A new Al-Anon Adult Children (AAC) Group has recently opened in Pretoria:

Venue: Brooklyn Methodist Church, 209 Murray Street, Pretoria 0181: Thursdays 18h30-19h30

Many Al‑Anon members have come to understand how their current life situation was affected by their experience growing up in a home where a parent had a drinking problem. It’s not unusual to see inter-generational effects of alcoholism, where grandparents, parents, and children are all affected by a family member’s drinking, or several family members’ drinking.

Al-Anon Adult Children (AAC) members meet in groups separate from Al-Anon Family Group (AFG) meetings and from Alateen meetings. The age limit where Alateen members are encouraged to join either an AFG or AAC group is 18 Years old.

AAC members tend to discuss the effects of growing up in an alcoholic home in a way that is slightly different from AFG. This is mainly because the effects of years of growing up in this environment can leave long-lasting behavioural issues that are addressed with other members having shared the same type of experiences. AAC members also have their own daily reader - Hope for Today - where all the daily readings have been written by Adult Children.

As a part of the Al-Anon Family Groups, locally and worldwide, AAC uses AFG literature, the identical formats for meeting and the same 12 Steps, 12 Traditions and 12 Concepts as all AFG.

If you have grown up in an alcoholic home, AAC may be for you. Check our literature and meeting list to find information and meeting near you.


Al-Anon Adult children

AAC stands for Al-Anon Adult children and include people from all types of dysfunctional family systems, be that alcoholism, drug, sex or food addictions or any other form of family dysfunction.

Adult children often become alcoholics or addicts themselves or may marry an alcoholic, addict or abusive partner with the hope of healing old childhood wounds.

There are strong links between adult children behaviour and early and ongoing childhood trauma.

Many adult children suffer from untreated stress related symptoms such as PTSD.  It is believed that due to being subjected to continuous stress, uncertainty, abuse and neglect, as a result of growing up in a dysfunctional environment, the brain adapts and becomes wired to be in constant survival mode. It takes time and personal commitment for the brain to be rewired and to change the behaviours that seems to be hardwired into our systems, causing havoc in our lives, relationships and our ability to function. It is possible though and this is where the programme offers hope for recovery.

The program offers a process that includes practical tools and support to recover from the effects of growing up in a dysfunctional home, something which can affect anyone regardless of race, gender or social standing.

People who suffer from this condition may even appear to be functional members of society. Despite appearances, it is in the mismanagement of the home and finances, inability to control compulsions, not feeling alive unless there is stress and drama and not being able to sustain healthy relationships that the destruction happens. Uncontrolled anger and rage or the opposite states of being such as apathy, disassociation and intellectualisation may be present. These aspects of character may play a role in broken relationships or the inability of the adult child to sustain balance and harmony in life, work and relationships.

There are three AAC support groups in Gauteng; two in Pretoria and one in Johannesburg. Find a meeting near you by clicking on //www.alanongauteng.co.za/cp/21524/find-meeting-near-you

If you can’t find an AAC specific support group meeting in your area, you may still benefit from attending Al-ANON family support group meetings; which focuses on families living with alcoholics, but follow the same program, steps and principles of recovery.

How to recognise an adult child

  • Adult children guess at what normal behaviour is
  • Adult children have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end
  • Adult children lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth
  • Adult children judge themselves without mercy
  • Adult children have difficulty having fun
  • Adult children take themselves very seriously
  • Adult children have difficulty with intimate relationships
  • Adult children over react to changes over which they have no control
  • Adult children constantly seek approval and affirmation
  • Adult children usually feel that they are different from other people
  • Adult children are super responsible or super irresponsible
  • Adult children are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved
  • Adult children are impulsive

From the book Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D

You will also find more information here //al-anon.org/for-adult-children

Sharing...  Suicide was on the cards after a troubled childhood

"I believed that I was conceived let alone born with fear.  I think this stemmed from a mixture of my dad’s drinking and my mom’s affairs. All I can remember was that when I was very young, I knew I was different; this bothered me even at the tender age of five years old.  The fear with playing with other kids and being rejected had already begun.

"I was picked on and bullied at school because I looked different. I remember arriving home from school every day with bloodied knees.  I always had scars on my knees, ripped shirts, missing buttons. I remember my mom always complaining to me about that, and I was always in trouble because of it.

"To add to insult to injury, I used to do spelling with my dad and every time I got the word wrong, he used to freak out. Eventually I gave up and just took whatever he said to me as “Gospel truth” He was always insinuating how stupid I was.  I hated this feeling I had towards him.  I became scared of him because of his rage.

"I remember going to the tennis club at 5 years old with him on a Saturday afternoon and a Sunday morning. All my friends’ fathers always gave their kids something to eat or drink.  I was petrified to ask my father in case I was rebuked. I remember his famous words, was while pouring his beer, that he didn’t have enough money to get me a Fanta or a Coke, there was water in a tap around the corner which I could use. I could eat something when we got home. I accepted this…… what could I do?

"I carried this fear of rejection throughout primary school, high school, the army and through both my marriages.  When my wife walked out with my daughter, I was devastated, broken hearted, betrayed. Suicidal thoughts were in my thinking every second of the day.  Luckily, my mom phoned me up and knew something was wrong, she got in touch with a member of Al-anon.  This person talked me out of suicide for almost two hours.  I found an Al-Anon group and started on my walk to recovery.

"Attending (Al-Anon Adult Children) AAC meetings has saved my life."