Welcome to Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families

What is Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families?

Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (or ACOA) is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition program of women and men who grew up in alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional homes. We meet with each other in a mutually respectful, safe environment and acknowledge our common experiences. We discover how childhood affected us in the past and influences us in the present. We take positive action. By practicing the Twelve Steps, focusing on the solution, and accepting a loving Higher Power of our understanding, we find freedom from the past and a way to improve our lives today. The only requirement for membership is a desire to recover from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family.

Adult Children of Alcoholics Prayer - God, grant me the serentiy to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me.
Adult Children of Alcoholics Group Hugging

Come share experience, strength, and hope in our 24/7 international 12 Step forum open to all adult children of alcoholic or dysfunctional families. We have daily readings, gratitude list, personal shares, and more! We look forward to meeting you!!

Online Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families Meetings
Tuesday 7:00 PM Eastern Time

The Laundry List – 14 Traits of

an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  8. We became addicted to excitement.
  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
  10. We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
  13. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.

Roseanne’s Prayer

I put my hand in yours and together we can do what we could never do alone. No longer is there a sense of hopelessness. No longer must we depend upon our own unsteady will power. All that is needed now is a safe place where we can finally shed our defenses, our denial, and admit to ourselves and to others how angry, hurt, and wounded we have always felt. Admit it, experience it, and release it. We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than our own. As we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.


Although we cooperate with other 12 Step programs, we are not affiliated with the Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization, or any religion.

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