Co-NNections Recovery Stories

Sarah 5-30-17

Dear Fellows,
My name is Sarah. I am an alcoholic. I am also a chocoholic, a controlaholic, an obsessaholic, a shopaholic, and lots of other little "holics" too!
My “isms” remain with me even after 11 years in AA. I had a nodding acquaintance with "this codependency stuff" but dismissed it as yet another issue I wanted to avoid. After all, I was told to KEEP IT SIMPLE!
As the years rolled in, I realized that my codependent behavior was in practically everything I stood for. My mind bargained and muddled with every situation from buying a pint of milk to organizing a family Christmas. I realized that I was incapable of seeing things for just what they were, a necessary pint of milk or a family gathering. I’d ask the kids how much milk they thought they would drink over the weekend, did they prefer skim or whole, and then I’d go off and buy almond milk, which no one but me likes. I needed to attach chains and ropes to everything in my life to stop me from sliding off the edge; I was evading taking responsibility by seeking completely inappropriate permission before doing anything. Needless to say, I drove my family insane and ended up separated.
In the past five years of separation, I have had to make decisions all by myself. Very scary for someone who couldn’t buy milk without my kids’ validation! I have had to organize my Christmas with the kids, alone, and make it work without letting self-pity and remorse ruin the season and without beating the goodness out of the day with indecision over what to cook. I have learned that a decision is a decision and that there are no "right" ones. The decision I choose to make IS the right one, and life will run its course accordingly. God is in charge, so long as I listen to reason and let my inner voice guide me, all will be well. I have learnt to trust myself. To stop looking for other people to validate everything I do. CO-dependent. Co means join, and I choose to be no longer joined to people, places and things when I have to make a decision. I am IN-dependent! It’s very scary at first and I do lapse into old codependent thinking, but I am getting better at recognizing it and not acting on it.
And you know what? I have a job now, I have a contented life, my children CHOOSE to be with me, and I feel empowered. I can be lonely but I don’t have to run to someone, or to chocolate or shopping to make me feel better—I know now that all these behaviors come with a price: A MASSIVE EMOTIONAL HANGOVER!! (Not to mention weight gain and financial loss!)
Recognizing my codependency on my ex-husband and how corrosive my codependent behavior was has been the key to freedom in so many ways. Today, if I need to know something, I can ask someone. But I check first to see if it’s just attention seeking or controlling. And then I smile………
Sarah L

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