PA  ACA Intergroup
Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families
Serving PA, NJ and DE ACA Groups

What is ACA? 

ACA is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition program of people who grew up in alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional (abuse, neglect, mental health issuses...) homes which affected us as children and affect us as adults through our feelings about ourself, our behaviors and our relationships with others.  

We meet to share our experience, release the negative feelings, replace it with postive feelings and develop tools to help us recover in an atmosphere of mutual respect.   By practicing the Twelve Steps, focusing on The Solution, and accepting a loving Higher Power of our own understanding, we find freedom. 

The Laundry List
are common traits that Adult Children share and identify with themselves, when untreated. 

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures. 
  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identiy in the process. 
  3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal ciritcism. 
  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both or find another complsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonement needs. 
  5. We live llife from the viewpoint of victims, and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships. 
  6. We have an overdevleoped sense of responsiblity, and it is easier fo 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 excitelment. 
  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and "rescue"
  10. We have "stuffed" our feelings from our tauatic childhoods and have los the ability to feel or experss 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 personalitieis who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandomanment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.  
  13. Alcoholism is a fmaily disease: we became para-a.lcoholics and took on the characteristics fo that diseasae even thoug we did not pick up the drink. 
  14. Para-alcholics are reactors rather than actors. 
The ACA 12 Steps
are steps we work to recovery

  1. We admitted we were powerless over the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfucntion, 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. Humby asked God to remove our shortcomings. 
  8. Made a list of all persons wer 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  carry this message to others who still suffer, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. 
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(click for website with more information about ACA)
The specific purpose for which this corporation is organized is to serve the Fellowship of Adult Children of Alcoholics [and otherwise Dysfunctional Families*].
It is in effect an agency created and now designated by that Fellowship to maintain services for those seeking, through Adult Children of Alcoholics [and otherwise Dysfunctional Families*], the means for arresting the emotional disease of family alcoholism. 
This is done by sharing information and experiences with one another and by applying to their own lives, in whole or in part, the Twelve steps which constitute the recovery program upon which Alcoholics Anonymous is founded.
Excerpted from the Adult Children of Alcoholics Article of Incorporation, January 12, 1987.**
* The phrase "and otherwise Dysfunctional Families" is not a part of ACA's Articles of incorporation, but has been included in the ACA literature in accordance with the Operating Policies Procedures Manual (OPPM) 2010, pages 19-20 which states in pertinent part, "... the ACA message ... has included "dysfunctional family" language in all literature where practical." 
** The ACA WSO was incorporated in January 1987 as the Adult Children of Alcoholics Central Service Board, subsequently amended in March 1992 as the Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization (ACA WSO).