FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

This is something that can only be answered with experience. Our intention is to create a safe and comfortable environment that is supportive and never judgmental. Some people come for a meeting or two and then don’t return. Perhaps they found a meeting that better suited their needs or schedule, or just felt like a better fit for them. Maybe they realized they were not ready for meetings but might return someday. It can take courage to walk through a door into an unknown situation. We understand that and hope you will take that step.
The following descriptions are taken from the relevant websites:
AA: Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
NA: Narcotics Anonymous offers recovery from the effects of addiction through working a twelve-step program, including regular attendance at group meetings. The group atmosphere provides help from peers and offers an ongoing support network for addicts who wish to pursue and maintain a drug-free lifestyle. Our name, Narcotics Anonymous, is not meant to imply a focus on any particular drug; NA’s approach makes no distinction between drugs including alcohol.
Al-Anon: Al-Anon/Alateen, Al-Anon Family Groups and Al-Anon are different names for a worldwide fellowship that offers a program of recovery for the families and friends of alcoholics, whether or not the alcoholic recognizes the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help.
ACOA/ACA: Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA or ACA) is an organization that is intended to provide a forum to individuals who desire to recover from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family.
CODA: Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) is a twelve-step program for people who share a common desire to develop functional and healthy relationships, where co-dependency is "the chronic sacrifice of self for the maintenance of a relationship".
In our weekly meeting, we open with the Serenity Prayer, we read a few of the documents from the ACOA literature out loud, and then read a daily affirmation from Strengthening My Recovery. After the readings, we share. This meeting was created to provide a safe space for adult children of alcoholics to share what is on their hearts and minds. Our experience demonstrates that when sharing about past trauma in the presence of a community of compassionate, non-interfering witnesses, we can bring healing light to our most dark, wounded places.
You don’t have to do or say anything when you attend a meeting, and no one will judge you. It might be hard to come to a meeting, especially if it’s your first. We remember that and we will respect your need to participate as little or as much as is comfortable for you. Listening to the stories and experiences of others can be a powerful way to participate and learn.
A ‘closed meeting’ means that there are requirements for attending the meeting. In our ACA group, the requirement is that participants must have grown up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional household. For those of us who have grown up in a dysfunctional household, safety can be a key issue, and this requirement helps to keep the space feeling safe for participants. For example, in meetings that are not closed, someone’s partner might attend too, or someone who is doing research about 12 step groups or alcoholism. With third parties attending, participants who are adult children of alcoholics might feel watched, or judged, by people who have not lived through the experiences that we share in common and that make us who we are today.
Our group does not formally work the 12 steps of ACA in our meetings, though some of us do that work outside the meetings, sometimes with a sponsor. The themes in the 12 steps often come up in our meetings through individual sharing, and there is no limit on what members can share, so if you would like to bring your experience with working one of the steps, we would be honored to listen.
The meetings and literature are primarily in English, but during the sharing sessions, people can share in any language. The focus of this ACA group is to create a space for compassionate witnessing without interruptions or judgments. This can happen in any language.
Yes. However, participants who regularly attend meetings often do know each other’s names, and there is a private secret Facebook group for members. You choose what you are comfortable sharing and your limits will be respected.
Our group emphasizes the idea of “god as I understand god”. For some people, that is a Christian god. For others, it is a Jewish or Muslim god. For yet others, their god equates to their higher self, and not an external higher power. Above all, the group will respect your interpretation of God whatever it might be.