Adult Children of Alcoholics

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.


As a therapist in Philadelphia and Montgomery County, PA I work with many ACOAs who are high achievers. Some are perfectionists. Depression, anxiety, and other issues are not uncommon.

Many so called “co-dependents” become overly responsible in various areas of functioning. Some ACOAs may operate like magnets attracting people who need help, support, or rescuing often to the point where their own needs remain unfulfilled.

Adult Children of Alcoholics/ Addicts can have healthy fulfilling relationships. It can take some work, focus, and a commitment to a counseling process. Many ACOAs gain perspective and support by attending ACA or Al-Anon meetings.


By learning to use the tools of recovery, hope can be restored and a sense of calm and positive expectation can flourish and grow. Sure your past can influence the present but you can change your future.

See my post on Top 9 Traits for Adult Children of Addicts or Alcoholics.

Deb Owens is a Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA and Montgomery County based Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor who is also a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Deb has designed and lead the family component at several quality alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs including Rehab After Work and Caron in Philadelphia. Deb specializes in working with adults impacted by a parent or loved one’s alcohol or drug use.      215-802-6521

Similar posts
  • The Mirror and the Door No matter what I have been through I am not alone, there is hope and recovery is [...]
  • Climbing Back from the Brink Welcome back Matthew, I missed [...]
  • Listen to the Cry of the Child 'Here is a picture of the little girl you molested. You don't know who I am now but you will remember this child. The adult woman before you now is courageous & strong but I want you to remember this child as I speak to you.' [...]
  • My Recovery From An Abusive Relations... My recovery story begins when I asked for help getting out of an abusive relationship. I was dating a guy who gave no regard to me or my body. He made me have sex with him and do sexual things every time we were together. I was afraid of him. I never directly said no [...]
  • From Suicidal To Supermodel "People tend to think of suicide as not seeing or appreciating the good in their life, but that’s not it. Usually there’s a little bit of good, a lot of bad, and no break from any of it, so suicide is about wanting to be free; free from the relentlessness of life. If you don’t like your job, you take [...]
  • Discovering that there is such a thing as ACOA really resonated with me and helped motivate me to stay sober so I can crush this thing before it infects another generation. Here’s hoping.
    Thanks Bren