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Why I Left ACOA: And Healed On My Own

Why I Left ACOA: And Healed On My Own

That night, it was time to leave.

The main speaker had just proposed something ridiculous.

As a result, I changed my mind about the meetings. It was too bad as I was looking for answers about my drinking habits and life patterns. It was what had brought me to the Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings in the first place.

I was not an alcoholic. Maybe I had shared some of the common alcoholic traits, sure. I drank. But, nothing like my aunt, uncle, former step-father and sister. Heck no. There had been similar habits. But not those of a fall-down, blacking out, alcoholic.

Sure, there were some patterns: like drinking, hanging out with drinkers and low self-esteem. My habits almost fit the bill. So, I wanted to make sure that I was not one of those boozers. This led me to reading books like Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Woetitz’s and It Will Never Happen to Me! by Claudia Black. It sparked my interest and led me to the study of Adult Children Of Alcoholics.

So, I visited a few of the ACOA meetings. Here, we could talk about our experiences. And each week, learn a bit about the different characteristics of ACOAs, like fear of authority, people-pleasing and low self-esteem. There were also specific personalities like: the enabler, the hero, the rescuer, the scapegoat, the lost child and the mascot. (Man I hope that I was not the last two.) It became a game of what-kind-of ACOA-am-I and why-I-am-messed-up.

Maybe it explained why so many people like (approval-seeking) sales people and actors are so good at what they do? Maybe some of these imperfections are what made people ambitious?

At first, ACOA meetings felt great. Many of us felt accepted and could talk about our problems. Sort of like a bunch of old guys moaning and groaning about their aches and pains.

But, then the pivot point came for me. One of the group leaders, who always wore a camouflaged bandana, insisted that we have a picnic.

“And,” he had added. “We all come dressed as children so we can relive our childhoods.”

O.K. this was going strange really fast. Then and there, I realised, while the meetings never really explained how to get out of the rut! It became apparent that many of the members LIKED hanging around and talking about their problems. That was my cue to leave.

I left and learned to recover quicker on my own.

Firstly, I re-focused on my nutrition, fitness and meditations to strengthen my mind and body. I started taking college courses and met different people. Best of all, I filled my mind with better thoughts and material than the old childhood programs of not being good enough or “you’ll never do that.” I changed jobs and studied at journalism at college. To fill those empty moments, I kept up my running and martial arts training. Later, I met and I dated a nice gal.

Yes, the lure of the old drinking crowd was always there. But, I had dozens of other things to do that was more fulfilling and definitely cheaper in the long run. It just took effort and imagination.

If you are in this rut, start taking action to reduce your alcohol craving. First, feed yourself properly, exercise and keep your mind active. Follow a high protein, low grain, low sugar diet and take extra B vitamins. This will minimize the alcohol damage and allow you to think more clearly. That is what got me out of the drinking routine and gaining 40 pounds of muscle.

Ever see drinkers on construction sites and offices? They often arrive late or barely on time, cigarette and coffee in hand. Breakfast is non-existent and lunch and dinner are usually fast food . Those habits have low blood sugar and malnutrition written all over it and make it harder to leave the drinking routine.

When you are well-nourished, your mind and body are more energized and able to resist alcohol cravings than if you are malnourished.

My book: Reduce Your Alcohol Craving can show you how to eat and get the right nutrients to protect yourself against the effects of alcohol and keep you energized throughout the day.

In Health.

Coach Doug

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