I came to CoDA at 26 after a tumultuous and devastating break-up (I had only barely begun to chip away at my denial involving my dysfunctional family and lonely childhood at this time). I was desperate for some relief, so I found a meeting in my town. I thought it would be a place where I could talk about how terrible my cheating partners were, or how my alcoholic mother was to blame for my difficulties in relationships. I felt I was simply a victim to these people and circumstances, and I wanted to be justified and comforted. But, as we all know, I was SO wrong.
Having to confront that mistake in my thinking saved my life.
Six years ago, I did what some people do their first few meetings: listened silently and cried, cried, cried. The emotions that arose realizing that 1) I BELONGED THERE (yay!/poor me) and that 2) I PLAYED A BIG PART (oh no…I’m at fault?) in the scenarios that caused me so much suffering was a difficult truth to see. It was in that truth, however, and in exploring it head-on and in the supportive arms of CoDA that I was brought above the surface of my drowning. The truth does set you free, even if at first that truth must destroy the very foundation of the stories you’ve been telling yourself all along.
I had to see that for things to change in my life, I had to change. There were many emotions to feel and grieve along the way, of course; recovery is hard, hard, hard, gnarly hard work. It was only with the wisdom and tools CoDA provided that I was able to not only survive, but begin to create a life where my happiness was at the center. And there is no difficulty too great, for me, to keep me from seeking that. The journey to recovery is lifelong, and when you think you’ve learned a lesson, another layer reveals itself. I am thankful for the first meeting I attended, for the people who’ve made me feel welcome and listened to my emotional and somewhat scattered sharing. It is one of the few places I feel completely seen and fully understood, free to touch on wounds I talk about with few. No matter what I am going through, there is a real freedom in sharing my story to people who really get it.
The Serenity Prayer is one of the only prayers I say, and it remains a salve in dark times. I still, of course, suffer from the want to control or manipulate situations. My codependent urges haven’t been magically erased with what I’ve learned. CoDA helped me to challenge my natural impulse. To pause when I’m triggered and respond in a way that helps me towards my ultimate goal: to live a happy, healthy, whole life. It is mindfulness work. It is some of the only work that matters, to learn to love myself, fully. Without CoDA to help me see these patterns, and from where they originated, and how to gradually become less burdened by them, I know my life would not have the light and wisdom I carry now.
MM – 7/17/19