My name is April, and I am a codependent. I didn’t say that out loud until I came to my first CoDA meeting six months ago. Before that, I only identified as “addict.” I was in recovery for my addiction in another fellowship, staying clean, had a sponsor, worked all 12 Steps but something still wasn’t working. I wrote multiple inventories, but I still hated my mother. In 2022 my physical health was really declining and I had to have multiple surgeries, including a full colectomy. I was in pain all the time and I wanted to die. I had no hope and I cursed the “God” that I used to know. I felt as if I was being punished. I was isolated and alone.
Then I started to feel better, I came “out of the woodwork” and tried to re-enter my life, work, my usual meeting, and my relationships. I thought everything was going to be amazing, but what happened was a “switch” turned back on and I got into the codependent crazies. My daughter was living in a motel, my best friend owed me hundreds of dollars and was also living in a motel, I was managing an outpatient substance use facility, and my boyfriend at the time was dealing with a serious mental health issue. I could not stop obsessing about them. I could not stop myself from endlessly talking about them to anybody who would listen. And then I stopped…and I thought, “oh my God, I am right back where I was twenty years ago when my sister was addicted.”
A colleague suggested I try a CoDA meeting and I have been coming ever since. I finally can see that what was underneath my addiction was all of my childhood trauma and the impact of growing up in a very dysfunctional system. I found a temporary sponsor and started working the Steps and then I found a Power of Five group. We just finished up Step Two. I broke up with that boyfriend, I cut ties with that “best friend,” I stood up for myself at work, and I recently told my adult daughter it’s time for her to move out on her own. I have never felt so confident and empowered in my life.
Every day is a codependent challenge, opportunities to learn and grow present themselves with every interaction I have. Today, I can say how I feel and I don’t feel bad for saying it. My physical and mental health have never been better. I am reconnecting with little April. She has a voice now and I have her now. I can reparent little April and ask her what she needs, and I can get my own needs met. I live in peace most days and I am on my journey towards finding a higher power that works for me. Setting boundaries with my family has been the most difficult, but it’s worth it.
I wasn’t sure if CoDA was for me, but I gave it a shot and started attending meetings. What did I have to lose besides my insanity and my misery? Today I can say my affirmations. I can look at myself in the mirror. I no longer tolerate dysfunction and I am surrounding myself with people who see my worth, because now I am starting to see it. I am precious and I am free!
April M. 2/1/23