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  • Writer's pictureMary Cassidy

Mental Toughness, Adult Children of Alcoholics & Committing to #75Hard

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

Establishing new habits has been tricky in the past, especially as an ACOA (adult child of an alcoholic.) #acoa I'd start something with passion and excitement and then fizzle out when it was too hard, I was too distracted, or I lacked accountability. Then I remembered my heritage and the books I'd read on being an ACOA. The following character defaults are some of the fifteen that author Janet Wotitz, Ed.D cites in her book Adult Children of Alcoholics. They are common for children who grew up with alcoholism and then moved on into adulthood with a specific filter on the world. Here are her characteristics of ACOA's:

  • "Guess at what normal behavior is

  • Have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end

  • Lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth

  • Judge themselves without mercy

  • Have difficulty having fun

  • Take themselves very seriously

  • Have difficulty with intimate relationships

  • Overreact to changes over which they have no control

  • Constantly seek approval and affirmation

  • Feel that they're different from other people

  • Are super responsible or super irresponsible

  • Are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved

  • Are impulsive

  • People may tend to lock themselves in a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences.

  • A person's impulsivity can lead to confusion, self-loathing, and loss of control over their environment. In addition, the person spends an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess."

Reading the list I found on google, I admit to many of these defaults. Now, as a result of a lot of solitude this pandemic spring, I've taken an inventory and found that I need to drink water, I need consistent exercise, and I want to follow through on the keto/carnivore lifestyle. So, twenty days ago I started #75 Hard #75hard, a "transformative mental toughness program" that consists of daily to do items for 75 days in a row:

  • A progress selfie of your body

  • 10 pages of a non-fiction book read

  • 1 gallon of water consumed

  • Follow a food plan

  • No cheat meals or alcohol

  • 2 workout sessions of any variety, 45 minutes duration. 1 session HAS TO BE OUTSIDE no matter what.

This program is truly a mental toughness program. I thought I'd wimp out after a bit, but now that I'm 20 days in, I realize it's making me a better person. My focus is clear, and the structure of my daily to-do list is always apparent. My self-talk reduced by 100% and I have quiet in my head. #mindfulness. I've needed accountability and focus for a long while, but it became critical as I emerged from the sheltering-in-place experience of Covid 19. It turns out that I thrive on structure and #75 Hard has given me a way to build confidence from the inside out. I wasn't drinking water, I'd start a book and never finish it, I'm a keto/carnivore person but would fudge whenever emotion took control.

Reviewing the ACOA list above, I notice that I'm addressing many of the defaults with commitment to #75 Hard. It's a challenge between me and ME. And I'm winning.

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