My blog about ACA/ACOA is Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) Online.
Although I never forgot that I was going to AA as a recovering alcoholic, my recovery changed over the years to encompass new learnings and teachings.
In 1976, when I came to AA, there were few female members. In my 3rd month of recovery, I had a profound spiritual experience which I have related in here. I quickly learned to shut up about God in 12 step meetings as many members wanted to talk about alcohol only. Being female and a God person almost insured that I wouldn’t have a lot of group acceptance.
The focus for my recovery took a profound change in direction when I discovered ACOA. I have never “forgot” that I am first and foremost an alcoholic and am deeply grateful to be in recovery. Nor have I ever considered myself as recovered. These beliefs about myself have helped me to stay centered and focused on recovery.
ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) has gone through several name changes. In 1977, (one year after the beginning in my recovery in 1976), a group of Al-Anon members realized that they were all children of alcoholics. This was the beginning of ACOA. In later years, ACOA became ACA and/or COA.
Up until 1983, any Al-Anon meeting I attended was to help heal that child inside me who grew up in a very troubled family. But when I shared at Al-Anon meetings about my alcoholism, I felt a subtle change in the group of some members feeling that I didn’t belong in an Al-Anon meeting.
But when I found ACOA or ACA meetings, I immediately knew that I belonged because they talked about feelings. I continued to be completely committed to my recovery with AA groups. But the AA groups were male-dominated groups whose members seemed to be proud of how far they had fallen to their bottoms. So I started attending ACOA and Codependents Anonymous as well as AA.
However, although I have tried for years to be part of several 12 step groups, the meetings bore me. Before you hang me out to dry, I have actively worked on my recovery program daily since Nov. 24, 1976. The 12 steps are the foundation for my life and I actively work on them every day of my life.
So, what I learned from ACA is that the ACA Red Book gave me the blueprint to heal the negative emotional patterns I had learned in childhood. It was more important to me than any book I had ever read about recovery. I came to see that growing up in a home dominated by alcoholism overshadowed every other experience I had as a child. So my primary addiction healing had to be changing those ways I had learned to cope in a family torn apart by a substance one family member chose to use to control his feelings of helplessness. Alcohol was in charge and we all learned ways to bend to its control.