Weekly Meetings

Welcome to the Monday Night ACOA Group meeting. This information is to serve as an introduction to our group in hopes that by clarifying our purpose and direction you too will become an active growing recovering member of our ACOA family.

■ Meetings are held each Monday evening from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Lawrence Episcopal Church (lower level, enter through rear doors)

■ A special business session is held following the second Monday meeting of each month and is open to all members.

■ We are a non-smoking group.

■ Our weekly discussions alternate each week between one of the ACOA characteristics and one of the twelve steps. A volunteer prepares the opening lead (15 to 20 minutes long) that serves as a focal point for discussion in our small groups. During our small group discussions, we refrain from cross talk to insure each person uninterrupted sharing time.

 ■ All group members are invited to join us after our meeting is adjourned at a local restaurant for a casual gathering of ACOA fellowship (Baker’s Square on Milwaukee Avenue). The chairperson will ask if any members will be going for coffee and fellowship before the close of the meeting. Those planning on attending will indicate so by a show of hands.

What an ACOA Group Can Do For You· Keep you from slipping back into denial of your problems.
■ Provide an opportunity to make new friends.
■ Give you perspective and keep you from self-pity.
■ Give you a chance to share things with those who know where you’re coming from.
■ Give you a genuine sense of support, perhaps for the first time in your life.
■ Give you a sense of belonging. Here you are not different.
■ Provide an opportunity to be of real service to others.
■ Give you an outline for a workable philosophy of life in the 12 steps.
■ Supply an environment where you can find out who you are and give you an opportunity to practice being that person.
■ Provide a source of unconditional love and acceptance.
■ Allow you the freedom to express your true feelings in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
■ Give you practice in making a commitment and keeping it.
■ End your feelings of isolation.
■ Help you detach from painful situations by showing you new attitudes.
■ And change your life!
Adult Children of Alcoholics
Once upon a time you were a child. That fact has an important bearing on your life today. As adults we often try to ignore our lives as children, and discount the impact of our upbringing may still have in our adult lives. Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) may be of help to those of you whose parents were not able to consistently attend to your needs, and who were not able to offer you a sense of emotional “safety” as you grew from childhood and adolescence into adulthood.
These can be homes in which there is not identifiable problems, homes where a family avoids showing feelings, homes where there is little nurturing, homes where the rules were rigid rather than fair and flexible, and homes where time is not given to the children. When these dynamics occur in a family, it is likely that you will reach adulthood not feeling very good about yourself, having difficulty-trusting people, and having difficulty identifying needs. These things can cause great difficulty in your ability to be close to others and can create problems in your personal and professional life.
Should alcoholism, physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and / or mental illness have been part of your family, the consequences are even greater. It is very common that children of such families have difficulty trusting, difficulty identifying or expressing feelings. Identifiable problems such as alcoholism, physical, sexual and emotional abuse often repeat themselves in the child that has experienced these in his childhood. Therefore, the trauma experienced in childhood needs to be addressed as an adult in order to stop the cycle of abuse.
While many people are able to reflect on their childhood and describe situations that were blatantly hurtful, other people have experienced hurt by what did not occur, and what wasn't said. To have a parent ignore you can be as hurtful as having a parent verbally ridicule you.

1. Help you recognize how your present life is influenced by your past.
2. Allow you to release parts of the past and put them behind you.
3. Enable you to take responsibility for how you live your life today, and help you learn to meet your own needs.
Freedom from the past means no longer having our lives dominated by our childhood years. It means no longer living in fear. It is the process of discovering our true inner self and freeing ourselves from painful character defects that helped us survive in our growing years.
ACOA is a forum for us to grow and make positive changes in our lives, it is not to be used as an opportunity to blame our parents. They did the best they knew how to do. Yet our parents’ ability to raise us was often times limited because of some significant trauma in their lives.
This trauma may have been physical, financial, emotional, etc. For most of us, our parents loved us yet many lacked the ability to show that love. Dysfunction has a multi-generational cycle. Unless the cycle is broken, the deficient parenting skills are handed down generation after generation. Unless one chooses to break the cycle by seeking recovery, history will repeat itself.
It is common for adults to feel guilty for wanting to reflect on how the parenting they received during their childhood affects their adult life, often saying, “it wasn’t that bad for me”. No matter how severe another person’s situation is, your own loss remains true. Do not compare your situation to another person’s in order to ascertain whether or not you need to address these issues.
Whatever has occurred on your life it is yours: Sadness, fears, broken promises, silent punishments; absent parents. Whatever your situation was, it is yours. It is not negated by anyone else’s experiences.
Many of us have discovered that we could not love ourselves or let others touch us or love us. This inability to be vulnerable, to allow others to love us is connected to the very real losses we suffered as children and to our present loss of self-esteem.
When first entering recovery some of us are not ready to hear about “love” or “God”, having felt abandoned by “God”, and unaccepted by people who “loved” us. Once the “whys” and the “missing pieces” of our life mosaic gradually begin to fill in we can begin to see and admit our part. We begin to take responsibility for our lives now, allowing us to make peace with our parents and our past.
Some adults report not being able to remember portions of their childhood, as if they are amnesiac. Most of us might expect that children from families where there was incest or battering might lose the ability to recall portions of their childhood. Yet, it is common for many adults who did not experience such blatant trauma to experience the same lack of recall. There does not need to be a single traumatic event to cause a lack of recall. It is probable that if you have a major loss of recall, you had a need to defend yourself emotionally. Your thoughts and feelings were suppressed. You are not crazy. This phenomenon is very common.