Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA)

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.

Treating ACOA at The Source

The process of healing from the trauma associated with growing up in an insecure environment takes time, but it is well worth the effort. When an individual can leave old and destructive patterns of behavior behind, the chances of recovering from addiction improve significantly.

Besides extensive individual and family therapy, The Source offers a group that focuses on ACOA issues and is similar to a step workshop. This introduction to ACOA while in treatment encourages clients to be familiar with the ACOA process and continue with meetings after completing treatment. This program is unique to The Source. We also implement several other therapies that are aimed at resolving trauma. Some of them include the following:

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Several studies indicate that through EMDR therapy, people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is typically assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. By utilizing EMDR, the mind heals from psychological trauma in a similar fashion to the way the body recovers from physical trauma. If you cut yourself, your body works to heal the wound. If something irritates the wound, it causes additional pain. When the irritation is removed, the healing process resumes.

EMDR therapy indicates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system controls mental health. If the system is imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound irritates and can cause intense suffering. Once the irritation is removed, healing resumes.

Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) is a form of psychotherapy that helps addicts and alcoholics permanently overcome the negative and often painful effects resulting from traumatic experiences. “RRT combines hypnosis, guided imagery, stories and purposeful communication that elicits a response from the subconscious part of the mind to eliminate the challenging effects of trauma.

Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) is a new type of therapy which utilizes a rapid method of reducing traumatic pain and stress from emotionally and/or physically painful events in the past. It involves re-experiencing past traumas in a completely safe environment, free of distractions, judgments, or interpretations.

Adult children of alcoholics, drug addicts, and dysfunctional families are doubly burdened by their own disease and the ghosts of the destruction caused by the disease at a young age. At The Source, we compassionately treat ACOA and provide love, guidance and hope along the way. Call us today at (800) 204-0418 and begin your journey.
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We truly believe that each client is an individual with unique life circumstances. We help the client recognize and correct the dysfunctional behavior patterns that have overtaken their existence and ultimately heal the pain of the past, so they can lead a healthy, addiction-free life.