Adult Children of Alcoholics

Adult Children of Alcoholics, Deb Owens Counselor, Chestnut Hill, PAAdults who grew up in a household where one or both parents had any type of addiction may find themselves struggling with relationships in their personal lives or at work.

Many ACOAs (adult children of alcoholics or addicts) want to believe that they’ve somehow escaped the clutches of the illness once they emerge into adulthood and are able to create their own families or network of friends.

Yet they can find that what drew them into compensatory roles while children may trap them once again through unhealthy interactions in the adult world. Even those in recovery from their own substance use issues.


As a therapist in Philadelphia and Montgomery County, PA who offers phone, F2F, and on-line coaching or counseling, I work with many ACOAs who are high achievers. Some are perfectionists. Depression, anxiety, and other issues are not uncommon.

Many so called “co-dependents” become overly responsible in various areas of functioning. Some ACOAs may operate like magnets attracting people who need help, support, or rescuing often to the point where their own needs remain unfulfilled.

While caring and loving are good traits many who grew up with or have an addicted parent are trying to find a better balance and develop a healthier attachment style.

They want and need less chaos.  If they are near a roller coaster, to be a watcher not someone up in the first seat.

Adult Children of Alcoholics/ Addicts can have fulfilling relationships. It can take some work, focus, and a commitment to a counseling process and to healing. Many ACOAs gain perspective and support by attending ACA or Al-Anon meetings.


By learning to use the tools of recovery, hope can be restored and a sense of calm and positive expectation can flourish and grow.

Sure your past can influence the present but you can change the story and your relationship to it and take control of your future.

See my post on Top 9 Traits for Adult Children of Addicts or Alcoholics.

Deb Owens is a Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor who is also a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She provides F2F, phone, and on-line counseling or personal coaching. Deb has designed and lead the family component at several quality alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs including Rehab After Work and Caron in Philadelphia. Deb specializes in working with adults impacted by a parent or loved one’s alcohol or drug use and in working with those in the recovery community.      215-802-6521