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Acoa, Adult Children of Alcoholics

ACOAs, or Adults who grew up in a household where one or both parents had any type of addiction may find themselves struggling with relationships in their personal lives or at work. Many ACOAs (adult children of alcoholics or addicts) want to believe that they’ve somehow escaped the clutches of the illness once they emerge into adulthood and are able to create their own families or network of friends. Yet they can find that what drew them into compensatory roles while children may trap them once again through unhealthy interactions in the adult world.

Some ACOAs are high achievers and can become overly responsible in various areas of functioning. ACOAs may operate like magnets attracting people who need help, support, or rescuing often to the point where their own needs remain unfulfilled.

By learning to use the tools of recovery, through counseling and support from self help programs like Al-Anon, hope can be restored and a sense of calm and positive expectation can flourish and grow.

Deborah Owens is a Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA based Licensed Professional Counselor who is also a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor and has designed and lead the family component at several quality addiction treatment programs like Rehab After Work and Caron in Philadelphia.