July is National Make a Difference to Children Month, so let’s talk about kids that were raised differently, Adult Kids of Alcoholics (ACOA) in particular.

The following laundry list, reveals few families were aware (or we were in denial) there was a problem in the home.

Thanks to 12 Step programs and the 3 A’s – Awareness, Acceptance, and Action ACOA kids – no matter our age – are soaring to a new wellness of soul.

To experience true healing, we must be Aware, Accept, and Admit many of the characteristics in the laundry list have shaped our lives and interfered with our serenity.

Are you ready to take the first step with me and admit a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity?


Never before in the history of Twelve Step programs has a fellowship brought together such a diverse group of recovering people that includes adult children of alcoholics, codependents, and addicts of various sorts. The program is Adult Children of Alcoholics. The term “adult child” is used to describe adults who grew up in alcoholic or dysfunctional homes and who exhibit identifiable traits that reveal past abuse or neglect. The group includes adults raised in homes without the presence of alcohol or drugs. These ACA members have the trademark presence of abuse, shame, and abandonment found in alcoholic homes.

The Laundry List – 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them, or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  6. 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.
  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  8. We became addicted to excitement.
  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
  10. 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).
  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.        https://adultchildren.org/

“Our job as adults is to find ways to help our young people grow in the conviction that they can achieve self-realization without having to pour it in or sniff it in.” (Fred Rogers) Children and Magic and Drug Abuse