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Even more self defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable relationships. You will become an adult who is imprisoned no longer by childhood reactions.

Yet we kept choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic parents.

These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism 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.

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 onto a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally.

Adult Children Anonymous (formerly known as Adult Children of Alcoholics 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.

Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic household.

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We had come to feel isolated, uneasy with other people, and especially authority figures.

To protect ourselves, we became people pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process.

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