaires that can be used by individuals either in a one-on-one Fellow Traveler (Sponsorship) or in group studies.
This Workbook expands the Fellowship Text’s brief description of the “Other” or Opposite Laundry List (BRB, p. 8). It contains concise questions to guide the recovering adult child in reliving actual episodes that produced feelings of inferiority, shame, guilt, and anger (emotional intoxication). This workbook outlines a recovery process for healing the injury and conflict caused by childhood trauma and its continued reenactment, and for withdrawing from emotional intoxication. (BRB p. 626).
Daily meditations for Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families written by and for the ACoA Fellowship.
Through Dr. Dayton’s insightful analysis and thoughtful examination, Adult Children of Alcoholics will learn how and why the pain they experienced in childhood plays out in their adult partnering and parenting, and they will learn how to restore health and happiness through their resilience.
Illustrating that emotional sobriety is a mind/body phenomenon, Dr. Dayton includes ideas on how to attain emotional literacy–the skill of translating feelings into words so that we can use our thought processes to understand and bring our emotions into balance–and how to calm the limbic system so that we can actually experience what we’re feeling. The limbic system processes our emotions and governs our mood, appetite, and sleep cycles. Repeated painful experiences, in childhood or adulthood, over which we have no ability or sense of control or escape can oversensitize us to stress andderegulate our limbic system. Dr. Dayton shows you through concrete examples how to bring your emotions and thoughts into balance and learn healthy ways of ‘self-soothing’ to relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, rage, and the desire to self-medicate.