Fourteen years after I left my first marriage with my two young children, because he had once again asked me to stop focusing on getting MY college degree and go back to work, I knew I had hit my bottom, especially after I had been accepted into a prestigious local university. At that time in 1987, a popular book about Women getting into unhealthy relationships had been published and I was attending a group with other women looking at our codependency issues, singing to myself "I haven’t got time for the pain…" Little did I know.
In 1988, my introduction was into 12 step meetings for other dysfunction. Eventually, three years ago I found my way to a women’s CoDA meeting but not before I had another failed marriage. Later I was able to see my part: I blamed him for all our failures as he was my ‘fixer upper project.’ I knew then that this was the core to all my wounds from childhood that I continued to carry with me with devastating effects on many of my personal and professional relationships. Focusing on others’ and having the power to tell them what to do became a professional role I excelled at….the need to be right and to control outcome. How it played out in my professional life brought great ego satisfaction but how it played out in my personal life, i.e.. husband #2, was another divorce. He had his own abusive issues towards me for which I practiced recovery skills and good boundaries. I still wanted to focus on him, fix him, so I wouldn’t have to focus on me. And I didn’t love myself enough to leave sooner. I still have trauma responses from being afraid of him at night and continue to have sleep issues eight years later.
Being single and with children launched, now I notice how I continue in such subtle ways to focus in an unhealthy manner on myself…I can’t fix me fast enough at times. I have learned to be patient, kind, tolerant, forgiving, unconditionally loving to myself and others, and to ask for help from my community of recovering sisters. I feel deep gratitude for this program that has brought me ‘home to myself’ with the conscious daily contact with the God of my understanding. In service, I have found I can love and care for others through sponsorship, meeting support through work and attendance, and to carry the message of healing from fear, worry, and control to a sense of inner peace and true freedom. That scared little girl no longer believes she is a mistake when she makes a mistake. I have gained more emotional maturity through being honest and vulnerable in the CoDA Recovery program.
Paddy Rose 11/15
Paddy’s Story 1-26-16