The Problem

Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional household. We had come to feel isolated and uneasy with other people, especially authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people-pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process. All the same we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat. We either became alcoholics (or practiced other addictive behavior) ourselves, or married them, or both. Failing that, we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment.

We lived life from the standpoint of victims. Having an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. We got guilt feelings when we stood up for ourselves rather than giving in to others. Thus, we became reactors, rather than actors, letting others take the initiative. We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally. Yet we kept choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.

These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made us “co-victims”, those who take on the characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink. We learned to keep our feelings down as children and kept them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue. Even more self-defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable relationships.

This is a description, not an indictment.

Adapted from The Laundry List

Copyright © 2018 by Adult Children
of Alcoholics / Dysfunctional Families
World Service Organization, Inc.
All rights reserved

Meditations

September 1st Meditation of the Day

Surrender "We must find a way to surrender and to become teachable." BRB p. 156 At each meeting, we see ourselves in the ACA Problem as it is read aloud. We identify with the Traits and know the pain they have wrought. We hear the Solution and want to see it working...

August 31st Meditation of the Day

Grandchildren of Alcoholics "More and more people are identifying as grandchildren of alcoholics. Technically, these ‘GCoAs' are ACAs. They were raised by parents who passed on the disease of family dysfunction without having alcohol in the home." BRB p. 56,  footnote...

August 30th Meditation of the Day

Tradition Eight  "Sponsorship and Twelfth Step work are free, but the special worker should be paid for his or her good work. All aspects of recovery in general are free." BRB p. 530 We give service from a space of love in ACA so that every adult child seeking...

August 29th Meditation of the Day

Therapeutic Ideals "There are, as well, ways to describe the manifestation of two therapeutic ideals: no excess tension in the body and a neutral reaction to symbolic associations and mental representations of trauma." BRB p. 622 Many of us thought there was no way...

August 28th Meditation of the Day

Boundries "I am more aware of how I overstep my boundaries, and how I try to force things to work the way I want them to work." BRB p. 414 We were vulnerable as children in dysfunctional homes. We experienced no one who was able to set healthy boundaries and maintain...