Over three years ago I knew I needed help. I was not making it. Everything hurt. Everything. Of course, I had a great smile to put on all of it, and I was sure that I would be able to push through by pleasing and charming others. I figured I was just simply not meeting the right people and that those around me did not fit the ticket. They no longer seemed to fill the abyss of a codependent that simply wanted to be told he is loved—wanted to be told he is loved, cared for, praised, needed and to be told that over and over and over. Once manipulated out or demanded, the praise never filled that space. So, as they say, I needed more of what does not work. I needed more affirmation to make up for my self-loathing. I could get people to smile and get them to like me. That felt safe. It was sick. Really, it was not at all healthy. I was ill. I still am. Yet, I know it now. I found my way to a CoDA meeting and things began to change.
Through working the steps, working with a sponsor, whom I deeply thank, opening up to a higher power, I came to see that the abyss was part of me and that only I could soothe it. I feel a host of needs rising, I ask them what they want, and I sit with them. I sit alone with them. I try not to rescue as a way to avoid my own inventory and I try not to ask for a rescue. These things still happen, but more often than not, instead I pray, meditate, work the steps, and go to CoDA meetings where I say things that I would never say anywhere else. Never. For me, I experience this talking as moments of clearing out the clutter and detritus I have thrown into the abyss in hopes of filling it, and in doing so, I begin seeing the shape of the abyss, seeing what made it. I never thought I would experience the joy promised at the beginning of each meeting. I just wanted to be functional, I wanted to not hate myself. But, once I began to see the contours of the abyss—a mother who asked me to grow up much before my time, a father who had a very strong taste for drink and money troubles—I was able to begin closing it. Of course, there are parts I have yet to find, unexplored caverns. Recovery is continual, the steps are not “actually” sequential, and no inventory is complete, or completely processed. That “stuff” is with me and in me always. It is constitutive of the “I” that is Bob and it is the stuff I feel blessed to wash away. So, I am not recovered, I am always in recovery and that is recovery, which as it turns out, comes to present more joy than pain. So, I do experience the joy promised. I experience it almost daily. CoDA transformed me and allowed me a space in which I could transform on my own. In all likelihood, I would have died without it. I know that. But, here I am, and with this sharing, I complete step twelve, a first for me. Next, I move to another step twelve and back through the steps again. WHEEEEEE!
Bob – 1/22/20