ACA Atlanta

Adult Children of Alcoholics 

& Dysfunctional Families

About Us:  ACA / ACOA / ACA-DF

        For information about ACA, its origins, and important resources, visit the home of ACA at

Why We First Came to ACA

Our lives didn't work; they had become unmanageable. We exhausted all the methods we thought were supposed to have made us happy, healthy, and successful. In trying to reach our desired ends, we exhausted our resources. 
We often lost our creativity, our flexibility, and our sense of humor. 

No matter what we did, the results no longer gave us the thrill, the joy, the sense

of power, or the feeling of elation they once did. We were at a dead-end. 

Continuing the same existence was no longer an option. Nevertheless, 

we couldn't quite abandon the notion that if we knew just one more thing about 

how the world worked...So we tried one more time. With little to win, nothing 

to lose, we came to our first meeting.

Why We Keep Coming Back

In ACA we come to understand how our childhood experiences affect our behavior and choices today. We learn how our behavior affects others, and we learn that we can change it. Gradually, from an adult perspective, we reexamine our life decisions. This is the first step in reparenting. Ultimately we become happier, stronger, more capable, and more able to take on a proactive role. We learn to be more respectful of ourselves. The quality of our lives improves as we learn to define and communicate our boundaries and insist that they be honored.

How We Work a Program of Recovery

Individuals recover at their own pace. We, however, 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.

Briefly, we...
* go to meetings and call other program people to discuss recovery issues
* read about the ACA experiences of others and write about our own
* use and incorporate information about methods and techniques of recovery
* define and enforce our boundaries
* build a personal support network

Our main focus in ACA is to reparent ourselves, which includes reexamining our former life choices from an emotionally mature perspective.

We work a Spiritual program by...

* using the Steps
* identifying, evaluating, and removing old parenting instructions from our minds
* selecting those past parental instructions that are healthy and useful to our    lives 

today, and discarding those that are not

* discovering the impact and power of the Inner Child in our recovery
* attending meetings that focus on issues we need to work on
* giving service in ACA
* working with a sponsor

What We Do Not Do at Meetings
* engage in cross-talk
* criticize
* comment on what others say
* offer advice
* distract others from the person speaking by word, whisper, gesture, noise, or  movement
* violate the anonymity of others
* repeat what is said in meetings (in any context)
* act out (inappropriately)

What We Do in ACA Meetings

Going to meetings and listening to others who talk about their own experiences, strengths and hopes helps us in our own recovery. Sharing at meetings helps us to focus, define and clarify our problems. Sometimes we vent our anger or feel our feelings. Talking out loud about our action plan to change our lives helps us to resolve some problems. At times we report our progress, or share how well our current plan is working. We often use meetings as a reality check on our overall program, comparing life before program to current life in program.


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

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