Although I do not consider myself an expert in codependence, and I am not far enough along in my program to be a sponsor, I still feel an obligation to reach out to others who are going through the same suffering and experiences that I went through, to share my own experience, strength and limited wisdom.
One of the members of my Coda group is going through a difficult separation and divorce like I did, and discovering things about his relationships that are painful and can no longer hide in denial. His experiences and pain mirrored mine, and I have been periodically in touch with him and trying to reassure him that through the CoDA process, he would be a better human being and would find the answers that he sought.
With the holiday seasons, our emotions are much more strained, and I find that I can get grounded if I ask myself three questions:
What did I do today to take care of myself? I reflect and think about self-care, and if I did not do anything, what am I going to do? I could make program calls, read literature, talk to a friend, take a nap, retreat from the daily stressors and journal, or meditate, or exercise or take a long walk. I ask myself to come up with a list and do those things that I felt I could do, and acknowledge that I AM taking care of myself. I decide to do the right things just for today for myself.
The second question I ask is what did I do today in my relationships to “take the higher road?” It is easy to criticize your spouse, the people around myself, it is easy to find fault and blame others, but what did I do to “turn the other cheek,” be nice to someone, thank someone for some kindness, restrain from criticizing yourself or someone else? “Taking the Higher Road” and behaving beyond reproach in your affairs, practicing honesty, embodies the 12th step of CoDA. Keeping this in mind, I list the things that I did or could do to practice this step.
And finally, list what things am I grateful for? I had just gotten back from a medical mission to Cambodia and I am very aware of the benefits and blessings we enjoy in our Western culture that the poor do not enjoy in the Cambodia or other countries. I would point out we enjoy clean water, many of us have good paying jobs, we have cars and homes that we live in, we enjoy modern healthcare, we can purchase food and clothing and the things we need to live on. There is nothing like visiting a third world country and becoming aware of all of the benefits of where we live. It is useful to remember these things. When you are a member of CoDA, we have members who care about us. We all have things that we should remember to be grateful for.
Mike P. 02/06/2018