new online/virtual sessions (telehealth) available

we provide dui classes and counseling, dui evaluations, substance use assessments, and individual therapy through video counseling on zoom.

for more information call 630-877-3313

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) Counseling

Growing up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional home can cause individuals to feel uneasy and make it difficult to enjoy life. There are many common characteristics these individuals often experience. For example, many of them feel alone in the world and have a belief that “if you really knew me, you would not like me.” Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) tend to be people-pleasers and have difficulty saying “no.” Many have found it difficult to form healthy relationships and will connect with emotionally abusive people. These issues stem from having similar relationships they had with their dysfunctional parents growing up.

The Adult Children Center specializes in working with Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) and has been doing so for over 30 years. Individuals will learn to identify their self-defeating attitudes and behaviors and be able to change them to lead a more satisfying and fulfilling life. They will feel more comfortable with themselves and develop healthy relationships.

Adult Children of Alcoholics: A Road to Healthy Living

By Dene Stamas

I am the founder of the Adult Children Center, Ltd. I've been counseling Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA'S) and dysfunctional families for over 30 years. During this time I have found that ACOA's have very similar self-defeating attitudes and behaviors that make them experience anxiety and uncomfortable lives. ACOA's need to survive their childhood by emotionally disconnecting and being detached. Unfortunately, when these self-defeating attitudes and behaviors are not addressed, they persist into adulthood and are automatically reinforced subconsciously. These attitudes and behaviors need to be exposed so they can be challenged and changed.

Self-defeating Attitudes:

  • I feel I'm alone in this world.
  • No one really understands me or even cares to.
  • I feel like I'm HUMPTY DUMPTY. No one can help me.
  • I must be perfect or I'm nothing.
  • Home is scary, unsafe, and uncomfortable. I feel trapped.
  • I'm emotionally disconnected and there is nothing I can do about it.
  • I can't relax.
  • I have extreme difficulty making decisions.
  • If you make me feel guilty or scared I will do what you want me to do.
  • The rules of life are very confusing.
  • My expectations will turn into disappointments.
  • I don't know what I want.
  • I'm unlovable.
  • I don't know how to have fun.
  • I must keep peace at all costs.

Self-defeating Behaviors:

  • Tolerate people who are abusive and/or insensitive to you.
  • Say "yes" when you want to say "no."
  • Mind read negatively.
  • Over explain for doing what you want to do.
  • Avoid making decisions by saying "I don't care", "I don't know" or "whatever."
  • Put the needs of others over yourself.
  • Give into people whose guilt provoke or intimidate you.
  • Marry impulsively.
  • Compare your negatives with other's positives.
  • Over-commit and overwhelm yourself to the point that you feel like you are going crazy.
  • Please everyone but yourself.
  • Be nice to the people that abuse you and abusive to the ones who are nice to you.
  • Overreacts or under reacts.
  • Trust people immediately.
  • Never ask for what you want and be resentful when you don't get it.

Healthy Attitudes:

  • I am free to be me.
  • If you really knew me, you would like me.
  • Whatever I do is good enough.
  • Home is safe and comfortable for me.
  • I do things that make me happy.
  • I do not tolerate abusive people.
  • I am unique in a very positive way.
  • I am lovable and likable.
  • I know what I want to do and I will get it or do it.
  • I make decisions on what is best for me.
  • Life is wonderful.
  • I have people in my life who really care about me.
  • I can do anything I want if I put my mind to it.
  • Life is to be enjoyed.
  • I strive for happiness, not perfection.
  • I look forward to doing fun things.
  • Feeling guilty means I am doing something for myself.
  • I have all the power to do what I want when I want it.
  • I have changed my fear focus to a fun focus.


Recovery Behaviors:

  • Look at guilt as doing something for yourself.
  • Accept and absorb compliments.
  • Set boundaries with consequences.
  • Check things out, avoid mind-reading.
  • Break these 3 unhealthy rules: Don't talk, Don't trust, Don't feel.
  • Forgive yourself. You can't undo the past but you can add on your positives to your past daily.
  • Make decisions. Claim your power.
  • Learn at least 5 ways to say "no."
  • Spend less time with the negative people in your life.
  • Identify and let go of resentments.
  • Ask people to do things for you.
  • Find nurturing people and make them your friends.
  • Learn how to emotionally connect.
  • Be fun-focused vs. fear-focused.


We provide services to residents from the following cities: Lombard, Villa Park, Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, Elhmhust, Oakbrook, Oakbrook Terrace, Lisle, Wheaton, Westmont, Hinsdale, Naperville, Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Woodridge, Willowbrook, Clarendon Hills, Chicago, DuPage County, Cook County, Will County, Kane County, Lake County IL in addition to other communities.

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