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ACOA Traits by Geoff Flower

This week our Enlightened Solutions partial care group were educated on Adult Children Of Alcoholics (ACOA) traits.  We have found that many of our clients have grown up in families in which substance abuse has been present.  Addiction is a family disease and it affects all members of the family.  According to ‘Adult Children of Alcoholics – The Expanded Edition’ by Janet G. Woititz, Ed.D the typical characteristics of alcoholic families include;

1. Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is.

2. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.

3. Adult children of alcoholics lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.

4. Adult children of alcoholics judge themselves without mercy.

5. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty having fun.

6. Adult children of alcoholics take themselves very seriously.

7. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships.

8. Adult children of alcoholics overreact to changes over which they have no control.

9. Adult children of alcoholics constantly seek approval and affirmation.

10. Adult children of alcoholics usually feel that they are different from other people.

11. Adult children of alcoholics are super responsible or super irresponsible.

12. Adult children of alcoholics are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

13. Adult children of alcoholics are impulsive. They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsively leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.

We worked collaboratively on identifying and processing how these characteristics have contributed to their own addictive behaviors thus influencing their past and current interpersonal relationships. The group engaged in different psychodramas depicting the distorted communication pattens within the family.  Client’s were given the opportunity to practice healthier interactions in order establish more adaptive ways of being able to communicate needs for support within their recovery.

Breaking these patterns that have been engrained over a period of time is not easily done. The intention behind providing ACOA themed groups is to assist our clients in normalizing these dysfunctional pattens of behavior in order to bring about the beginnings of necessary changes.  This is integral to the ability of our clients to move forward and build healthy meaningful relationships to aid in their recovery from addiction.

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