1. Our common welfare should come first, personal recovery depends on ACA unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as expressed in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for membership in ACA is a desire to recover from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family.
  4. Each group is autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or ACA as a whole. We cooperate with all other 12-Step programs.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the adult child who still suffers.
  6. An ACA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the ACA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every ACA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Adult Children of Alcoholics should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. ACA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Adult Children of Alcoholics has no opinion on outside issues; hence the ACA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, T.V. and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

The Twelve Traditions are reprinted and adapted from the original Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and are used with the permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

2 Responses to “ACA 12 Traditions”

  1. Patrick Says:

    Any Historians or those interested Traditions, Concepts and overall healthy ACA growth or what not might find this article interesting. Hopefully ACA will have a historical committee one day. Counselor, a magazine for professionals Omer’s article can be found in the February 2005 , a sidebar to Bill White’s article in that issue, Fire in the Family: Historical Perspectives on the Intergenerational Effects of Addiction.

    What Happened to ACA — Adult Children of Alcoholics?

    We are living in a time when there is more awareness about children of alcoholics and adult children of alcoholics than any other time in history. Once invisible, adult children of alcoholics (ACAs) have grabbed the attention of therapists, recovery authors and even Oprah. Since the conceptualization of the adult child syndrome in the 1970s, ACAs and children of alcoholics have been studied, written about and counseled in an effort to help them heal their wounded child within.

    Ground‑breaking books by Claudia Black and Janet Woititz crystallized the rules and roles that ACAs grow up with and live out for the rest of their lives unless meaningful help occurs. Black identified the alcoholic familial rules of “don’t talk, don’t trust and don’t feel.” Woititz, now deceased, penned 13 characteristics of an ACA that include “guessing at what is normal, judging oneself without mercy and struggling with intimacy.” This is what most children of alcoholics take into adulthood and pass on to their kids if they don’t get help. Many ACAs judge themselves harshly and have disastrous relationships, job problems, and drug problems without truly knowing why. Others are stellar employees and self-starters, who rarely ask for help and who appear “perfect.” Some ACAs would admit their parents’ addiction is a factor in their lives but without help, they seem to never grasp an understanding of their lost feelings or move toward real change and healing.

    In recent years, children of alcoholics (COAs) have been receiving consistence attention on the research and policy front from the Maryland-based National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA). NACoA reports the existence of 26.8 million children and adult children of alcoholics. There are at least 11 million children under the age of 18 years old still living in a home with an addicted parent, said Sis Wenger, NACoA executive director. NACoA advocates for COAs and publishes reports, research articles, and commentary for this group of vulnerable kids and teens (www.nacoa.org).

    Recovery author and NACoA founder Stephanie Brown said the ACA dynamic has moved into the research realm and gained legitimacy as a recognizable and treatable ailment (“ACAs Today,” a NACoA commentary article, Summer 2001). “Important facts about children of alcoholics that were called speculation because they had been described by clinicians rather than researchers, have now been established by research,” Brown writes. Most counselors, therapists, and some clergymen have as least heard of ACA and some of the dynamics of an alcoholic family. Even Al Franken of Saturday Night Live fame has spoofed some of the ACA lingo with his Stewart Smalley character, known for the line: “I am good enough. I am smart enough and dog gone it people like me.”

    With all the literature, media exposure and the 26‑year history of ACA dynamics, you would think that the fellowship that developed from such exposure should be flourishing. But that could not be further from the truth.

    That fellowship is Adult Children of Alcoholics and it is struggling. In fact the decline of ACA is startling. Since the 1990s, the number of members and groups of the once thriving ACA Fellowship has declined an estimated 90 percent in many areas of the United States from California to New York and from Green Bay to Atlanta. The San Fernando Valley in California has had a 100 percent decline in groups in 10 years, says Tom B. The area once had 25 ACA groups and meetings, and it now has none.

    The Los Angeles fellowship, which once had meetings with more than 150 members now has 10 or fewer members in meetings, said longtime ACA member Pam M. Large meeting rooms on the West Coast now echo with a few committed voices of four to eight ACA members. These remaining members are steady ACAs, who have attended meetings 10 and 20 years. They refuse to give up.

    Nationwide, the number of ACA meetings and groups has plummeted from 1,500 meetings to an estimated 580 meetings and groups, according to ACA’s official database on active and inactive meetings. That’s a 61 percent decline when looking at all groups. ACA’s national organization is located in Torrance, Calif. ACA was founded in 1977 by cofounder Tony A., who passed away in 2004.

    Various factors that include declining mental health dollars and the “newness” of ACoA wearing off have contributed to the decline in addition to other critical factors.

    The good news is the ACA fellowship has a core group of experienced adult children, who are putting together a draft of a fellowship book, which will be used in ACA meetings to offer hope and clarity to thousands of adult children reaching out for help each day.

    Josie E., an ACA member from of Arlington, Texas, represents this commitment by ACA members to keep the fellowship alive. Josie has been spending her own money on behalf of ACA for many years. She recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to represent ACA at a multi‑12 step conference that included Al-Anon representatives.

    Josie says ACA changed her life and is helping break the generational nature of alcoholic and dysfunctional families.

    “I will continue to pay my own way as long as the word of ACA keeps being spread,” says Josie. “The program saved and gave me my life. I have relationships today with my adult children and grandchildren I would not have had without the ACA program.”

    Omer Gillham Jr.

    May be a better place to post this on this site in a bit rusty (also heard Tony A.”s book will be on an audio book (yet In my understanding is an was against ACA Tradition/ 12 step Traditions). (Also I feel the Big Red Book is also against Tradition with ALL the names in it and the all the therapist…connections etc.) Perfectionist is one thing but realizing Traditions are quite important. And the 12 Concepts as I learn. Thanks Lexxie

  2. Tommy Buddy Says:

    Hello there, You have done an incredible job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

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