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Anna Krasuska talks to psychiatrist Lubomira Szawdyn about the problems of ACA, i.e. adult children of alcoholics, and about the consequences of bringing up in a family with an alcohol problem.

DDAare brought up in a world ruled by chaos.Children of alcoholicsenter adulthood with a baggage of experiences, which often determines their fate for many years. As air, they need security and balance.

Is it possible to feel the effects of an alcoholism at home in your adult life?

If one person in the family is sick, then the people around them also get sick. Children are particularly susceptible to the influence of adults and are helpless in the face of what is happening at home. If they grow up in a dysfunctional family, they enter adulthood with various problems.

Who are ACA - adult children of alcoholics?

People who cannot cope in life because they have not acquired the appropriate skills. These are puppets directed by adults. ACAs can live for many years without knowing who they are because they can only play roles they learned during their childhood.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Poland are adult children of alcoholics, that is ACA. Many of them don't even know it. After listening to the Signposts in Eska Rock program, you will learn how to recognize the symptoms of a syndrome that often prevents you from being fully happy. You will learn everything important about ACA therapy. An experienced addiction and co-addiction therapist from Warsaw, a clinical psychologist - Kaja Funez-Sokoła:

What roles do ACA play?

There are four attitudes of alcoholic children: the hero, the jester, the scapegoat and the shadow.

The herois so old tiny. For example, he takes care of his mother, protects her from his father, and brings up younger siblings. Usually he is a good student, responsible, willing to make sacrifices. At the same time, it has developed a strong control system. The protagonist is concerned with others, but not with himself. He trains himself, because he has to be the best in everything to deserve praise.

Jestermakes sure the house is not sad. He has the feeling that a good mood depends on him, so he always tries to defuse the acidic atmosphere. Like the hero, nohe takes care of himself, only other people.

In turn,scapegoatgrows feeling that he is to blame for everything. It is always the person who is being pointed at by the finger. Such a child usually begins to rebel like, "Am I guilty? Then I'll show you!".

Shadowis a child you can hardly see. A person always withdrawn and insecure. For fear of family quarrels and of accepting any hardships associated with this family hell, he runs away into himself. Then the withdrawn woman enters adult life.


Which means: DDA

This is an abbreviation: adult children of alcoholics. The name was created by the patients themselves, who more than 20 years ago began to demand therapy. The term ACA is defined as a relatively recently separated field of disorders resulting from growing up in a family with an alcohol problem. In the world, the ACA movement is well developed and functions similarly to other anonymous movements - AA (anonymous alcoholics), co-addicts, etc. In Poland it is still in its infancy.

What problems do ACA kids have when they grow up?

The hero poisons the life of his surroundings, because he knows everything best and wants to control everything. She treats her husband like a child, and sets her employees under a string. Everyone must obey his orders indiscriminately. The jester never grows up. Living with him is a great unknown. The scapegoat carries his baggage of guilt, and the shadow is never sure of itself and cannot fully develop its abilities.

What distinguishes ACA people?

Fear of chaos. In the hierarchy of values, the sense of security is the most important for these people. For some it will be material prosperity, for others it will be fame, others still find it in a toxic, addictive relationship.

Exactly … why do ACAs get into relationships with addicts so often?

Because we usually prefer what we know and are afraid of the new. It is easier to enter the old pattern. In addition, we attract people who match our needs. The hero attracts a partner who feels that he can hang on him and pierce his life without doing anything. The shadow attracts people who want to look after others. Each of these characters has their fans on the stage of life. To this must be added pride. It seems to us that if we know the problem from our family home, we will deal with it and again take responsibility for others. It's a vicious circle. Everything may look innocent at first, especially since the husband does not have to reveal his alcoholic predisposition right away. Later, however, the drama unfolds.

What is it about?

The reality as perceived by the ACA differs from the facts. Such people only watchthrough the prism of their own experiences. They adjust everything to their needs, and if something does not suit them, they think they will change it. They live in a fictional reality, without contact with each other.

They don't know who they are?

Exactly. Adult children of alcoholics have a problem with this. Often only in the 30.-40. in the spring of life, they begin to build their identity. It suddenly turns out that someone no longer wants to play the role imposed on him by others. And he has to face reality, ask himself the question: "Who am I?". The sooner he puts them, the better.

Can this be changed in adulthood?

Of course, although it is hard to get rid of the habits developed over several dozen years. The ACAs only confirm themselves through the opinions of others. They perceive every criticism as a life drama. They have no support in themselves. That is why it is worth taking the trouble and trying to change it. A man should know who he is, what his abilities are, what he can do, how much he means.

What is ACA therapy?

In the beginning it leads to forgiveness. Then there's learning new skills. But the most important thing is identity building. After discovering his own skin, man also discovers the reserves of creativity. His soul develops endlessly. And it is lightning fast. These people become proud of their individuality, strong. They build new relationships and develop professionally. This uncertainty remains with them for some time. Eventually, however, they forget about it and live an ordinary life. Because the life of a good man is a completely ordinary life …

This will be useful to you
  • Why do Adult Children of Alcoholics have problems with play?

- People with ACoA syndrome are deeply convinced that they do not deserve pleasure or entertainment. They want pleasure, they want to relax, but there is a strong blockage that makes it difficult for them to fulfill this desire - says the author of the Systemic Psychological Assistance program for Young Adult Children of Alcoholics, Anna Seweryńska from the Od-Do Association. - This problem can be overcome. It is important to realize that the choice is in your hands. Learning to choose in favor of your own needs (including pleasure), in accordance with your feelings, is one of the important elements of therapy.

  • Why do Adult Children of Alcoholics live with a sense of alienation?

This feeling is very often accompanied by a feeling of inferiority. Adult Children of Alcoholics grow up convinced that they are not "good enough", have not experienced their parents' acceptance of themselves as they are, therefore they feel inferior, different from their work colleagues, friends, etc. - Unlike alcoholics, for themadult children, the need for therapy is more natural, it arises with maturity, these people want to understand themselves better and solve their problems. Much can be achieved during therapy. You can free yourself from the past and start living your own way without feeling guilty for experiencing your feelings and fulfilling your own needs. You can learn to avoid behavior resulting from dysfunctional mechanisms and learn he althy, satisfying, developmental relationships - emphasizes Anna Seweryńska from the Od-Do Association.

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