I recently had someone ask me how I recovered from Codependency. I have to admit that I giggled, I honestly do not know that you fully “recover” from codependency, I think like any addiction you are in a constant state of recovery…. Therefore, I am a recovering codependent. I have worked my ass off to get to this point, but can honestly say that I struggle everyday (some more than others) to continue to become a healthier and ultimately happier person.
Here is where I started:
Counseling. It took my counselor saying “well that is because you are codependent” for me to even consider something was really, truly, wrong with how I was living. I was a victim, always, and did not know the first thing about taking responsibility for my part of my life (you know, ALL of it).
Education. I got educated. I threw myself into learning about codependency, and read every book I could find on the subject (some of which were chucked across the room repeatedly). I read Codependent No More, by Melody Beattie EVERY month. Every. Single. Month. And then I got a few more of her books and put them into rotation.
Dedication. I was dedicated to breaking my habits and learning how to be a healthy person. This, for me, meant I holed up in a room for a little over six months journaling, practicing healthy detachment, and learning all about ME, a person I had thoroughly ignored for years.
I celebrated myself. Every time I made a choice to not be codependent I took a moment, if not only a second, and said thanks to the Universe for allowing me to see clearer, healthier, and to make the better choice. There were a few times where I would amaze myself, sit back and say “You know, not that long ago I would have done this _________” I danced at those celebrations. It is truly rewarding and awe inspiring when you can reflect back and see how far you have come.
I got Nico Harper, man dog extraordinaire. About the time I started thinking I was healthy enough for a relationship I decided that having a pet would be the safer choice. So far, my relationship with my dog has proven to be life changing, life saving, and the best relationship I have had so far.
So, just like any good program the main steps are: admit you have a problem, admit that there is not a damn thing you can do, and then start learning healthier ways to handle said problem. For me that meant admitting I was codependent, accepting that my nature was and always will be to be codependent, and then I learned (am learning) ways to make healthier choices, less codependent choices.
It has not been easy; I still struggle every day, some more than others. Like a drunk, or a drug addict, I too long for some fix, some control over people or situations that I have no business trying to control… but now I know that. I know that is what I am trying to do, I know that I am chasing my next fix, and therefore I can now decide what is healthiest for ME. I find myself repeating, “This is not your problem, you cannot fix this for this person, and you have to let this go, let it work out on its own”. At first, it was hard to know what the difference was between being kind and being a caretaker, luckily stronger people than I have gone before me and written about it.
I guess the best advice I can give anyone with codependency is to get educated. I am a strong believer that once you know the truth, it is even that much harder to lie to yourself. Get honest, get real, take a deep breath and never stop moving forward. Let go. YOU can let go. You will be terrified at first, but it is not as scary as continuing to live your life the way you are now.
Books I suggest:
Codependent No More by Melody Beattie (if you are going to read anything on this list, this should be the first!!)
Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie
The New Codependency by Melody Beattie
The Grief Club by Melody Beattie
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant
Playing it by Heart by Melody Beattie
Trusting Life: Overcoming the Fear and Beliefs that Block Peace and Happiness (I LOVE this book)
3 thoughts on “Recovering (Always) from Codependency”
one of the things about recovery that I appreciate so much more than ever before is having an open mind or at the very least the willingness to open my mind to different possibilities and with that comes hope. I read in a ‘book’ that “we have RECOVERED from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” … I am many things, but hopeless isn’t one of them.
thank you for sharing openly and honestly.
great post and i agree heartily: we never “recover” we are in recovery. ever vigilant, ever ready and sometimes slipping. those old lures of being “needed” are old and deep and ever present. what we need to be, i often remind myself, is “needed” by ourselves.
i’m reading, “the four agreements” – i’ll write a post about it soon, and it’s great. short, a little woo-woo at times, but very good once you get to the meat. simply written, but so wise. thanks for the book recommendations too.