ACOA in Washington State varies so you can attend meetings that best resonate with you. Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA, ACOA) are there to support adults who were children of alcoholics. When you grow up in this environment, you’re often subjected to unhealthy experiences. Even if you didn’t have a parent who was an alcoholic but still grew up in a dysfunctional family, you would also benefit from ACA meetings. If your emotional or psychological well-being was affected while you were young, you can also consider yourself an adult child of an alcoholic. If you grew up in a chaotic, unpredictable household where alcoholism was ignored, hidden, and denied, this can have an impact on your life as an adult. Keeping secrets about the behaviors of the alcoholic in your family may have left you feeling lost. It can also have an impact on you being a good parent today. Coming to terms with a childhood full of trauma may involve therapy. ACA in Washington comes in various forms which are searchable online. With so many sites to offer adult children of alcoholic’s recovery information in Washington, you should be able to find the right fit. “By practicing the TwelveStepsand by attendingmeetingsregularly, we find freedom from the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction.”
Types of ACOA Meetings in WA State
- Alateen (for teenagers of alcoholic parents).
- Al-Anon, a 12-step fellowship for spouses, friends and relatives of alcoholics.
- ACA-a recovery program specifically for adults who were children of alcoholics or from a dysfunctional family. It’s a spiritual path to recovery.
- ACA groups related to alcohol.
- ACA groups specifically for women growing up in an alcoholic family.
- ACA groups specifically for LGBT.
Help You’ll Receive When You Find the Right ACOA Meeting in the State of Washington
Although there are varying situations that occurred throughout your childhood that require healing, there are some general outcomes. There are certain behaviors that you might exhibit as an adult to protect yourself from ever being traumatized again. The laundry list was developed to help adults of alcoholics heal from their childhood. They will be addressed in meetings to allow you to open up and let go of what you experienced when you were young. This is the laundry list:
- We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
- We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
- We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
- We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
- We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
- 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.
- We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
- We became addicted to excitement.
- We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
- 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).
- We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
- 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.
- 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.
- Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.
How the Right ACOA Meetings Help You
There is likely a role you played in the alcoholic family dynamic. They include:
Knowing what role you played in a dysfunctional or alcoholic family will help you pinpoint the negative aspects of yourself today. If you were the hero, you may be overachieving in your life today. You may have even become a high-functioning alcoholic. Each role has defined the adult you are today. Finding a meeting that focuses on your role will help you overcome your harmful behaviors based from childhood.
The Ability to Talk to Others
In Washington State, there are ACA meetings that will help you begin to open up to other people. The life of a child who was brought up in an abnormal environment could result in you shutting down. As you begin to release the pain and realize you’re supported by people you can trust, you can begin to heal that part of you. You can make friends and experience loving relationships that don’t cause you stress. If someone does get angry with you or criticizes something you do, you won’t react in fearful ways.
You Release Unhealthy Compulsive Traits
There are ACA meetings in WA State that will address the painful experiences you had. These can be anything from sexual abuse to feelings of abandonment. These situations may have caused you to recreate abandonment by pushing others away. Through your meetings, you will stop living from a place of victim and start to make positive changes in your life. You learn to stop denying the painful events that happened to you as a child so triggers stop controlling your life. You will also learn how to stop blaming yourself for what happened to you.
You Own Your Behaviors
The negative behaviors you’re exhibiting as an adult may be a result of your childhood but you can’t hide behind it. Any adult of alcoholic meeting you attend in Washington will teach you to be responsible for your behaviors. Regardless of what’s happened, you have a choice of how you want your life to be now. Drinking to numb the pain is not a way to come to terms and heal. Many children of alcoholic parents will grow up to be co-dependent. ACA meetings in Washington and worldwide have been helping adult children of alcoholics for 30 years. With the Twelve-step model, they help you find a higher power (whatever that is for you). There is a belief that you have to reach a deeper part of yourself to improve your mind, body, and soul. Trauma work is conducted which will lead you to find your true self. The basic model is to allow you to make peace with the screaming inner child that may have taken over your adult life.
NCBI, Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (Nov, 2008) Relationship Functioning Among Adult Children of Alcoholics. Retrieved from, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2583382/ NCBI, Industrial Psychiatry Journal (Jan, 2009) Parent-child relationship in children of alcoholic and non-alcoholic parents. Retrieved from, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016696/ NCBI, J Nerv Ment Dis. (July 1, 2012) Personality Subtypes in Adolescent and Adult Children of Alcoholics. Retrieved from, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143015/ NIAAA National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism No. 9 PH 288 July 1990. Children of Alcoholics, are they Different? Retrieved from, https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa09.htm