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In this episode, Chip and Veronica discuss Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA). ACOAs have particular characteristics that they carry into adulthood, particularly in their intimate relationships.
Adult Children Of Alcoholics (ACOA) have certain behaviors and a way of seeing and experiencing the world as an adult because they grew up with an alcoholic parent. Some of the characteristics they may exhibit may include: having difficulty following a project through from beginning to end, taking themselves very seriously, judging themselves without mercy, overreacting to changes outside of their control, approval-seeking, loyal to a fault, just to name a few. But the biggest way this shows up is in intimate relationships. We’ll be diving into our stories and stories of people close to us in this episode.
“We’re all just walking around with our childhood wounds.” – Veronica Valli
Like the mother who promised to take her two sons to Disney World, gets stone drunk in the departure lounge at the airport, falls off her barstool and cracks her head on a table, canceling the trip. As those kinds of experiences accumulate, you can imagine what that would do to those children who grow up to be ACOA. One of the sons grew up and is my husband. He’s done a lot of work on himself, but it’s not been an easy process for him to deal with that baggage. Listen to this episode because we’re sharing stories that every ACOA can relate to and we’re also talking about the methods that really work for ACOAs to process and deal with the baggage and unique characteristics.
“Putting other people first is how they operate, and it’s not gonna function well in a romantic relationship.” – Veronica Valli
ACOAs have a very high sense of isolation and loneliness. Because they’ve been with the alcoholic parent for so long, they’ve grown to accept coping with the difficult feelings and in difficult situations. But that’s not a badge of honor. Being isolated is not a place to be, so you need to surround yourself with good support. Put your hand up, be vulnerable, and get help because otherwise, no one will know because you hide it so well.
Get around a group
A huge source of support for ACOAs is to join a community. Knowing that you’re not a freak, you’re not alone and there are people like you, who’ve had similar experiences is huge. In that group setting, around people you can be your full self around, you’ll begin to heal.
Be more emotionally available
More men are stepping up and being present in their children’s lives. It might be a sign of the times we’re in that men today recognize the power and responsibility they hold in the home and don’t want to make the same mistakes their fathers made. More dads need to step up. A part of that presence is opening up yourself to being vulnerable to emotion. We can’t teach our children to be emotionally available if we are afraid to do so. Expand your emotional vocabulary and share more bout how you’re feeling.
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