Seventh CoDA Birthday
It has been said that every 7 years we have a totally new body. All cells have died and replicated into new ones. Likewise, I feel my life has gone through a miraculous change from chaos, pain and grief to a more ordered, peaceful and hopeful perspective over the past 7 years. I had hit a wall 30 years ago when my son was chemically dependent and all of us went to treatment. I continued to attend Al-Anon after leaving treatment, then found CoDA shortly after. When I read those “characteristics,” I truly saw myself so clearly, as never before. My vision was so “other focused” that I did not know myself. I was a codependent chameleon! I attended meetings for 3 years and decided I was ready to practice on my own. My life went smoothly for about 10 years, when I realized I needed to end my 35 year marriage. I was literally dying inside from emotional bullying and neglect. I was so alone in that marriage. I felt invisible. With counseling, medications and a strong relationship with God, I was able to make the leap to a new life.
After a year I began dating again, mostly not very healthy people. In late 2002, I met John at a Christian Singles group and we began to date. He was a very hurt person, but smart, attractive and available. We married 3 years later. The relationship began to slide that first week as we put our lives together. I was so sure that my love for him would heal all the wounds of his childhood and adult life. How wrong I was! He did not want to look at any issues. We went to counseling for a short while, with the verdict being we were very poorly matched. We both decided to do our best and go forward. When John lost his prestigious job in 2007, our relationship was more
challenged. After a year he found a new position that was an excellent opportunity, but to him it was not good enough. I also had a precarious health issue at this time that affected our emotional and sexual connections. In May of 2009, I began seeking divorce, which sent John into despair and rage at me. At this time, I saw a counselor because my attorney thought I was depressed. I was not—I was in the depths of codependency! I knew where I needed to go: A CoDA MEETING! That week I found two meetings and attended both over the summer. I saw my relapse before my eyes! For a year I cried every day as I grieved my losses: my first marriage, the death of my mother 4 months after that divorce and now a second lost marriage. I heard the Steps and Traditions, but did not really begin working the Steps until a year later. I simply grieved and laid ground work for recovery. Over the next 6 years I found the following gifts:
? I learned to take time for me, to care for and know myself.
? I learned to listen to others and see how they were growing and changing.
? I learned about “bargaining with God” and finally surrendering
? I learned “to wait” as a productive option
? I learned to make changes and choices for my best recovery
? I saw the power of the group with a common purpose
? I became more willing to accept others just as they were
? I learned about “progress, not perfection”
? I learned how to actually study and apply the Steps, one at a time
? I learned about and practiced making amends
? I learned about self-acceptance, being human, making mistakes
? I learned about a Loving Higher Power that is always with me.
? I learned about living “In this Moment”, one day at a time
? I learned to treasure and respect CoDA literature and format
? I found myself wanting to do service and help other codependents
? I found the peace and hope that a God Box can bring. And answers beyond my thinking and logic!!
? I found myself amazed at the growth in my children when I do not enable them, but let them make choices and experience the results.
In final, I feel as if I am being retooled to experience a more peaceful, hopeful life. These codependent behaviors are deeply rooted but can be changed, “One Step at a Time.” I have had major issues during this recovery time, but I found new ways to respond and work with them. I am just a work in progress! There is a “Power Greater than Ourselves” that offers direction and comfort. I am never alone and I can have help with the choices I need to make. I am so grateful for the CoDA Fellowship. I could not have written these words and experienced these changes on my own.Thank you all for listening. May we take with us always the hope and serenity of recovery.