I do want to work the ACA fellowship...almost all the people I work with in AA have significant shocking childhood abuse and violence. It's hard for me as an untrained person to know exactly what to do but we do say people should have that foundation of sobriety before attempting any trauma work. More help is needed. AA is way too obstinate to take this on and ACA is too rarified in a way.

I totally agree. Strong sobriety is so important before this stuff is tackled. I have 6 years, my sister has 5 and our brother has 30 thanks to AA. It has been a life saver for my family members that have chosen recovery.  I feel like a sobriety is  like getting a bachelors in recovery and ACA/emotional sobriety is going for your masters! My ACES score is 8 so my goal is to exceed my life expectancy of 60 (I turned 55 yesterday 🀞). 

Thank you for this conversation. I hope these two articles will add to this discussion. The first, written by Dr. Felitti in 2002 and the second, written in 2018 by a different group of authors.  So many studies have had the same findings - maybe now is a good time to integrate what we know about the science of ACEs into the AA world? Karen

Link to article:  ACEs article by Dr. Felitti   2002 Aug;53(8):1001-9.  doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.53.8.1001

Objective: The study examined how growing up with alcoholic parents and having adverse childhood experiences are related to the risk of alcoholism and depression in adulthood.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, 9,346 adults who visited a primary care clinic of a large health maintenance organization completed a survey about nine adverse childhood experiences: experiencing childhood emotional, physical, and sexual abuse; witnessing domestic violence; parental separation or divorce; and growing up with drug-abusing, mentally ill, suicidal, or criminal household members. The associations between parental alcohol abuse, the adverse experiences, and alcoholism and depression in adulthood were assessed by logistic regression analyses.

Results: The risk of having had all nine of the adverse childhood experiences was significantly greater among the 20 percent of respondents who reported parental alcohol abuse. The number of adverse experiences had a graded relationship to alcoholism and depression in adulthood, independent of parental alcohol abuse. The prevalence of alcoholism was higher among persons who reported parental alcohol abuse, no matter how many adverse experiences they reported. The association between parental alcohol abuse and depression was accounted for by the higher risk of having adverse childhood experiences in alcoholic families.

Conclusions: Children in alcoholic households are more likely to have adverse experiences. The risk of alcoholism and depression in adulthood increases as the number of reported adverse experiences increases regardless of parental alcohol abuse. Depression among adult children of alcoholics appears to be largely, if not solely, due to the greater likelihood of having had adverse childhood experiences in a home with alcohol-abusing parents.

Our intent here is to present our findings only as they relate to the problem of addiction, using nicotine, alcohol, and injected illicit drugs as examples of substances that are commonly viewed as β€˜addicting’.  If we know why things happen and how, then we may have a new basis for prevention. 

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Link to article:  ACEs and Alcohol Abuse Among South Carolina Adults  2018

PMID: 29185846 DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2017.1400568

Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been associated with negative adult health outcomes, including alcohol misuse. The impact of ACEs on alcohol use may vary by gender, with ACEs impacting women more than men in coping with adulthood stressors.

Objectives: The objective of this study is to examine the gender-specific relationships between ACEs and self-reported binge drinking and heavy drinking in adulthood among South Carolina residents.

Methods: This study analyzed a sample of 8492 respondents who completed the 2014 or 2015 South Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. Logistic regression was used to examine the impact of types and the number of ACEs on binge drinking and heaving drinking in adulthood.

Results: Thirty-seven percent of men and 22.8% of women survey respondents reported binge drinking and 12.2% of men and 4.1% of women reported heavy drinking. Almost all categories of ACE were associated with increased odds of reporting binge and heavy drinking; household mental illness had the greatest odds for men (aOR 1.31, 95% CI 1.30-1.33) and emotional abuse had the greatest odds for women (aOR 1.42, 95% CI 1.40-1.43). Men and women with four or more ACEs had greater odds of reporting binge and heavy drinking compared to their counterparts. Conclusions/Importance: Given the potential for negative outcomes associated with alcohol misuse and transmission of risky alcohol-related behaviors from parent to child, strategies that utilize a multigenerational approach could have a large impact on population health.

Felitti 2004 ETOC data table



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