Adult Child of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families. 
Rebuilding You ACA Group


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.

Experience has shown that adult children who attend our meetings, work the Twelve Steps, and find a Higher Power experience astonishing improvement in body, mind, and spirit. Ours is one of the few Twelve Step fellowships that embraces the difficult task of trauma work, which can often lead to an exciting journey to the Inner Child or True Self. Along with sponsorship, we encourage informed counseling to help the adult child accomplish the greatest level of emotional healing from an abusive upbringing.
(Parts excerpted from Fellowship Text pp. xii-xiii (2006))
Business Meeting
First Thu/month 8:30 pm

During this meeting members may share, listen, and discuss issues related to the meeting.
Thursdays 6:30 pm
This is a Red Book meeting with group sharing.  If there are enough in attendance, the group will divide into men and women sharing group. 

The 14 Traits of and Adult Child of an Alcoholic and/or Dysfunctional Home

1.  We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures. 
2. We became approval seekers and lost our identifiy 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.

Tony A., 1978
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 a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others who still suffer, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The Twelve Steps are reprinted and adapted from the original Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and are used with the permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

The Solution
The solution is to become your own loving parent

As ACA becomes a safe place for you, you will find freedom to express all the hurts and fears you have kept inside and to free yourself from the shame and blame that are carryovers from the past. You will become an adult who is imprisoned no longer by childhood reactions. You will recover the child within you, learning to accept and love yourself.
The healing begins when we risk moving out of isolation. Feelings and buried memories will return. By gradually releasing the burden of unexpressed grief, we slowly move out of the past. We learn to re-parent ourselves with gentleness, humor, love and respect.
This process allows us to see our biological parents as the instruments of our existence. Our actual parent is a Higher Power whom some of us choose to call God. Although we had alcoholic or dysfunctional parents, our Higher Power gave us the Twelve Steps of Recovery.
This is the action and work that heals us: we use the Steps; we use the meetings; we use the telephone. We share our experience, strength, and hope with each other. We learn to restructure our sick thinking one day at a time. When we release our parents from responsibility for our actions today, we become free to make healthful decisions as actors, not reactors. We progress from hurting, to healing, to helping. We awaken to a sense of wholeness we never knew was possible.
By attending these meetings on a regular basis, you will come to see parental alcoholism or family dysfunction for what it is: a disease that infected you as a child and continues to affect you as an adult. You will learn to keep the focus on yourself in the here and now. You will take responsibility for your own life and supply your own parenting.
You will not do this alone. Look around you and you will see others who know how you feel. We will love and encourage you no matter what. We ask you to accept us just as we accept you.
This is a spiritual program based on action coming from love. We are sure that as the love grows inside you, you will see beautiful changes in all your relationships, especially with God, yourself, and your parents.


1. We will discover our real identities by loving and accepting ourselves.

2. Our self-esteem will increase as we give ourselves approval on a daily basis​

3. Fear of authority figures and the need to “people-please” will leave us.

4. Our ability to share intimacy will grow inside us.

​5. As we face our abandonment issues, we will be attracted by strengths and become more tolerant of weaknesses.

6. We will enjoy feeling stable, peaceful, and financially secure.

7. We will learn how to play and have fun in our lives.

​​8. We will choose to love people who can love and be responsible for themselves.

9. Healthy boundaries and limits will become easier for us to set.

10. Fears of failure and success will leave us, as we intuitively make healthier choices.

12. Gradually, with our Higher Power’s help, we learn to expect the best and get it.

11. With help from our ACA support group, we will slowly release our dysfunctional behaviors.

Meeting Location:
Shillington Church of Christ

475 Philadelphia Ave.
Shillington, PA 19607
All meetings take place in the downstairs Fellowship Hall.  Please park and enter in the rear of the Church.  

Keep coming back, it works if you work it!!