About ACA

ACA is a program of recovery for those who grew up in alcholic or otherwise-dysfunctional families.

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) is a Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions program of men and women who grew up in alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional homes. The ACA program was founded on the belief that family dysfunction is a disease that infected us as children and affects us as adults. Our membership also includes adults from homes where alcohol or drugs were not present; however, abuse, neglect or unhealthy behavior was.

We meet to share our experience and recovery in an atmosphere of mutual respect. We discover how alcoholism and other family dysfunction affected us in the past and how it influences us in the present. We begin to see the unhealthy elements of our childhood. By practicing the Twelve Steps, focusing on the ACA Solution, and accepting a loving Higher Power of our own understanding, we find freedom.

Why We First Came to ACA

Our decisions and answers to life did not seem to work. Our lives had become unmanageable. We exhausted all the ways we thought we could become happy. We often lost our creativity, our flexibility, and our sense of humor. Continuing the same existence was no longer an option. Nevertheless, we found it almost impossible to abandon the thought of being able to fix ourselves. Exhausted, we held out hope that a new relationship, a new job, or a move would be the cure, but it never was. We made the decision to seek help.

Why We “Keep Coming Back”

At the end of an ACA meeting, the group members encourage one another to “keep coming back” to meetings. Why? We found people in the meetings who listened to us talk. They did not judge us. They did not try to fix us. They did not interrupt us when we spoke. They merely told us that if we came to meetings on a regular basis, we would gradually begin to feel better. We did.

What We Do in ACA Meetings

  • We share what is happening in our lives, and how we are dealing with these issues in our recovery program. (i.e., share our experience, strength, and hope).
  • We build a personal support network.
  • We practice our recovery and personal boundaries by giving service.

What We Do Not Do at Meetings

  • We do not engage in crosstalk.
  •  We do not criticize.
  •  We do not comment on what others say.
  • We do not offer advice.
  • We do not distract others from the person speaking by word, whisper, gesture, noise, or movement.
  • We do not violate the anonymity of others.
  • We do not repeat what is said in meetings (in any context).

 How We Work a Program of Recovery

Individuals recover at their own pace. We have learned by experience that those ACA members who make the greatest gains in the shortest amount of time are using the tools of recovery.  

Tools of ACA Recovery

  • We go to meetings, and call program people to discuss recovery issues.
  • We read ACA literature and learn about the experiences of others while gaining clarity on our own experiences.
  • We define and enforce our boundaries.
  • We work and use the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions.
  • We identify the people, places and things that are healthy and useful to our lives today, and discard those that are not.
  • We reconnect with our Inner Child or True Self.
  • We work with a sponsor and build support networks.
  • We attend meetings that focus on issues upon which we need to work.
  • We give service in ACA.

Listening to others and ourselves share at meetings helps us in our recovery. Sharing at meetings sometimes helps us to focus, define and clarify our problems. We express our feelings. Talking out loud helps us to resolve some problems. We talk about our action plans to change our lives, or how well our current plan is working. At times we report our progress or victories. We often use meetings as a reality check on our overall program, comparing our current life in the program to our adult life before coming to the ACA program. 

Membership The only requirement for membership is a desire to recover from the affects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family. 

A Personal Invitation This is your personal invitation to come to ACA and to keep coming back. Your presence in meetings helps us in our recovery. We know that this program works for us. We have yet to see anyone fail who honestly works the program. This is our path to sanity, our program to serenity. We invite you to participate. ACA works!  This is an extract from the trifold “ACA Is…”. And can be found on the Free Literature Download Page. Reprint only for distribution within ACA or by written permission from Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization

Take some time to get acquainted with ACA’s Home Office Online. There’s a world of info waitingfor you in ACA! www.AdultChildren.org