In Adium 0.54 we changed the way Adium communicated with its protocol plugins. The change was designed to prevent Adium from becoming unresponsive or beach-balling when the protocol plugin was busy (such as while connecting or disconnecting) and when the internet connection was congested or slow.
Unfortunately these changes caused some users to experience a lot of instability. Adium 0.56 will temporarily go back to the old method of communicating with the protocol plugins. This means that it may feel as if responsiveness has decreased (Especially during heavy traffic or on slow network connections). We hope to resolve the crashes in our new code soon and re-include it for a future release. 🙂