Adult-Children of alcoholics & other narcissists



           to   EMOTIONALLY   HEALTHY

SYMPTOMS  - ACoA Characteristics

Addictive/compulsive behaviors, or marry addicts

D  Delusional thinking & denial about family of origin

U  Unmercifully judgmental of self & others

L   Lacking good boundaries - want to symbiose

T  Tolerate inappropriate behavior

C  Constantly seek approval or overly independent

H  Have difficulty with intimate relationships

I    Incur guilt when standing up for self

L   Lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth

D  Disabled will (can’t be ones own motivator)

R  Reactive rather than active / creative

E  Extremely loyal - to the wrong people

N  Numbed out (from too much pain)

O  Overreact to changes out of one’s control

F  Feel different than everyone else

A   Anxious & hyper-vigilant

L   Low self-worth because of internalized shame

C  Confuse love with pity

O  Overly rigid & serious / OR just the opposite

H  Have difficulty finishing projects

O  Overly dependent & terrified of abandonment

L  Live life as a victim or as an offender

I   Intimidated by anger & criticism, or in a rage

C  Control-madness (an excessive need to control)

S  Super-responsible or super-irresponsible

From THE FAMILY  -  by John Bradshaw

    ‘12 STEPS’ 
      for ACoAs

    1. Admitted our powerlessness to   

    change our past - that our lives had

    become unmanageable, & became

    willing to surrender to love & not to

    our fear

   2. Found hope in the belief that

    recovery is possible through faith &

    an acceptance of the fact that we are  

    never alone

    3. Learned to let go of compulsive

    self-reliance by reaching out to our

    Higher Power

  4. Made an honest assessment of our

    strengths & weaknesses, & accepted

    the impact our childhood had on us as


  5. Learned to share our self-parenting

    issues with others without self-

    recrimination or shame

   6. Became ready to change, by giving

     up the demand to be perfect

  7. Learned to  embrace our uniqueness

    & connection to others, in a spirit of

    love & humility

  8. Learned self-forgiveness & made

    amends to our Inner Child

  9. Healed our Inner Child by realizing 

    the promise of self-parenting in our

    daily lives

  1. 10.Practiced daily self-acceptance &

      learned to live in the present

  1. 11.Allowed the beauty in us to shine forth

      by surrendering to our Higher Power

  1. 12.Having had this spiritual awakening,  we reached out to others in the spirit

      of giving, love & community


                 Patricia A. O’Gorman

                  & Phil Oliver-Diaz


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