Like many before me, I crawled into my first CODA meeting on my knees. I had struggled with ‘life’ for many years, but somehow managed to ‘get by’. However in the autumn of 2014, something occurred. It was, in truth, nothing new — another relationship failure. Then – a strange thought came into my head. Codependency. I had no idea, at the time, what on earth that meant. I now interpret it as my higher power telling me my issues were not to be solved on my own. I didn’t even know what codependency was – there was no alcohol abuse in my family, I didn’t date alcoholics, I wasn’t a woman in peril. What the f**k was wrong with me? And yet I was at the end of my rope.
I googled frantically and eventually turned up to a meeting. There I found a bunch of people (ha! – a ‘bunch of people’ who were to eventually help me turn my life around…) who spoke in weird phrases and repeated things over and over. I was in a daze. I remembered hearing shares of hope and life-changes. At that time, I thought that was for others not me. And I was scared. I was terrified of people. Of speaking out. Of being seen. It was the most soul-shredding experience. But. Somehow one phrase stuck. Keep on coming. That was it. So I just did that. For a few months I kept on coming – still not knowing what was going on. Not seeing why. Not seeing the point. Repeating the phrases and mantras like a trouper but having no idea what they meant. I read books. I tried to ‘let go’ and ‘let god’… And as for Higher Power – well, what the hell was that? This is insane, came into my head more than once. But, I just did as I was told as I couldn’t think of anything else. I kept coming. All my usual life rescues had failed me. One meeting, some two months later, I heard something that I finally realized was also my experience. Something I had thought was ‘normal’ but now realized through the words and tears of someone else that it really wasn’t normal at all. Slowly more got in to my soul through the fog of despair. And I just kept coming. It wasn’t an easy ride, but CODA brought me to realize some fundamental truths about myself, and my life that I had never even considered. It was painful. Heart-breaking. And yet I still kept coming. I bought books on codependency and read about myself in every line, on every page.
I am a mere newbie when it comes to recovery – but in two very short (or very long depending on how you view it) years my life is unrecognizable. For the better. I still have to work very hard to keep myself on track but the ‘rewards’ (what IS the right word?) are beyond my scope of understanding. I have what I always wanted, a good job, to be home and comfortable, to not need another person to complete me. I am sad often, I am angry often, I cry. Often. But I now have something that I never thought I would have. Gratitude. Very slowly, like smoke entering a room, gratitude crept into the room when I wasn’t looking.
I will be forever grateful to the group of people whose support and sharing gave me this new start in life. And for my Higher Power who didn’t give up on me. As a lapsed Catholic born to Italian parents, religion was a very sticky subject. I had rejected a god I was scared of. I began to ask myself ‘what if it doesn’t need to be that way?’ A quiet voice to begin with – then in certain situations it whispered to me again. What if it doesnt need to be that way? What if there is a different way of doing things, of thinking about things, of feeling about things. And slowly I tentatively started to listen to that question – then, miracle of miracles – I started to think of other options to my ‘normal’ behaviour. It’s not easy my friends. Not easy. But it is beyond life-changingly worth it. Beyond imagining. I still feel that it will be whisked away from me, and the panic is almost overwhelming. But some how I hang on – while letting go! Strange feeling.
I say Keep on Coming. Keep Coming Back, It Works if You Work It. The phrase that not only saved my life, but changed it so that I can now live it. Blessings for 2017
RB – 1/1/17