For creating a connection with our “True Self”
ACA for inner peace and serenity.
Success in ACA is not measured with money or social status, but with inner peace and serenity. We share our experience, strength and hope with each other as we laugh together, cry together and know that we are home.
SYMPTOMS OF INNER PEACE
Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace, and people everywhere possibly could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has been, up to now, a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world. Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:
– A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences
– An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment
– A loss of interest in judging other people
– A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
– A loss of interest in conflict
– A loss of the ability to worry &this is a very serious symptom
– Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation
– Contented feelings of connection with others and nature
– Frequent attacks of smiling
– An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen
– An increased susceptibility to love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it
ACA is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition support group focused on understanding the specific behavior and attitude patterns we developed while growing up in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional environment. These patterns continue to affect us today.
By attending regular meetings we come to a better understanding of our past so we can more effectively restructure our lives today. We begin to see more clearly what is positive and healthy in ourselves.
ACA is not a replacement for addicts working an abstinence program in other Twelve Step fellowships. However, Adult Children of Alcoholics is often the only program for many adult children recovering from the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction, including the effects of alcoholism and drug addiction. (Adapted from the ACA Fellowship textbook.)
Meetings are intended to be safe places where we can share our experience, strength and hope without judgement or criticism. We have the right not to share unless we are ready.
This program is grounded in spiritual guidance and not affiliated with any specific religion. We are individuals struggling through rigorous honesty to become the best we can be. We respect one another’s anonymity. Who we encounter at meetings and what they have said there is treated confidentially.
We meet together to share our experience, strength, hope and fear; we offer friendship and understanding. We love one another in a very special way. We welcome you to join us.
Since each meeting is autonomous, and each meeting is a different experience, we recommend that you try as many different ones as possible before deciding if the ACA program can be helpful to you in your journey from discovery to recovery.
Keep coming back.
What Does ACA Recovery Look Like?
By working the Twelve Steps of ACA and by attending meetings regularly, we begin to realize that ACA recovery involves emotional sobriety*. That is what ACA recovery looks like. But what is emotional sobriety?
To understand emotional sobriety, we must first understand emotional intoxication, which is also known as para-alcoholism. Para-alcoholism represents the mannerisms and behaviors we developed by living with an alcoholic or dysfunctional parent. As children, we took on the fear and denial of the alcoholic or nondrinking parent without taking a drink.
Emotional intoxication can be characterized by obsession and unhealthy dependence. There also can be compulsion. Even without drugs and alcohol, we can be “drunk” on fear, excitement or pain. We can also be drunk on arguing, gossip, or self-imposed isolation.
In essence the Laundry List, the 14 traits of an adult child, offers a textbook example of the behaviors and attitudes that characterize an emotionally intoxicated person. We fear authority figures and judge ourselves harshly while being terrified of abandonment. Without help, we seek out others to reenact our family dynamics. We can recreate our family dysfunction at home and on the job indefinitely until we find ACA. This means that our adult relationships resemble the template relationship we developed as children to survive an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional home. We find others to create chaos, conflict, or unsafe relationships.
Emotional sobriety involves a changed relationship with self and others. We measure emotional sobriety by the level of honesty, mutual respect, and the acceptability of feelings in our relationships. If our relationships are still manipulative and controlling, we are not emotionally sober no matter what we tell ourselves about our recovery program. Emotional sobriety means that we are involved in changed relationships that are safe and honest. We feel a nearness to our Higher Power. We cultivate emotional sobriety through the Twelve Steps and through association with other recovering adult children.
“Emotional sobriety was formally introduced to the ACA fellowship through the Identity Papers. The 1986 paper, “Finding Wholeness Through Separation: The Paradox of Independence,” shows the genesis of emotional sobriety. The possibility of emotional sobriety is created through the broadening and deepening of the Steps and Traditions.
The ACA Twelve Steps
- We admitted we were powerless over the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the 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 ACA Twelve Traditions
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on ACA unity.
- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as expressed in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.
- The only requirement for membership in ACA is a desire to recover from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family.
- Each group is autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or ACA as a whole. We cooperate with all other Twelve-Step programs.
- Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the adult child who still suffers.
- An ACA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the ACA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
- Every ACA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- Adult Children of Alcoholics should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- ACA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- 10.Adult Children of Alcoholics has no opinion on outside issues; hence the ACA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, films, and other public media.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are reprinted and adapted from the original Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and are used with the permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
The ACA Twelve Concepts
Replace World Services, WSO Board, World Service Organization, and fellowship with Intergroup or Group and all fellows being part of the Intergroup and group. The ACA concepts can be used and applied in any layer of service during business meetings.
The ACA concepts can be practiced on all levels of service.
The ACA Twelve Concepts for service
Concept I – The final responsibility and the ultimate authority for ACA World Services should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole fellowship.
Concept II – Authority for the active maintenance of our world services is hereby delegated to the actual voice, the effective conscience for our whole fellowship.
Concept III – As a means of creating and maintaining a clearly defined working relationship between the ACA meetings, the ACA WSO Board of Trustees, and its staff and committees, and thus ensuring their effective leadership, it is herein suggested that we endow each of these elements of service with the traditional Right of Decision.*
*The right of decision as defined herein refers to:
1) the right and responsibility of each trusted servant to speak and vote his/her own conscience, in the absence of any contrary mandate, on any issue regardless of the level of service;
2) the 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, and the Commitment to Service will be followed by trusted servants in decision making;
3) delegates to the Annual Business Conference are trusted servants and therefore equally guided by the 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, 12 Concepts, and the Commitment to Service;
4) standard practice that decisions made by subcommittees are subject to the authority of the service body which creates its mission and defines its parameter
Concept IV – Throughout our structure, we maintain at all responsible levels a traditional Right of Participation.
Concept V – Throughout our structure, a Right of Petition prevails, thus assuring us that minority opinion will be heard and that petitions for the redress of grievances will be carefully considered.
Concept VI – On behalf of ACA as a whole, our Annual Business Conference has the principal responsibility for the maintenance of our world services, and it traditionally has the final decision respecting large matters of general policy and finance. But the Annual Business Conference also recognizes that the chief initiative and the active responsibility in most of these matters would be exercised primarily by the Trustee members of the World Service Organization when they act among themselves as the World Service Organization of Adult Children of Alcoholics.
Concept VII – The Annual Business Conference recognizes that the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws of the Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization are legal instruments: that the Trustees are thereby fully empowered to manage and conduct all of the world service affairs of Adult Children of Alcoholics. It is further understood that our World Service Organization relies upon the force of tradition and the power of the ACA purse for its final effectiveness.
Concept VIII – The Trustees of the World Service Organization act in this primary capacity: with respect to the larger matters of over-all policy and finance, they are the principal planners and administrators. They and their primary committees directly manage these affairs.
Concept IX – Good service leaders, together with sound and appropriate methods of choosing them, are, at all levels, indispensable for our future functioning and safety.
The primary world service leadership must necessarily be assumed by the Trustees of the Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization.
Concept X – Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority – the scope of such authority to be always well defined whether by tradition, by resolution, by specific job description, or by the Operating Policy and Procedures Manual and bylaws.
Concept XI – While the Trustees hold final responsibility for ACA’s World Service administration, they should always have the assistance of the best possible standing committees, corporate trustees, executives, staffs, and consultants. Therefore the composition of these underlying committees and service boards, the personal qualifications of their members, the manner of their induction into service, the systems of their rotation, the way in which they are related to each other, the special rights and duties of our executives, staffs and consultants, together with a proper basis for the financial compensation of these special workers, will always be matters for serious care and concern.
Concept XII – In all its proceedings, Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization shall observe the spirit of the ACA Twelve Traditions, taking great care that the conference never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle; that none of the Conference members shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any of the others; that all important decisions be reached by discussion vote and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that no WSO action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy; that though the WSO may act for the service of Adult Children of Alcoholics, it shall never perform any acts of government; and that, like the fellowship of Adult Children of Alcoholics which it serves, the WSO itself will always remain democratic in thought and action.
The Twelve Concepts are reprinted and adapted from the original Twelve Concepts of Alcoholics Anonymous and are used with the permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
7th Tradition or Donation- PayPal
This group is self supporting and relies fully on voluntary contributions from all of us to pay all the expenses. This group does the 7th tradition or donations by making a donation into the Intergroup’s bank account. The funds are used to pay the zoom account, the website, get other online tools, organize events, workshops, study groups, parent other meetings and other costs. Contributions may be made by PayPal, by sending it from a Paypal account to our Paypal account on
aca.netherlands.global @ gmail .com
ACA COMMITMENT TO SERVICE
ACA Commitment to Service from page 601 of the ACA Fellowship Text:
“I perform service so that my program will be available for myself, and through those efforts, others may benefit. I will perform service and practice my recovery by:
1. Affirming that the true power of our program rests in the membership of the meetings and is expressed through our Higher Power and through group conscience.
2. Confirming that our process is one of inclusion and not exclusion; showing special sensitivity to the viewpoint of the minority in the process of formulating the group conscience so that any decision is reflective of the spirit of the group and not merely the vote of the majority.
3. Placing principles before personalities.
4. Keeping myself fit for service by working my recovery as a member of the program.
5. Striving to facilitate the sharing of experience, strength, and hope at all levels: meetings, Intergroups, Regional committees, service boards, and World Services.
6. Accepting the different forms and levels of service and allowing those around me to each function according to their own abilities.
7. Remaining willing to forgive myself and others for not performing perfectly.
8. Being willing to surrender the position in which I serve in the interest of unity and to provide the opportunity for others to serve; to avoid problems of money, property, and prestige; and to avoid losing my own recovery through the use of service to act out my old behavior, especially in taking care of others, controlling, rescuing, being a victim, etc.
9. Remembering I am a trusted servant; I do not govern.
The Bill of Rights for Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families
This document is in development and will be subject to review by ACA WSO Board of Trustees and approval by the fellowship.
We welcome all comments from the fellowship to assist in the final review of this piece of literature. Please submit any feedback between now and the end of December 2020.
You can share your feedback by sending an e-mail to email@example.com
Lists the Rights of an adult child of an alcoholic and/or a dysfunctional family.
The ACA Bill of Rights
1) I have the right to say no.
2) I have the right to say, “I don’t know.”
3) I have the right to detach from anyone in whose company I feel humiliated or manipulated.
4) I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
5) I have the right to be wrong.
6) I have the right to make mistakes and learn from them.
7) I have the right to make my own choices and decisions in my life.
8) I have the right to grieve any actual or perceived losses.
9) I have the right to all of my feelings.
10) I have the right to feel angry, including towards someone I love.
11) I have the right to change my mind at any time.
12) I have the right to a spiritually, physically, and emotionally healthier existence, though it may deviate entirely or in part from my parents’ way of life.
13) I have the right to forgive myself and to choose how and when I forgive others.
14) I have the right to take healthy risks and to experiment with new possibilities.
15) I have the right to be honest in my relationships and to seek the same from others.
16) I have the right to ask for what I want.
17) I have the right to determine and honor my own priorities and goals, and to leave others to do the same.
18) I have the right to dream and to have hope.
19) I have the right to be my True Self.
20) I have the right to know and nurture my Inner Child.
21) I have the right to laugh, to play, to have fun, and the freedom to celebrate this life, right here, right now.
22) I have the right to live life happy, joyous, and free.
Six Essential Recovery Tasks
This task centers around our recognition of dysfunction including physical responses, cognitive problems and interpersonal difficulties in social situations and with significant others. The fellow traveler’s task is to encourage this vital recognition of the signs of distress in a way that builds trust and creates the sense of unity needed to continue in the recovery process.
This task involves uncovering and embracing the hidden dissociated parts of the self. Because of traumatic conditioning, these hidden parts of our selves perceive, evaluate and respond automatically as independent operating systems. Each system holds a specific set of memories, beliefs and related habits that maintain dissociation. The fellow traveler’s task is to provide assurance that recovery is possible and the return of memories and sensation will not be self-destructive.
The basic belief in a traumatizing family is that the practice and support of destructive behavior by adults should be tolerated and accepted without protest by the children. Children are threatened, punished, and coerced into keeping the adults’ behavior secret. They also incorporate the adults’ dissociative and destructive patterns into their own being. Disobedience includes breaking these habits of avoidance and denial and relinquishing our beliefs about maintaining destructive behavior. This may require detoxification from addiction
to exogenous substances and the deconditioning of habitual body tension and cognitive hypervigilance. The main subtask is to disobey irrational authority by challenging the belief that we need to continue these behaviors.
The motivating force being inhibited is the talionic response (direct eye for an eye retaliation for abuse [Reik]). This instinctive rage toward people who have caused us harm has been forcefully inhibited and is often directed back toward the self (retroflexion – going against the reflexes) or displaced onto others. Unblocking this energy and safely expressing the talionic response opens us up to feel other inhibited emotions and accelerates the process of mourning and grief. The primary subtask is learning to discriminate hostile introjects that have been pounded in and swallowed whole from the people who first caused us to live in fear and to stop displacing rage onto symbolic stand-ins in the present. The fellow traveler can support the differentiation process and the appropriate expression of talionic rage which strengthens reality testing about expected retaliation.
The task of separation is to distinguish between what has been termed “me and not me“ (Sullivan). This includes recognizing the internalizations and confusing beliefs of people who hurt us, as well as considering the concept of locus of control and the possibility of independent thought and action.
This final task centers around completion of reflective grieving (mourning the loss of possibilities, opportunities and self-actualization), learning to reparent ourselves, and mastering developmental stages that may have been missed or poorly negotiated. The fellow traveler can assist in the overall process by encouraging the development, rehearsal and implementation of effective social skills and self determined actions that increase self-esteem and selfworth. Most importantly, completion of this task establishes the capacity for genuine intimacy and successful present-directed, goal-oriented living.
All ACA groups or meetings that would like to join ACA Nederlands – ACA Intergroup IG#711 for help and support more than are welcome.
We also would like to start to communicate with other Intergroups to work together and look for possibilities to form a Region for a better growth and unification of ACA in the world.
ACA Nederlands – ACA Intergroup IG#711
ACA Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families
ACANL @ protonmail .com