ACoA Treatment Plan | Treatment Solutions

A Guide to ACoA Issues and Treatment Plan

When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, many things in their life suffer because of it. Not only can a career and finances go down the drain, but relationships with family can also be affected.

Spouses may feel abandoned and betrayed, but they may be able to get through the pain caused by the addict because they can understand what is happening. Children of individuals struggling with addiction also have the potential to one day start fresh and make a new life for themselves, but they may still carry with them the scars of childhood.

ACoA stands for the adult children of addicts or alcoholics. They often carry troubling feelings from their childhood into adulthood, and they can affect them for the rest of their lives. They may have a hard time building relationships with others, feel fearful of getting too close to anyone, experience self-esteem issues, and may get caught up with drugs or alcohol themselves.

However, ACoA treatment can be helpful in coping with these problems. Recovery from childhood trauma is possible with the commitment to a dependable ACoA treatment plan.

acoa treatment plan

How a Parent’s Drinking Affects a Child

The child of a drug addict or alcoholic is likely to face many feelings, none of which are healthy in large doses, but that change and impact them differently over time.

Fear

Children of addicts are afraid for many reasons. They fear getting beaten or hurt physically or abused sexually by a parent who is too wasted to know or care. These kids are afraid of getting yelled at and screamed at for the smallest offense, or sometimes for no reason at all. They are also afraid that their parent is going to get caught, and their life will get turned even more upside down.

Confusion

A child of an addict may have a hard time seeing the big picture of their life. They don’t know what a normal life is like, or that something is really wrong with how they are treated. These kids live in very unstable homes and can’t predict what each day will bring – will they be treated poorly again, or will mom or dad be having a good day? These kids fail to see that their parent is sick and is not behaving as a parent should.

Regret

A child will often feel like their family’s problems are their own fault. They think if they would have just been a better kid, their parent wouldn’t have to get upset with them or treat them like they do, and maybe their family would still be together.

Anger

As children of addicts get older, they start to get angry about their situation. They may hate their parent for the way their life is, and become withdrawn and upset about the harm the parent has done to them.

Insecurity

Starting from a young age and continuing as they get older, these children may suffer from insecurity, feeling as though they are not good enough and don’t deserve better. They may see themselves as worthless, and not someone that anyone should waste time on.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Growing up with an alcoholic parent can have far-reaching consequences. However, adult children can deal with these adverse effects with a professionally devised ACoA treatment plan. According to the National Association for Children of Addiction, adult children may benefit from following these four steps when handled alongside an experienced professional in a safe setting:4

    • Explore past history: The goal is to identify and acknowledge hurtful past situations without placing blame. It is about being honest about the pain that was inflicted upon the person. To break their ties with the past, one may need to overcome denial and see their experiences for what they are.
    • Connect the past to the present: The next step involves recognizing how past experiences influence the person now in various spheres of life. Uncovering this link between the past and the present steers ACoA in the direction of recovery. It gives them clear ideas of what they should work on.
    • Challenge internalized beliefs: Negative past experiences lead to forming certain negative beliefs about oneself and the world. After ACoA have pinpointed these detrimental beliefs, they can start overcoming them and adopting new, more helpful ones.
    • Learn new skills: An adult child often learns behaviors and forms beliefs on the foundation of fear, anger, or confusion caused by growing up in a dysfunctional family. They can learn new coping mechanisms and adopt new behaviors that will be more beneficial to them.

  • ACA, short for Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families, is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition program for people who grew up in dysfunctional homes.5 ACA is an international organization with a large network of members and group meetings taking place around the world. This makes it easy to find a meeting in a number of different locations. Anyone who is interested in joining an ACA meeting can use the practical Meeting Search tool to find one in their area.6

  • Both of these groups provide support for families of people who struggle with substance abuse. However, ACA is aimed specifically at adult children of addicts, alcoholics, or otherwise dysfunctional families, while Al-Anon works with any family member of people dealing with alcohol abuse.7

  • ACA, short for Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families, is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition program for people who grew up in dysfunctional homes.5 ACA is an international organization with a large network of members and group meetings taking place around the world. This makes it easy to find a meeting in a number of different locations. Anyone who is interested in joining an ACA meeting can use the practical Meeting Search tool to find one in their area.6

  • The Twelve Steps of ACoA treatment plans and recovery are based on those used by Alcoholics Anonymous with slight adaptations to reflect the fact that they are meant for adult children of alcoholics. The steps are:10

    1. We admitted we were powerless over the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
    2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God.
    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
    6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
    7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    10. Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
    11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others who still suffer, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

  • Dealing with ongoing consequences of a dysfunctional nuclear family is a reality for many people. Although the healing process is always a challenging experience, it may help one finally break away from unresolved trauma and undergo positive change.

    ACoA treatment helps adult children learn how to achieve well-being and recovery through becoming their own loving, supportive parent.11 For anyone who is struggling with the impact of painful childhood experiences, learning to re-parent oneself with care and kindness can be the most powerful act of self-love.

 

 

1. Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization. Laundry List.

2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Genetics of Alcohol Use Disorder.

3. Woititz, Janet. G. (1990). Adult Children of Alcoholics: Expanded Edition. Deerfield, Florida: Health Communications, Inc.

4. National Association for Children of Addiction. Adult Children of Alcoholics.

5. Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization. Home Page.

6. Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization. Meeting Search.

7. Al-Anon Family Groups. Home page.

8. Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families. Frequently Asked Questions.

9. Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization. Am I an Adult Child.

10. Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization. Steps.

11. Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization. Solution.