Codependency and My Dog
When my dog wags his tail, I smile. He is happy. So, I’m happy. Often, all I have to do is walk into the living room and I’ll hear the thumping of his tail on the hardwood floor. It is his visible and audible sign that he is happy to see me. When I return home from work and he runs over to greet me, I enjoy that feeling of being needed. I am codependent with my dog and I’m OK with that.
I don’t go to codependents anonymous because I am codependent. As the CoDA blue book says, we are all a little bit codependent. I go to CoDA because, after many years, I found myself at Step 1. With my codependency to those around me, I finally recognized I was powerless. My life was unmanageable. I hit bottom.
I have had those close to me ask me why I need a 12 step group for codependency if we are all a little codependent. Some have said that codependency is just normal. For me, I recognize that I can emotionally handle some codependency in my life, especially some codependency with my dog. Yet, when it comes to codependency with people close to me, I easily spiral out of control. Sometimes, we both spiral out of control in a double helix downward spiral, feeding off one another. I couldn’t go on that way. I needed to make changes.
I have often wished that people had tails that wagged. That way, I would have some clear cues that they like me and are thinking positive thoughts about me. Years ago, when I first entered recovery, a sponsor said to me, "What people think about you is none of your business." That saying really irritated me. It took me years to understand what he meant. Through CoDA, through working the steps, I have found a piece of that inner acceptance. I have found a willingness to like myself, to feel confident, to have an opinion different than those around me or even to have an opinion that others close to me may not like. I love that feeling of boundaries. It is my breath of fresh air.
Chris S 12/4/15