For one, the label "Adult Children of Alcoholics" feels left-over from the 1970s. As terminology, it feels dated. Plus, it's a term created by and passed down from psychologists. I don't have anything against psychologist, not in the least actually, but — having my condition being named by a doctor is one thing; being self-named is more empowering.
For another thing, it's a confusing label. "Adult Child." Who's the adult? Who is the child? Am I a childlike adult, or am I a grown-up child (old, but immature?) or what? Why not just plain Child of Alcoholics, rather than Adult Child, since no matter what age I am, I am still the child of an alcoholic? There isn't aren't secondary categories for Infant Children of Alcoholics, Teenage Child of Alcoholics, Middle Age Children of Alcoholics, or Elderly Children of Alcoholics. It seems overly confusing, particularly when it's the adults who raised us who're the child like ones. "Children of Childlike Adults" is more apt.
Is crapping on about the phrase "Adult Children of Alcoholics" too nit-picky of me? Am I obsessing? Is this a distraction from other, more important musings?
Maybe it's because I am fascinated by language and linguistics, and definitely, I'm obsessive about language — that I've zeroed in on the ACA/ACoA moniker.
Or, am I on to something here?
The central reason I dislike the label "Adult Child of Alcoholics" is because it defines me in the context of another person. It's me + another. Adult Child (me) + an Alcoholic (them). And being defined in terms of others is exactly what I'm trying to transform away from. Please don't give me a label that forever defines me in the context of another — in this sense, the term Adult Children of Alcoholics is itself co-dependent!
When someone's Diabetic or has MS, they are labeled something that belongs just to them, not also to someone else. In our case, our "condition" belongs to us as much as to someone else. Yet, we're the ones dealing with it – on our own.
The label "Adult Children of Alcoholics" portrays us a bit as second-class citizen in the juxtaposition: adult child of an alcoholic. Without the alcoholic, we're not defined. Our definition is anchored by the alcoholic.
So you can see why I have icky, itchy, creepy-crawly feelings about the label. The label has co-dependence embedded within it.
I haven't yet come up with a more, us-oriented label.
But, I have some ideas:
Selfescent (a person in the process of cultivating one's self. -escent is a Latin suffix that means "in the process of".)
Wild Human or just Ferocious (someone not domesticated; feroci- is the Latin prefix for "untamed" or "wild," like…a child not truly raised by a parent.)
Pre-Adult (pre- is Latin for before.)
Others-Focused Individual (well, maybe not – I think this one has the problem of being suggestive that other people are involved…)
I could keep going, but for the moment I'm really liking Selfescent.
(Where's the copyright center?)