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Am i an ACOA?

Old 10-29-2014, 01:22 AM
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Am i an ACOA?

Been on SR for a few days now and just came across this. I never really knew what ACOA was all about. Still don't really. But I just took a questionnaire and got 16 out of 20. I'm just trying to understand why I am the way I am and have the problems with alcohol I do.

It's hard for me to say how much my dad drank when I was a kid because he wasn't around much. He lived in the house and my parents are still together but he was working on the same legal case for over 10 years. From about the time I was 5 to 15.

It wasn't till the last few years that I've noticed his drinking. He drinks most days. He makes it to work and is a very wealthy and respected lawyer. I've seen him get way too drunk on a few occasions, family gatherings and such. The only time we have had conversations that lasted more than a few minutes have been when we're both drunk. I still feel kind of uncomfortable around him. I'm not sure if he has always drank as much as he does now or if I'm just noticing it.

He was never physically abusive or even directly emotionally abusive. It just seemed like he wasn't there even when he was. He's certainly high functioning if he is an alcoholic.

I'm sure most peoples stories are much worse. I'm just trying to figure stuff out now that I've committed to sobriety.

Does anyone else have similar experiences? Trust/intimacy issues and a parent who was physically present but still absent.

What are some of the characteristics of an ACOA?
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:15 AM
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Welcome Exegesis!

The Problem - Adult Children of Alcoholics - World Service Organization, Inc.

This list helped me see that I fall into this subgroup due to family dysfunction. I am married to an A, currently R.

In regards to your father, the sounds very unemotional, buttoned up?
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:30 AM
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Hi and welcome. I dont know for sure if you are ACoA or not. Really only you can decide. My father is an alcoholic but my parents divorced when I was young so his influence was limited. My greater problem came from growing up with a mother who shows strong narcissistic tendencies. I am just now beginning to scratch the surface of what that means to me and how it shaped my outlook on life and how I function in it. So, I identify as ACoA

Congrats on giving up the booze.
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:44 AM
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I too have been mulling over whether I am ACoA. I identify so strongly with what I am reading in the ACoA Red Big Book right now. My dad was a high functioning alcoholic, who was NOT emotionally distant. For the most part, he was enjoyable to be around whether drunk or sober. But there was a huge amount of dysfunction from my Mom - although she was a great Mom and I always had food, clothes, roof over my head, etc. She grew up in a VERY dysfunctional household, and her survival techniques carried forward.

Yes to the outside observer, other ACoAs had it way worse than me. Also to the outside observer, others may have worse drinking problems than me,and others may have partners who are worse alcoholics than my partner. But if I find something that I think will help me in any of these areas, well then I'm gonna dive in and get that help!

Take care,
NCG
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Exegesis View Post
....I'm sure most peoples stories are much worse. I'm just trying to figure stuff out now that I've committed to sobriety.
Does anyone else have similar experiences? Trust/intimacy issues and a parent who was physically present but still absent.
What are some of the characteristics of an ACOA?

Originally Posted by NorCaliGal View Post
... Yes to the outside observer, other ACoAs had it way worse than me. Also to the outside observer, others may have worse drinking problems than me,and others may have partners who are worse alcoholics than my partner....NCG
Hello Exegesis, Hello NorCaliGal, and welcome to you both

One of the central principles of ACoA, which took me a long time to understand, is that the damage caused by dysfunction is _not_ based on what was done _to_ us. The name of the program says "Children of Alcoholics", but that was started in the early 80's. Nowadays it should be "Children of Dysfunction", because it's not the _chemical_ that causes the damage.

It's not the physical abuse either. Children who survive horrible accidents, or disabling diseases, recover just fine _if_ they have a loving, supportive environment. What causes the damage is what is _missing_ from a child's environment. A dysfunctional parent is not able to provide a child with the kind of gentle, loving emotional nourishment that is necessary for healthy growth.

One way that works for me, as far as identifying my ACoA traits, is to watch how other people respond to a given situation. For example, I once had a fairly abusive boss, and most people would quit in a matter of days, weeks at most. When _I_ looked at this boss's behavior my reaction was "It's not _that_ bad!".

Except it _was_ that bad. What my ACoA traits do is they create a "filter" between reality and my perception such that I am much less aware of dysfunction in other people. It is almost as if I am "blind" to toxic people, yet most humans can see the toxicity just fine.

Am I making any sense with that? It's hard to explain with just text on a screen. In any case, welcome to you both. Whether you have ACoA issues or not, I hope you find something useful around here.

Mike
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:24 PM
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Neglecting children is abuse. You don't have to have bruises or broken bones to be abused.

Welcome, and I hope you find what you're looking for here.
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