A Program of Recovery

How We Recover

Individuals recover at their own pace. We, however, have learned by experience that those ACA members who make the greatest gains in the shortest amount of time are using the tools of recovery.

ACA Tools include:

  • using the 12 Steps
  • identifying, evaluating and removing old parenting instructions
  • selecting past parental instructions that are healthy to our lives today, and discarding those that are not
  • discovering the impact and power of the Inner Child in our recovery
  • giving service in ACA
  • working with a sponsor
  • and most importantly - attending meetings that focus on issues we need to work on.

It is through meetings we connect with other people to discuss recovery issues, hear about their ACA experiences, incorporate information about methods/techniques of recovery and build a personal support network, if we choose.


Attending Meetings

The only requirement for membership is a desire to recover from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family.

When attending a meeting, you can simply observe, listen, or participate as you feel comfortable.

Why We Attend ACA Meetings

Many ACA members come from family backgrounds where feelings and perceptions were judged as wrong or defective. In ACA, each person may share his or her feelings and perceptions without fear of being judged or interruption. In ACA, we create a safe place to open up and share.

Going to meetings and listening to others who talk about their own experiences, strengths, and hopes often helps us in our own recovery. Sharing at meetings helps us to focus, define and clarify our problems. 

Sometimes we vent gently or feel our feelings. Talking out loud about our action plan to change our lives helps us to resolve some problems. At times, we report our progress or share how well our current plan is working. We often use meetings as a reality check on our overall program, comparing adult life before program to current life in program.



ACA meetings are designed to be a safe place to share. All members use their first names only and agree what is shared in meetings stays within meetings. The phrase, 'what you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here' is often heard.

It's about "I"

In ACA, we speak about our own experiences and feelings; we accept without comment what others say because it is true for them. We also work toward taking responsibility in our lives rather than giving advice to others.

What We Do Not Do at Meetings

To ensure a safe environment, we do not engage is 'cross talk'. Cross talk generally includes:

  • interrupting others
  • touch, hug, or attempt to comfort others when they become emotional
  • criticizing others' comments
  • commenting on what others say
  • offering advice
  • distracting others from the person speaking by word, whisper, gesture, noise, or movement
  • violating the anonymity of others
  • repeating what is said in meetings (in any context)
  • acting out inappropriately

If any member ever feels a meeting is not safe, for whatever reason, it should be raised confidentially with the Trusted Servant of that meeting.

Your and our Recovery depends on group unity.