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What is ACoA?

ACoA stands for “Adult Children of Alcoholics.” ACoAs are likely to have developed certain mental health traits as a result of growing up with a parent suffering from alcoholism. ACoA is a fellowship of men and women who have been affected by having a parent with alcoholism, and utilize the Twelve Steps of recovery to heal emotionally.

ACoA explains, “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.” Unlike other Twelve Step fellowships, ACOA groups utilizes trauma work and counseling as a way to overcome the mental and emotional consequences of growing up with a parent suffering from alcoholism.

Adult Children of Alcoholics come from a variety of backgrounds, but often face similar issues surrounding their childhoods. According to Batya Swift Yasgur, in a 2017 Psychiatric Advisor article entitled Adult Children of Alcoholics: Healing Lifelong Scars, “It is estimated that there are 28.6 million children of alcoholics (COAs) in the United States, with more than 11 million younger than 18 years. Compared with individuals who were not raised by an alcoholic parent, adult COAs (ACOAs) are more likely to experience depression2 and engage in behavioral disengagement, denial, and substance use. ACOAs are 3-4 times more likely than non-ACOAs to select partners who are alcoholic.”

Adult Children of Alcoholics typically display similar traits. According to Dr. Tian Dayton, in a 2011 Huffington Post article entitled Adult Children of Alcoholics ACoAs: Qualities and Traits, “It has long been clear to me that being an ACoA needs aggressive and long-term treatment. Ignoring the damage only allows it to leak out in intimate relationships in ways that make them hard to live in and to manifest in the next generation. That’s because growing up with addiction is traumatizing and the symptoms of trauma can emerge much later when we create our own families. This is what PTSD is all about, it’s a reaction to trauma that occurs long after the fact.” Through the 12-Step ACoA program, it is possible to heal from the trauma of the past caused by having a parent suffering from alcoholism.

Your life doesn’t have to be controlled by addiction and alcoholism. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together behavior health and addictions specialists, spiritual guides, and holistic experts to address the problem of addiction from every possible angle. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431