Script for the Wednesday 6 pm CET Fellow World Travelers ACA Meeting
Welcome to our Big Red Book - Chapter 7 Study group, The Twelve Steps of ACA. Hi, my name is....., an ACA and today’s chair.
ACA is a spiritual program supporting people who grew up with family dysfunction. That experience infected us then and it affects us today. While our members may be from homes where alcohol or drugs were present - it is not a requirement. People who suffered abuse, neglect or unhealthy behavior are also members.
Please join me in a few moments of silence followed by the ACA Serenity Prayer. Open your mic if you want to say it together.
God, Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, courage to change the one I can and wisdom to know that one is me.
Would someone like to read The Problem (All or a couple of paragraphs and pass it on to someone else?)
The Problem - Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional household. We had come to feel isolated and uneasy with other people, especially authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people-pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process. All the same we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat. We either became alcoholics (or practiced other addictive behavior) ourselves, or married them, or both. Failing that, we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment.
We lived life from the standpoint of victims. Having an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. We got guilt feelings when we stood up for ourselves rather than giving in to others. Thus, we became reactors, rather than actors, letting others take the initiative. We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally. Yet we kept choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.
These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made us “co-victims”, those who take on the characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink. We learned to keep our feelings down as children and kept them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue. Even more self-defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable relationships.
This is a description, not an indictment.
Would someone like to read The Solution (All or a couple of paragraphs and pass it on to someone else?)
The Solution is to become your own loving parent. As ACA becomes a safe place for you, you will find freedom to express all the hurts and fears you have kept inside and to free yourself from the shame and blame that are carryovers from the past. You will become an adult who is imprisoned no longer by childhood reactions. You will recover the child within you, learning to accept and love yourself.
The healing begins when we risk moving out of isolation. Feelings and buried memories will return. By gradually releasing the burden of unexpressed grief, we slowly move out of the past. We learn to re-parent ourselves with gentleness, humor, love and respect. This process allows us to see our biological parents as the instruments of our existence. Our actual parent is a Higher Power whom some of us choose to call God. Although we had alcoholic or dysfunctional parents, our Higher Power gave us the Twelve Steps of Recovery.
This is the action and work that heals us: we use the Steps; we use the meetings; we use the telephone. We share our experience, strength, and hope with each other. We learn to restructure our sick thinking one day at a time. When we release our parents from responsibility for our actions today, we become free to make healthful decisions as actors, not reactors. We progress from hurting, to healing, to helping. We awaken to a sense of wholeness we never knew was possible. By attending these meetings on a regular basis, you will come to see parental alcoholism or family dysfunction for what it is: a disease that infected you as a child and continues to affect you as an adult.
You will learn to keep the focus on yourself in the here and now. You will take responsibility for your own life and supply your own parenting. You will not do this alone. Look around you and you will see others who know how you feel. We will love and encourage you no matter what. We ask you to accept us just as we accept you. This is a spiritual program based on action coming from love. We are sure that as the love grows inside you, you will see beautiful changes in all your relationships, especially with God, yourself, and your parents.
Thank you all for being here today. You may have related to our readings even if there was no apparent addiction in your home. This is common because dysfunction can occur in a family without the presence of addiction. Feel free to leave your fears and anxieties behind you.
Let’s go around the meeting and introduce ourselves and say where we're calling from. If you are new to this meeting or a newcomer to ACA today, would you also please introduce yourself? I will start. Hi I am _____ ACA and I am from ______
Reading for Newcomer(s)
Welcome Newcomer(s) We are glad you are here. By attending six meetings in a row and attending regularly thereafter, we come to know and begin to act as our True Selves. Two characteristics identify the ACA Program. The program is for adults raised in alcoholic/dysfunctional homes, and although substance abuse may exist, the focus is on the self, specifically on reaching and freeing the inner child hidden behind a protective shield of denial.
The purpose of ACA is three-fold: to shelter and support "newcomers" in confronting "denial", to comfort those mourning their early loss of security, trust, and love and to teach the skills for reparenting ourselves with gentleness, humor, love, and respect. ACA provides a safe, non-judgmental environment that allows us to grieve our childhoods and to conduct an honest inventory of ourselves and our families.
By identifying with ‘The Problem’ we learn to live in The Solution, or Flip Side of The Laundry List, one day at a time.
Sharing and Crosstalk Guidelines
We all want to feel safe as well as heard during the meetings. If you feel you need to share very difficult details that could also trigger others in the meeting, please share how you feel, but be gentle with others and take the details of the story to an appropriate person such as a professional or someone that can help you. We do not cross talk during the sharing time. Cross talk means interrupting, referring to, or commenting on what another person has said during the meeting.
We do not cross talk because adult children come from family backgrounds where feelings and perceptions were judged as wrong or defective. We accept without comment what others say because it is true for them. We work toward taking more responsibility in our lives rather than giving advice to others. We support each other by welcoming each other into our meetings, listening from our hearts, and thanking each other for sharing.
For our own clarity we keep the focus fully on ourselves - our own experiences and feelings and speak from the “I” position.
Please refrain from using the chat feature during the sharing portion of the meeting.
Regarding our 12th Tradition, anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program, therefore, who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here. If these guidelines are unintentionally crossed, the chairperson might kindly remind you about them.
To allow as many of us a chance to share during the meeting as possible, we ask each person to limit their sharing to 4 minutes, 3 if the meeting is big. Who would like to be the spiritual timekeeper?
Big Red Book reading
We read around 5 to 10 minutes from the Big Red Book Chapter 7 and share about it. Would someone like to read a couple of paragraphs of the Big Red Book and pass it on to someone else?
The meeting will be prolonged by 15 minutes if there are more than 8 people present or 30 minutes if there are more than 30 people present.
The floor is now open for sharing.
Conclusion [10 minutes before the meeting ends]
That’s all the time we have. What you hear at this meeting should remain at the meeting. We do not talk about another person’s story or experiences to other people. Please respect the anonymity of those who shared with us today.
Our 7th Tradition states that “Every ACA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” Donations are used to pay for the Fellow World Travelers zoom account, website, other online tools, organize events, workshops, study groups, parent other meetings and all other costs. Contributions may be made by PayPal at email@example.com.
ACA Traditions - Would someone like to read the Tradition of the month and the Twelfth Tradition?
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 Twelve-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, TV, films, and other public media.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Would someone like to read the ACA Bill Of Rights. (You can read a few items and pass it on to someone else)
1. I have the right to say no.
2. I have the right to say, “I don’t know.”
3. I have the right to detach from anyone in whose company I feel humiliated or manipulated. 4. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
5. I have the right to make mistakes and learn from them.
6. I have the right to be wrong.
7. I have the right to make my own choices and decisions in my life; I do not have to feel guilty because someone does not like what I do, say, think, or feel.
8. I have the right to grieve any actual or perceived losses.
9. I have the right to all of my feelings.
10. I have the right to feel angry, including towards someone I love.
11. I have the right to change my mind at any time.
12. I have the right to a spiritually, physically, and emotionally healthier existence, though it may deviate entirely or in part from my parents’ way of life.
13. I have the right to forgive myself and to choose how and when I forgive others. 14. I have the right to take healthy risks and to experiment with new possibilities. 15. I have the right to be honest in my relationships and to seek the same from others. 16. I have the right to ask for what I want.
17. I have the right to determine and honor my own priorities and goals, and to leave others to their Higher Powers.
18. I have the right to dream and to have hope.
19. I have the right to be my True Self.
20. I have the right to know and nurture my Inner Child.
21. I have the right to laugh, to play, to have fun, and the freedom to celebrate this life, right here, right now.
22. I have the right to live life happy, joyous, and free.
If time allows: Does anyone else have a burning desire to share?
That’s all the time we have for sharing. Thank you to _________ for co-hosting, and _______ for timekeeping, and thank you to everyone for your presence and shares. Keep coming back, it works, if you work it and you are worth it.
For people who like to do so, please use the chat box for exchanging contact details. If you would like to talk please stay after the meeting we will have some fellowship time.
Our website is currently under construction at https://acafellowworldtravelers.com
Announcements: Are there any ACA-related announcements?
It is time to read The ACA Promises together.
Would someone like to read? (All or perhaps just a few items each)
1. We will discover our real identities by loving and accepting ourselves.
2. Our self-esteem will increase as we give ourselves approval on a daily basis.
3. Fear of authority figures and the need to “people-please” will leave us.
4. Our ability to share intimacy will grow inside us.
5. As we face our abandonment issues, we will be attracted by strengths and become more tolerant of weaknesses.
6. We will enjoy feeling stable, peaceful, and financially secure.
7. We will learn how to play and have fun in our lives.
8. We will choose to love people who can love and be responsible for themselves.
9. Healthy boundaries and limits will become easier for us to set.
10. Fears of failure and success will leave us, as we intuitively make healthier choices.
11. With help from our ACA support group, we will slowly release our dysfunctional behaviors.
12.Gradually, with our Higher Power’s help, we will learn to expect the best and get it.
For people who like to do so please use the chat for exchanging contact details.
(Chair chooses a prayer) Please join me to close the meeting with prayer Number: _
Number 1: ACA Serenity prayer long
God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, courage to change the one I can And wisdom to know that one is me. Grant me patience for the changes that take time, An appreciation for all that I have, A tolerance for those with different struggles, And the strength to get up and try again. One day at a time. Thank you.
Number 2: ACA Serenity prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, courage to change the one I can and the wisdom to know that one is me.