From ACA Red Book—
In this chapter, we offer the original Laundry List as written by our primary founder. We are not eliminating The Problem read at ACA meetings. The 14 Traits are part of ACA’s foundational language that creates identity among ACA’s varied membership. Adult children who are codependents, drug addicts, food addicts, gamblers, sex addicts, and workaholics relate equally to the personality traits of The Laundry List. It is not uncommon for an adult child to be acting out in one or more addictions or compulsions at the same time. This “addictiveness” is our nature as adult children.
Additionally, The Laundry List attracts adult children from families in which addiction was not an issue. Some of these families include parents who were emotionally ill, Hypochondriac, hypercritical, perfectionistic, ultra-religious, or sexually abusive. Adults who have been adopted or who grew up in foster homes relate to to The Laundry List as well and recover in ACA.
Many members say The Laundry List is a powerful piece of literature that raised the veil of denial they had lived under as adults. Scholarly studies have shown that many of the traits are specific to adult children. We believe the list is a gateway into a life of clarity and self-acceptance.
I am enclosing a letter written by Tony A. about the what was then called the ACoA movement. He wrote it in 1992.
“I never expected ACoA to become a worldwide program when it began. We were working on trying to keep a little meeting going back then. The first time I got a glimpse that ACoA had national or international possibilities was when Barry said to copyright the Laundry List. He did foresee this. But I had no idea. I felt the Laundry List should be anonymous at that time and never copyrighted it.
The concept of “Adult Child” came from the Alateens who began the “Hope for Adult Children of Alcoholics” meeting. The original members of our fellowship, who were over 18 years old were adults, but as children they had grown up in alcoholic homes. “Adult Child” also means that when confronted, we regress to a stage in our childhood.
There are three parts of me, the Higher Power, me, and Little Tony. I have to love Little Tony—my Child within—if I’m ever going to unite with God. Little Tony is my connection to God. I learned this from a Hawaiian Kahuna teaching. Several months afterwards, I heard about the “Inner Child” work beginning in the therapeutic community.
When we started the “Generations” meeting, it was an anti-organization. My wish for the fellowship is to use the original Laundry List and the new ACoA Steps written in 1991 in my book.
This program is about learning to love myself and then others unconditionally. We are not God-connected if we don’t. Trust has to become a process and love is a process. When I can trust and love me, I can trust and love others.
I think we have to become as little children. Feelings are the spiritual path of an adventure to know God. Our goal is God.”
Tony A. October 5, 1992