Go Back   Cyber Recovery Social Network Forums - Alcohol and Drug Addiction Help/Support > Family & Friends > Adult Children Of Alcoholics

Adult Children Of Alcoholics A place for adult children of alcoholics to share with each other and receive help/support.

Post New Thread  Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-23-2010, 02:12 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 42
Question Al-anon ACOA vs. ACA-Dysfunctional Families

Surly these are both great programs, yet surly there are differences too.

I listened to a guy that had some great recovery and he said in his home group the first thing the do is help newcomers make sure they are even in the right place. I do think that is very important.

He went on to say which I have seen and experienced myself having Al-anon/ACOA issues and being in AA can get quite confusing sometimes. Tony A. the ACA founder actually said in his presentation, "The A.A. Steps can make an ACOA crazy", I do like Tony's Steps!

My opinion of Al-anon is that it is a great program yet like A.A. the singleness of purpose and strict non - conference approved literature policy limits me too much at times. ACA's open literature policy is more helpful to me.

I do want to discuss PTSD, Codependency and other things related to my recovery too without feeling like I am limited and or doing something wrong. Road To Recovery is a bit limited and I want to stay more focused on the ptsd grief process. The stuck feelings of the fight,flight or freeze response. I have lots of stuck feelings and my body tells me all about it.

The newer Al-anon book "Transforming Our Losses" touches alot on grief but just not enough for me. This current rebuilding of Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families...seperate from Al-anon ACOA has been interesting and helpful.. I do still attend both but am aware of the differences, especially concerning the safety while speaking and reasoning of the ACA crosstalk rule.

I do wish the ACA WSO board of trustees was full, currently I think there are about 8 trustees and currently just a small service structure. I am also investigating about the history of both Al-anon and ACA, ACOA, Adult Children Anonymous it gets confusing at times.

One main Al-anon principle is about detachment and although ACA/Dysf. Families (ACA WSO) also talks about detachment and integration I think ACA has more to do with the Inner Child concepts and more understanding of the importance of getting to the anger before the forgiveness. One of their first ACA Identity Papers was called "Wholeness Through Separation" not only about separating from our parents (emotionally and/or physically) but also about ACA separating from Al-anon too.

PTSD can cause real detachment within, so although I do go to both Al-anon and ACA I feel there are actually completely different in this approach.

ACA vs.AL-Anon

ACA/Dysfunctional Families, ACDF, Al-Anon's ACOA; Adult Child Anonymous., Miracles In progress, Step Chat, etc..can't we all get along. LOL

It's like the Native Americans in my area ever wants there own separate tribe.

The information passed on by my ACA Fellow Travelers helped to give me clarity when I first came to ACOA type recovery.

Besides the different First Step and the different Tradition Seven funds I have learned ACA has the copyrights to The Problem ,The Solution and The ACA Promises "is" ACA WSO conference approved literature.

The Problem,The Solution and The Promises "is not" Al-Anon Adult Child Anonymous conference approved literature.

I was listening to the Marty.S presentation again this morning and realized he mentions the reason ACA had to separate from Al-Anon in the very first few minutes of this presentation. http://www.acawso.org/Marty_S.htm

Marty S. said at the 2006 ACA convention:

"The major piece of literature we used was the Problem and it was not conference approved literature.....(quoting his friend) "It was put in a box and shoved under the table" The "We" he is referring to is Al-Anon ACA.

Here are two quotes from an ACA Fellow Traveler:
“While Al Anon and ACA are Twelve Step programs, they are somewhat different in focus and approach. Al Anon primarily focuses on familial alcoholism and how to live detached and serenely with a drinking alcoholic or to live a better life with an alcoholic, who has found recovery. In Al Anon, the Al Anon focus on self and works their own program.

In ACA, we focus on ourselves as well and work our own program. With the Twelve Steps, we focus on recovering from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional home. We believe the effects of a dysfunctional home guide or steer our behavior and thoughts as adults. Unlike, Al Anon, we look at the family system in addition to inventorying our own behaviors in recovery.

The ACA member looks at dysfunctional family roles, harmful messages and other abuse involved in growing up in a dysfunctional home. We believe it is essential and healing to work the Twelve Steps and to look at the family system as we also concentrate on our individual behaviors and thoughts.

If you look at Al Anon's First Step and ACA's First Step, you will see the difference.

Al Anon -- Step One:
`We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.''

ACA -- Step One:
`We admitted we were powerless over the effects of alcoholism and other family dysfunction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

“ I agree with the idea of having ACA meetings that adhere to the principles and the Twelve Steps of ACA. I believe in clarity for ACA meetings so that newcomers are clear on which fellowship they are involved with. I can't tell you how many times I read these two questions on this forum.

1) ``What is the difference between ACA and ACoA?'' (None).

2) ``Is ACA and Al-Anon ACoA the same thing?'' (No).

ACA WSO has done its best to present the answer to these questions in ACA literature and through this forum and we will continue to do so while remaining respectful to Al-Anon and other Twelve Step fellowships.

With the publication of our new fellowship text, more and more people are understanding that ACA is an autonomous 12-Step program that is separate from other fellowships.

They understand that this separation is reasonable and in line with the separation called for by AA and Al-Anon and which works for AA and Al-Anon. More adult children are finding ACA and embracing our solution to the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family.

Additionally, I respectfully ask that ACA meetings should not be confused with outside entities or other Twelve Step approaches that use ACA material but who do not use our fellowship name.

Adult Children of Alcoholics was the first Twelve Step fellowship to write literature that is specific to the adult child experience.

ACA meetings use the Laundry List (Problem), the Solution and the ACA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

ACA meetings include ACA's foundational language of alcoholism and recovery from the effects of alcoholism.

ACA has widened its focus to gladly include adult children from other dysfunctional family types but we remain Adult Children of Alcoholics with a focus on the the effects of alcoholism.

We are not CoDA or Al-Anon ACoA or any other combination of other fellowships. These are fine programs but they are not who we are.[quote/]

Thank You Very Much for that quote-clarity

In my understanding there has been an ongoing problems with ACA separating from Al-Anon for a long time.

1989 Caucus Session http://www.acawso.org/ipb/index.php?showtopic=538

“Jim M. noted that in the process of a years development of the Intergroup "(BREAKING AWAY FROM AL-ANON)" a very strong group conscience developed around the issue of inclusively. Here they discuss the name change Adult Children Anonymous and changing the name to Adult Children of Alcoholics.

It was decided the ACA would not discriminate against any individual, irregardless of background, as long as they identified with the characteristics of the Problem.

Currently there is actually an intergroup on the ACA WSO website using Adult Children Anonymous name. I find that VERY confusing and even against Traditions.

Again, The Problem is not Al-Anon conference approved. That appears to be a real on going problem to me.

In my understanding of the Identity Papers and the reason for this separation is explained very well in the first paragraph of:

The Identity Papers:
Finding Wholeness Through Separation http://www.acawso.org/ipb/index.php?showtopic=473

I did not come to ACA or ACOA recovery for more confusion. I am glad I finally understand the difference between ACA/Dysfunctional families and Al-Anon.

I have also heard there is technically only one Adult Children of Alcoholics and it is ACA/Dysfunctional Families. Some may take offense to that, surly there has been "issues" lol. I hope others can add to this topic and spare other newcomers of the confusion.

In my understanding with the 2006 final release of the ACA/Dysfunctional Families Text this separation of Al-anon ACOA and ACA will finally be 100% complete....well maybe eventually.

I also had quoted Dr.Jan alot but now I disagree with her. She said," Go to AA to get sober, then go to Al-anon to learn to detach then go to ACOA for recovery of core issues. Today I think that is too black and white thinking and know of many personally that could not get sober without doing family of origin work first or at least combined etc...

I also know there is alot of confusion between Tradition Seven funds. I attended a chat meeting once at ACA WSO website where someone used a Miracles In Progress format or was that a Stepchat format and the fund asked to be sent to Al-anon that was discussed later at there ACA WSO meeting and cleared up.

I can support both but like the importance of understanding all the Traditions I do want to be clear where I am at the time and have respect fro that fellowship and not cross pollinating fellowships, not robbing from but actually supporting each when I choose.

I also heard Al-anon had been around since 1951 and yet Tony A. started the first ACA meeting but branched of from Al-anon etc.. I think in Tony's presentation he says the Mothers were in Al-anon and the fathers were in AA and the Al-a-teens that turned 18 had no where safe to go.


With all that said I am still not sure if I am ever in the right place myself...the I'm different disease?

I have hope and having more fun today, confused or not!

As Tony A. said about his step two version "I never was sane growing up with dysfunction I need to be restored to clarity "

I too want all the clarity I can get.
Thanks for listening.

Last edited by zeus; 03-23-2010 at 02:19 AM. Reason: spelling
zeus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2010, 07:56 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3
I went to Alanon/Alateen site and what I found amazed me. The page that links to "Did you grow up with a problem drinker" is practically a copy of Tony A's laundry list. I think ACA would be a stronger program if Alanon did not try to be different things. My father became sober when I was 15. Alateen would have been fine for me then, but when I started recovery I was 30 and had no active alcoholic in my life. I went to regular Alanon and did not feel at home at all. I knew of no Adult Children Alanon meetings, but frankly I am glad I did not, because ACA saved my life. ACA is really not a very strong fellowship in my opinion because members often don't stick with it.
notcrazy62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2010, 02:08 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by notcrazy62 View Post
ACA is really not a very strong fellowship in my opinion because members often don't stick with it.
I'm new to this site, but not new to ACA/recovery. I've been working my program for approximately three years.

I wish ACA had a stronger fellowship.

Why do you think members don't stick with it?
NeverTooLate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2010, 06:24 PM   #4
Devoted Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ireland
Posts: 251
AA got me to accept that I was Powerless of Alcohol Addiction,,,,They Obsession for Alcohol left me.It was then replaced by other addictions,Sugar,Cigarettes,Girls,these are still with me to this day.
ACA is totally different...........it is the most difficult of all the Programs, as it focuses on why I am an Addict.It gives me the reason.........for my addictions. If I can accept that I have to change and am willing to change ,I have a chance of becoming who I was ment to be in the first place.I have to drop nearly all my beliefs and work the solution of ACA.
This is the reason I believe that so many pull out of the ACA hoping for an easier way,..........It does not exist,just my opinion.
Igiveup is offline   Reply With Quote
Post New Thread  Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
dysfunctional family ivvy Adult Children Of Alcoholics 3 05-22-2008 01:21 AM
Dysfunctional Families (article) clean42day Adult Children Of Alcoholics 0 01-23-2007 11:27 PM
For Families Torn by Addiction janbear Prayers & Prayer Request 0 07-24-2006 05:55 AM
Roles In Dysfunctional Families admin Family & Friends of Alcoholics/Addicts 0 06-17-2006 08:19 AM
What Is A Dysfunctional Family? admin Family & Friends of Alcoholics/Addicts 0 06-17-2006 08:01 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:01 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.