Codependency Journal

Postby sunrisewatcher » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:09 am

04-Oct-17

I'm pleased to have recently learned what codependency is.

I had heard the word before, and researched it. What I read suggested that codependency is limited to families hurt by alcoholism (and other addictions).

But that information was quite incorrect. At root, codependency is not about addiction. I will explain this in a future post.

I believe I am, and everyone in the house I grew up in, are codependent.

In this public journal I will: hold myself accountable for my own growth and healing; accept guidance from this community; and, by sharing my vulnerability, hopefully help others.

Best,

sunrisewatcher
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#1

Postby sunrisewatcher » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:47 am

05-Oct-17

Codependency Reading List

My goal is to have healthier habits in my daily life, and I'll start by learning from these books/resources:

* The CoDA big blue book 1997
* Local CoDA meetings (i.e., 12 step program)
* Boundaries Cloud & Townsend
* Where to Draw the Line Anne Katherine
* EQ 2.0 Bradberry & Greaves
* Six Pillars of Self Esteem & Honouring the Self Nathan Branden
* Safe People Cloud & Townsend
* It's the Way You Say It Carol Fleming

Already finished (and will share my learnings in a future post)
* Boundaries for Codependents Rokelle Lerner

*****
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#2

Postby sunrisewatcher » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:50 am

07-Oct-17

Insightful comment from Boundaries for Codependents by Rokelle Lerner.

I've changed over the references from 'alcoholic' to just 'dysfunctional'.

"In many [dysfunctional] families ... [a]ttention is focused on the [dysfunctional] parent, not the children, who learn to match what they feel to the mood swings of the parent.
...
When children focus on their parents and neglect themselves, they never develop the inner resources that help them to know how to feel, think, or behave in a given situation.

[These children] may come to view ... separat[e emotions] as disloyalty.

If Mom is angry, the children assume they have caused it. If Mom is depressed, the children are depressed and tiptoe around the house. These children may never clearly find their emotional boundaries and have difficuty deciding whose feelings belong to whom."

This describes me & my childhood, and my goal now is to sort myself out.

I wouldn't want my own children to go through the same.

I hope these posts will not be about wallowing in my past. I need to find ways to understand, heal myself and move on.
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#3

Postby sunrisewatcher » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:39 pm

08-Oct-17

I went to my first CoDA (Codependents Annonymous) meeting.

Few observations:
1. It felt really good to be there.
2. Just like Disco Stu, the 12 Step programs do not advertise
3. CoDA walks a fine line.

Without further ado I will dive in and tell you more!

1. It felt really good to be there.

Identifying your patterns is helpful. :D
They provided a lot of written material, which I found extremely applicable to my own life. :shock:
Other members of the group spoke of their experiences, which turned out to be similar to mine. :o
I bumbled my way through a few sentences of self-conscious intellectualising (a coping strategy). Maybe next time I will actually manage to share correctly - in sharing, we are meant to identify and share our feelings (this is very hard for codependents to do).

(OK. Let's practice this skill now, from the comfort and safety of home! How did I really feel?)
Answer: I felt Angry :x that I didn't get access to this help earlier in my life! Frustrated!

There, I said it! I was angry!!!!!!!!!! Even if no one else likes or approves of my anger, even if my anger may be an inconvenience to the people around me, or hurt or offend them, makes no difference. I am me and me was angry!!!! The Anger was there and I can identify it as MINE. Me, myself, I, I felt angry!!!! Angry!!! ROAR!!!!!! (Take that Mum and Dad!!!! Baby child is angry!!!) Angry Angry Angry!!!!!

Holy smokes that felt good. Like a fresh breeze through my upper body. Geez... I should feel my feelings more often. That felt very (physically) healthy! I think I will sleep well tonight.

OK, moving on.

2. Just like Disco Stu, the 12 Step programs do not advertise
As noted above, in light of how much value I got out of the meeting (a lot) and the fact it cost me $8 (incl parking) versus the $$$hundreds, maybe thousands that I have already spent on therapy and self help books... in light of all that... I afterwards felt a little angry :x that it had taken me such a long time to find this group and identify myself as codependent.

I will write a proper "What is codependency" post soon. It needs to be a stand-alone post.

But back to CoDA being such a well-kept secret. Well, they can't advertise, partner up, or self-represent in the media, because it's against thier rules. OK, fine. Here are my gripes beyond that.

CoDA, AA and all the other 12 step programs are not respected by mainstream medicine and mainstream media. They are:

    1) disrespected and ridiculed in TV and movies. The message is always "12 steps is for losers" or an almost-joke "What's worse than having your life ruined by alcoholism? Being sent to daggy, dorky AA meetings!"

    2) not EVER mentioned by psychologists and psychiatrists as a potentially helpful option. They'll sell you SSRIs, upper, downers, EMDR, brain electrocution, and years of expensive talk therapy, but they will not mention the established, low-cost support group that meets every week in your local area.

(I feel Angry angry angry!!!!!!)

3. CoDA walks a fine line.

There's an almost contradiction in the CoDA literature.

On the one hand, you're told you need CoDA.
(You are powerless without CoDA and your life is unmanageable; CoDA will bring a "miraculous change" to your life; you should attend 2-3 meetings per week; at the start you should attend for 6 weeks in rapid succession; you need to work the steps; the steps will allow you to realise a new joy, acceptance and serentity; you say aloud: "we rely on the 12 steps ... for knowledge and wisdom"; you need to get a sponsor; you need to share your phone number with group members; you need to bring a gold coin to every meeting; you need to chair meetings in future; be a sponsor in future; etc etc.)

On the other hand, you are empowered as a self-reliant individual.
(Affirmations you learn include "I am an adult, capable of taking care of my needs. Therefore I can never really be abandoned."; "I remain my own person"; "I make my own decisions and I approve my own behaviours."; "I reach out for help when it's necessary"; "I create safety in my life"; "I seek my own approval first.")

This is not an inconstency per se. And CoDA simply must both of those perspectives so that everyone can relate to the program - no matter their cultural background or their progress along the 'path' of recovery.

I am very alert to inconsistencies (because I have trust issues, and I value others' feelings and opinions more highly than my own, and because of skills I've needed in some jobs I've had). Also, I've learned that some "salvation" groups start all nice... they want you to "surrender" your old life... and then they end up all cult-ish. I will try to keep an eye out for that with CoDA.

It's simply something I will monitor in future meetings and literature. Staying open minded at this stage.


I will let you know how it goes!
Cheers.
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#4

Postby sunrisewatcher » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:59 am

16-Oct-17

More observations on CoDA meetings...

There are plenty of active alcoholics, overeaters, etc in these meetings.
I think you become like the people you hang out with.
Not sure CoDA for me.

Their literature is fantastic, however. Let's give it a few more weeks and see how it goes.
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#5

Postby sunrisewatcher » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:45 am

20-Oct-17

Continuing to attend meetings and see benefits. :-)
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#6

Postby sunrisewatcher » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:54 am

20-Oct-17
As part of my recovery, have made a promise to myself that I won't date or have sex for 12 months.

(Obviously, I am instead going to have LOADS of sex with myself. ;-)
Bought myself some beautiful new bedsheets and essential oils to celebrate. WOOT!)
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#7

Postby sunrisewatcher » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:29 am

22-Oct-17

CoDA is useful. I highly recommend it.

Going to CoDA forces you to be humble. That has not traditionally been my speciality, but I am willing to learn and improve.
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#8

Postby sunrisewatcher » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:48 pm

23-Oct-17

In CoDA, I'm gradually learning...
- how to listen
- to be less judgemental (At age 34, lightbulb moment, I FINALLY get it)
- how to slow down & just be.
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#9

Postby sunrisewatcher » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:05 am

30-Oct-17

The book Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood is teaching me a great deal.

Still going to CoDA meetings. At CoDA, I practice clear and simple speech.

Going deep inside myself is painful, shaming and humiliating. And yet, I do it.

Journalling, crying, stroking my velvet pillow, and drinking too many cups of tea.
I can get through this.
I can face the facts.
I want a future that's better than my past, and I am willing to work for it.

My lifestyle:
Work is just work. It's for money, not to shore up my identity. I drink very little coffee, do very little skin picking, less people-pleasing, and have more boundaries in place.

I have more joy, more acceptance, and definitely no men for a good, long while!!!!

Toodles :D
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#10

Postby sunrisewatcher » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:28 am

Whoa! Can't take too much more of CoDA. The meetings are SO repetitive, reminds me of the monks from 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail.'

And there's SO much pressure to do service! Argh.

Life's too precious and short to get involved in their cult-like organisation.

I've gone in, I've got the learnings, and now I'm going to get OUT of CoDA.

Many helpful resources for me to continue with individual work, such as Robert Firestone (he's wonderful for me right now), Pia Mellody, Melody Beattie, John Bradshaw, Robert Burney, Alice Miller, Daniel Mackler (with a large grain of salt), Theun Mares, Harriot Goldhor Lerner, and more.

Not to mention meditation, dream analysis, and the entire spiritual and esoteric tradition.

And my own actions in the world! The best teacher of all :)

Thanks for everything CoDA. It's been swell, you helped me to grow, but now it's time to move ON.

xox
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#11

Postby sunrisewatcher » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:51 pm

On second thoughts, I still have more to give and receive with CoDA. simply getting wiser about how i do it, and how i allow myself to feel about it.

Also, getting benefit from another fellowship, called ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics & Dysfunctional Families). it's helpful, too.

I met a wise fellow traveller who told me, don't worry about sponsorship and service. heal at your own pace. take your time. use the fellowships. don't let them use you.

i liked that advice.

This journey I'm on. It has many names. They include Purification, Recovery, Shadow Work, Inner Child Work, Long Dark Night of the Soul.

This journey is EXCRUCIATING.

I am tearing away layer after layer of my false self, egotism, denials, defences, etc.

Also facing some hard truths about some people close to me.

These truths about my life and my self are HURTING me.

I feel like I've been turned inside out. Like an overripe fruit splitting open. All the mess and smells exposed to the light of day.

I realise this is a cleansing process. I'm becoming a healthier person.

To change up the imagery, I'm taking that journey from caterpillar into butterfly. A great journey to take.

But in the meantime, here I am today - formless, directionless sludgy goo - hiding away from the world in a chrysalis. Feeling overwhelmed and confused.

And this reminds me:

"Tears may last for the night. But joy comes in the morning."

Time to get 8 hours of refreshing sleep. Goodnight and God bless. xox
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