Tuesday, September 11, 2007


In ACA, we have stories of relapse and the importance of getting back to the program if relapse occurs. An ACA relapse always features a reenact-ment of our role while growing up in a dysfunctional family. We recreate the same fear, self-hate, and abandonment of our childhood. A relapse can take many forms, but all ACA relapses have this central feature.

An ACA relapse can bring a return of self-harming behavior. The behavior can include emotional eating, drug use, compulsive sexual relationships, or other harmful behaviors. We can become an aggressive authority figure and emotional persecutor while in relapse. The critical inner parent can return. We may also find ourselves in a controlling relationship without baseline honesty or trust. We can feel used.

Relapse in this program can be subtle, gradual, and insidious. While there are different forms of relapse, the setback has the common characteristics of willful control, manipulation, dishonesty, and turning away from a Higher Power. Sometimes a single act can be considered a relapse. At other times we consider ourselves in relapse when we have engaged in an unhealthy behavior for many months with no honest effort to change our behavior.

Some warning signs of relapse can include: not talking about things that upset us; keeping secrets; failing to get a sponsor; attending meetings but failing to work the ACA Twelve Steps; working only the Steps of another Twelve Step program while attending ACA; withdrawing from the fellowship and isolating; replacing our old addiction with another equally destructive one; skipping meetings or quitting meetings; seducing a newcomer; substituting another Twelve Step group or enlightenment group for this one; or pronouncing ourselves cured.

By pronouncing ourselves cured, we wrongly conclude that ACA is a limited program that addresses only certain areas of our lives such as abuse. In reality, ACA is a way of life that can improve every aspect of our lives. We can rely upon ACA to fulfill us emotionally and spiritually if we work the program. By facing our pain and fears, we experience a spiritual awakening that transforms us. We continue to attend meetings year after year so that we can grow spiritually and pass on what was given to us. The reward is emotional sobriety and a personality change that moves us away from being a fear-based person to God-centered person. With our personality change, we claim our true identity.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"We can become an aggressive authority figure and emotional persecutor while in relapse. The critical inner parent can return." ---This speaks to me- I have been in ACA for >20 years and when relapse these are my red flags. My dad was abusive and unpredictable and had a deep load of shame- while my mom carried the codependent deepseated desire for a miracle cure of all when she even recognized the problem. I see people come into the program and leave rapidly and I wonder what would have happened to me if I had done the same and then I slowly relapse and see exactly what would persist. I feel the best comparison is a diabetic who when he/she stops eating healthy and exercising and taking their insulin has a certain result awaiting them. For me it aint going away and the result is predictable. Thanks for the site. Wished it was utilized more.