What are the Common Struggles of Children of an Alcoholic? Adult children of alcoholics meetings provide an opportunity for such individuals to share their traumatic experiences in a safe, non-judgmental environment. The ACOA organization believes a sharing of experiences is essential for affected individuals to heal from the trauma, break free from children of alcoholics symptoms, and become a loving parent to their children. In addition to meetings in communities nationwide, for the sake of convenience, the organization also offers ACOA online meetings and telephone meetings.

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To avoid becoming enmeshed and entangled with other people and losing ourselves in the process, we become rigidly self-sufficient. We disdain the approval of others. We frighten people with our anger and threat of belittling criticism. We dominate others and abandon them before they can abandon us or we avoid relationships with dependent people altogether. To avoid being hurt, we isolate and dissociate and thereby abandon ourselves.

We live life from the standpoint of a victimizer, and are attracted to people we can manipulate and control in our important relationships.

We are irresponsible and self-centered. Our inflated sense of self-worth and self-importance prevents us from seeing our deficiencies and shortcomings. We make others feel guilty when they attempt to assert themselves.

We inhibit our fear by staying deadened and numb. We act as if we are nothing like the dependent people who raised us. Before we write in greater detail about the original Laundry List, we must note that most of the 14 Traits have an opposite. Our experience shows that the opposites are just as damaging as the counterpart. If we lived our life from the viewpoint of a victim Trait 5 , then many of us have become persecutors or perpetrators who created victims. If we got guilt feelings for standing up for ourselves Trait 7 , we could also feel guiltless by shaming someone verbally.

We could take from others what was not ours without feeling guilty. These examples represent the reverse side of the Laundry List. Many of us would like to deny that we have been a dominating authority figure, but we have.

Many of us have reenacted what was done to us, thinking we were justified. Some of us have engaged in fights that go beyond mere words. We have slapped and slugged others in a fit of rage. Some of us have used a violent cursing with threats of physical harm to intimidate others. A few adult children have willingly committed crimes.

We can feel shame or disgust when we think about our actions. This is healthy guilt, which is different from the toxic guilt that we were raised under. If we apply half the effort to ACA that we apply to living codependently, we will see amazing results. We will find clarity and self-worth. We will need help. We will need acceptance from others when we cannot accept ourselves. We do not need to shame ourselves or dive into self-condemnation, but we must be honest about our behavior.

We sometimes need a reminder that we are acting destructively and should consider rethinking our behavior. ACA allows us to admit our behavior in a safe place without judgment from others. By working the ACA program, we learn to recognize when we are thinking like a victim or persecutor and to talk about it.

We reparent ourselves with gentleness and self-love. We become open minded to the idea that we can change with time and with help.


Adult Children Of Alcoholics (ACOA)

We meet to share our experience of growing up in an environment where abuse, neglect and trauma infected us. This affects us today and influences how we deal with all aspects of our lives. ACA provides a safe, nonjudgmental environment that allows us to grieve our childhoods and conduct an honest inventory of ourselves and our family—so we may i identify and heal core trauma, ii experience freedom from shame and abandonment, and iii become our own loving parents. If you identify with any of these Traits, you may find a home in our Program. We welcome you. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.


Laundry List

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 we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.


13 Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics

We confuse our co-workers with our siblings or our alcoholic parent s and repeat childhood reactions in those working relationships. We expect lavish praise and acknowledgment from our boss for our efforts on the job. Authority figures scare us and we feel afraid when we need to talk to them. We lose our temper when things upset us rather than dealing with problems productively. We can get hurt feelings when co-workers do things socially together without asking us, even though we have not made an effort to get to know them and join in the social life.

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