I have been in CoDA since June 2021, when I was in a residential, trauma-based program. There, with the help of the professionals and my fellow residents, I saved my life. As a child, I was the oldest of four girls and took on the protection of my sisters when my mother’s raging was too scary. Our father was compliant, asking us to just do what she said so she would stop. I carried that compliance to adulthood, where I had a series of abusive relationships, and some in which I was so detached I lasted just long enough to feel needed before I left.
When I married my ex-husband, I remember saying I’d finally found someone “normal.” Normal turned out to be a husband who frequently raged, frightening me and our two daughters. I always wondered what I could do to help him and keep him from hurting us during the next outburst. I was lonely and afraid of what would happen if I tried to take the girls and leave, and I had so much shame around having chosen a person I couldn’t control or placate.
I was suicidal often, and once tried to end my life. Several hospital stays later, I landed at the residential program. That’s where I learned about CoDA, and about my codependency. Before that, it had not occurred to me that it wasn’t my job to fix him or pretzel myself and my girls into what he wanted. Or that my suicidal ideations were the result of this. I attended CoDA meetings at the residential program and have attended a meeting a week since then. I am grateful for CoDA, and the women from the group I have become friends with, for helping me stay healthy and find happiness and peace.