Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA / ACA)Adult Children of Alcoholics, when capitalized, refers to a therapeutic, 12-step group program designed to help people who grew up in alcoholic homes (as well as those marked by other dysfunctions such as compulsive gambling) understand the effects of this upbringing on their choices and actions, recover and build healthy adult lives. The program follows the traditional 12-step format with meetings around the world.
For more information, see the website Adult Children of Alcoholics.
Adult children of alcoholicsAdult children of alcoholics may also refer to adults who had one or more parents or other close family members who abused alcohol. Alcoholism creates an inconsistent or even abuse home environment, causing children to learn ways of relating to the world that may hurt them later on.
According to Dr. Janet G. Woititz' "The 13 Characteristics of Adult Children", traits typical of adults who grew up in alcoholic family are as follows:
- Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is.
- Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.
- Adult children of alcoholics lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
- Adult children of alcoholics judge themselves without mercy.
- Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty having fun.
- Adult children of alcoholics take themselves very seriously.
- Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships.
- Adult children of alcoholics overreact to changes over which they have no control.
- Adult children of alcoholics constantly seek approval and affirmation.
- Adult children of alcoholics usually feel that they are different from other people.
- Adult children of alcoholics are super responsible or super irresponsible.
- Adult children of alcoholics are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.
- Adult children of alcoholics are impulsive. They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsively leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.
In addition to the program above, groups such as Al-Anon and Alateen provide resources for members of alcoholic families. Many of our therapists also treat adult children of alcoholics.
Referring to this page:
The FindCounseling.com Interactive Glossary of Mental Health and Disability Terms was written by C. J. Newton, MA, Learning Specialist, and published in July, 1996, on www.MirConnect.com, changed to www.TherapistFinder.net in 2000, and to www.FindCounseling.com in 2006.
Use or reference to this article on the Internet must be accompanied by a link to the page you cite.