Adult children of alcoholics share a lot of the same characteristics. They have grown up in an environment that required them to learn at an early age on how to please their alcoholic parent in order to prevent blow-ups. This learned behavior has stayed with them and carried over into their adult lives, affecting how they choose relationships and go through life. There is also an organization ACA, or Adult Children of Alcoholics, that works to help these individuals overcome their learned behavior in order to lead a more enriched and loving life.
Adult children of alcoholics often carry their feelings and attitudes into their adult life after they have moved away from their alcoholic parent(s). After living for years under the same type of dysfunction, they have adapted and learned what to do in order to cope with the situation. Some of the common characteristics include their being people pleasers, and going out of their way to please someone else regardless of what the effect could be in the long run. As adults, children of alcoholics may also develop the same affliction and become alcoholics themselves. They may also have difficulty with relationships and may search for someone that is also an alcoholic; they will go out of their way to hang onto a relationship, no matter how damaging it could be, in order to prevent their significant other from abandoning them.
Many adult children of alcoholics bury their feelings and are hard put to trust anyone since they learned at a young age to keep their feelings hidden. They also prefer to let others take the lead and follow them, rather than taking the initiative themselves. Because of the insecurities suffered as a child they are quick to take any sort of criticism as a personal threat or take themselves too seriously and seek out approval for everything. They also find it difficult to have and tend to feel that they are different from everyone else.
Adult Children of Alcoholics follows a twelve step program, much the same way as Alcoholics Anonymous does to help treat alcoholics. The goal of ACA is to meet one another in a mutually safe area to share and acknowledge common experiences. They show others how their childhood affected them in the past and how that experience carried over into their present, adult life. They also accept God into their life and understand that by focusing on the solution they can improve their life.
The personalities of adult children of alcoholics can vary from person to person but there are several common characteristics that each share. Insecurity in their relationships, being very closed with their feelings and emotions and having difficulty with being a self-starter are just a few of the characteristics that they share. To help these adults cope with their past and live a healthy life Adult Children of Alcoholics has stepped up to the task with their belief that by following a twelve step program they can help to provide a route to a healthy life for them.