Select your language

Gość Niedzielny 20/2012 Gliwice’s supplement written by: Klaudia Cwołek

It is estimated that about 60% of Polish population have encountered some kind of dysfunction in their families, and about 40% can be classified as ACA – adult children of alcoholics.

On May 9th a meeting with Father Grzegorz Polok PhD, a research worker at the University of Economics in Katowice and academic Father, took place at the Educational Centre in Gliwice. Father Polok also works with people suffering from addictions and dysfunctions, and attends therapies. – It feels like vocation within the vocation – he said in an entry to the lecture “Adult children from dysfunctional families. Current ministry challenge”.

- Adults meet some difficulties in their lives that originate from their childhood experiences. In fact, if they do not straighten those matters out, the rest of their lives will be very hard – said Father Polok. He compared their situation to short and slanted trees that grow at the seaside, completely different from tall and svelte ones that grow in favourable conditions.

A child in a dysfunctional family, who does not satisfy their basic needs, learns three lessons: not to trust, not to speak, not to feel. And a child lives according to those rules to survive. Today we are talking not only about ACA, but also about ACDF – Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families, ACDP – Adult Children of Divorced Parents , or DDX with mixes of those dysfunctions. The lecturer depicted long list of behaviors typical for ACA/ACDF/ACDP, such as serious anxieties, very low self-esteem, fear of anger and fights, taking too much responsibility.

In a view of statistics the reality is very sad. In Poland 40 thousand divorces took place in year 2000, in year 2011 – over 72 thousand. In 2010 we’ve spent 40 billion PLN on alcohol (about 20 billion on beer), when domestic budget was 301,2 billion PLN. This shows the scale of the problem, and if it is not to be recognized and worked through (during a professional therapy),it will be passed on to the next generations. This is the snowball effect. If grandparents abused alcohol there is 3 times higher probability that a child becomes an alcoholic. In case of parents probability is 4 times higher. From 60 to 70 percent women from alcoholic families will marry an addicted person, and 50 percent ACA will not start a family.

There are already 7 million single people in Poland. – I am sure that most of them come from dysfunctional families, so now they balk at the idea of a family and say: no! – said Father Polok. He emphasizes that this doesn’t mean that the situation is hopeless. The most important thing for all kinds of dysfunctions is realization of the problem, going out of the shell and placing yourself within people that can understand bad emotions accumulated in childhood. Many things can be helpful: knowledge, other’s support, psychologist, group or individual therapy, community. But the key-stone is God’s unconditional love. But no one should wait for a miraculous recovery, they should look for a professional help. The lecture was a part of a bigger project, that can be read about on

Translated by Joanna Bonecka