Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A.C.O.A. or Destructive Alcoholic Behavior Without Drinking

Adult Children Of Alcoholics or A.C.O.A.s may not drink but suffer from the same self destructive behaviors of Alcoholics or other substance abusers.

A.C.O.A.s feel extra "crazy" because to them, there is no "reason" for them to keep on doing less than functional behavior.

It is a basic tenent of AA that the drinking is only a symptom of a larger Alcoholic behavior. See the definition of "Dry Drunk" (Not Drinking, But Not 'Of Sober Mind' Either)

September is National Recovery Month, in the Sept 25 2009 HuffingtonPost featured author Dr. Tian Dayton complied a list of behaviors often experienced by A.C.O.A. adults:

  • Problems with Self- Regulation
  • Hyper Vigilance/Anxiety
  • Hyper-reactivity/Easily Triggered
  • Emotional Constriction
  • Loss of Trust and Faith
  • Unresolved Grief 
  • Traumatic Bonding
  • Learned Helplessness
  • Somatic Disturbances
  • Tendency to Isolate
  • Cycles of Reenactment
  • High Risk Behaviors
  • Survival Guilt
  • Shame  (insert: guilt and shame are often used as synoynms: guilt is "I've made a mistake", shame is "I AM a mistake", shame is toxic, guilt carries the implication that it is repairable, shame... there is nothing to repair so why bother)
  • Development of Rigid Psychological Defenses 
  • Relationship Issues
  • Depression with Feelings of Despair
  • Distorted Reasoning
  • Loss of Ability to Take in Caring and Support from Others
  • Desire to Self Medicate

========== This article is for informational purposes only. Please contact a licensed professional in your area if you are in crisis or require mental health services
David Bruce
Healthy Boundaries & Victim Behavior