Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) and Dysfunctional Families was originally formed as a Twelve Step and Tradition program for men and women who grew up in homes with alcoholic or drug addicted parents. An unfortunate fact in the United States is that nearly one in five (18%) adults lived with an alcoholic while growing up. Whether family problems were moderate or severe, most ACOAs will eventually face a crisis when their lack of emotional balance and relationship skills catches up with them.
Many of these children have grown up to find that they themselves are afflicted with the disease of addiction. Even though they watched their parents struggle during their childhoods and may harbor strong feelings of resentment, they have followed in their parents footsteps. The ACOA program was founded on the principle that addiction is a family disease. It affected people as children and continues to affect them as adults.
At The Source, we find that many of our clients are adult children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families, and they are often dealing with trauma that can be traced back to early childhood or even infancy. These individuals are damaged through no fault of their own and many harbor feelings of extreme resentment. To complicate things even further, not all alcoholic families are the same; some conditions are more extreme than others. Some ACOAs may have had loving yet inconsistent parents, which makes it even more difficult for them to be honest about their childhood conditions.
Many adult children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families pretend to forget their past while others are tortured by traumatic memories. For those ACOAs afflicted with the disease, their troubled childhood follows them until they find the courage to face it.