Adult Children of Alcoholics officially was founded in 1978 in New York. Tony A. is considered the primary founder along with members of an Alateen group. Alateen is a Twelve Step program for children of alcoholic parents. Alateen is sponsored by Al-Anon.
The Alateens and Tony formed a specially focused meeting that broke away from Al-Anon and became the first ACA group. The new group, Generations, focused on recovering from the effects of being raised in a dysfunctional family rather than the Al-anon focus of being powerless over alcohol.
Tony is the author of the Laundry List, the first piece of ACA literature. The Laundry List is a list of 14 characteristics or common behaviors that detail the adult child personality. Tony also developed the ACA Solution of attending meetings, focusing on ourselves, working the Steps and feeling our feelings. Tony died in April 2004 at the age of 77.