Co-NNections Recovery Stories

Listening to My Wants, Needs

My Surrender and CODA’s Help to Accept the Things I Cannot Change

We have a large family and I did not get a lot of attention as a child. I was a caregiver/babysitter for my sisters, a helper to mom and a “good girl”. I never knew that I could ask for what I needed or wanted. I did not think in those terms at all.

There was a lot of bickering and arguing especially when my parents were drinking. My dad worked all the time. When he came home that is all the table talk was about. Work. Complaining about this and that. My mom listened. The kids were not asked how their day went. Once we were done eating we did our own thing.

I thought growing up this way was normal in families. Until I went to my friends’ homes. There was another world. Moms who talked to you, baked cookies for you when you came home. There were interesting games and fathers who asked you how you were and took an interest in you. Siblings who talked at the table and shared ideas.  Wow, I liked this world.  It really felt safe.  My home did not feel safe or happy except the happiness I tried to make.

When I was in junior high my parents’ health deteriorated and our life fell apart. My dad met a nurse at the hospital and started a relationship.  My mom was devastated but she was locked in her own pain, sharing nothing with me.

I tried to protect everyone but did not understand all the things that were happening.

More often I would leave the family to find a boyfriend and become a part of many other people’s lives.

I moved away from home at 17 and never turned back.

Since that day I looked for love to meet my inner needs.  I married someone like my dad who was not intimate and who was very independent.

Today in CoDA I am learning how to: love myself, express my thoughts at meetings, forgive myself for not being able to care for all the lives I’ve been expected to rescue, and care for myself without feeling guilty.  I am listening to my wants and needs.  At least I am learning that I have them and that they are valid.

I have a lot of fear.  My fears are sometimes overwhelming.  My logical brain often gets overtaken by my emotions especially when I remember past regrets and they seep into the present.

I love that CoDA reminds me to be content, and reasonably happy in this life and to let go of past regrets.

My God is my new Father and I am in the process of forgiving my human father for betraying me and not being the father I needed and wanted.  I need to get angry and then let it go. Then I will be loving myself. Surrender to God is a good thing. Listening to other CoDA members brings reality checks, truth and light and hope.


Caron S.

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