Co-NNections Recovery Stories

I Finally See Me – March 26, 2024

How do I want to start? What do I want to say? What if no one reads it? What if they don’t publish it? What if people read it and they hate it?

Rewrite it.

Start over.

It’s not good enough.

Nothing is ever good enough.

Why do I bother? I never do anything right. I’m such a failure. I should just disappear. People that I love would be better off without me. I just make things worse for them anyway.  just look at my mom and dad and ex-husband and ex-fiancé; Look at my kids…..



explore. examine.

evaluate, interrogate.


Hi, I’m Ashlea; I am codependent. That paragraph above is how my mind used to work. The minute I had an idea of something I thought I might want to do all those negatives would just flood me. Reminding me that I am not good enough and I never have been good enough and I never will be good enough. Reminding me that other people’s opinions and thoughts matter more than my own. Reminding me that I needed to be small and quiet because that was the best way to be safe.

I joined CoDA 2 years and 11 months ago. At first, I joined for him. So I could help him stay sober. So I could give him the best shot at recovery.  I remember thinking I would learn all I could about recovery so I could help him.

I was so full of everyone else that I couldn’t even see me. I was at my bottom. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. I didn’t even know if I liked me. I had never even considered myself as a person with thoughts and wants and opinions. I was just there having them. I wasn’t considering them. I was on autopilot. Living every day of my life without any consideration for what I wanted or needed. I was at my own rock bottom and I didn’t even know it.  Looking back now, it is so obvious. I was falling apart at the seams.

CoDA helped me save myself. CoDA taught me how to look into the mirror and see me. To finally pay attention to what I was thinking and feeling. To give credit to my own thoughts and trust in my own instincts. CoDA has taught me how to let go of the panic and worry. CoDA has given me peace. But it’s so much more than that.

CoDA has taught me how to see me. I finally know how to listen to my heart and actually hear what it’s saying. I am finally my own best friend. For the first time since I was itty-bitty, I am considering myself again. I think about what I want and what I need. I ask myself what will make me happy.  I can validate my own feelings and know that it doesn’t matter if someone else agrees. They are good enough. They are perfect! I finally for the first time that I can remember have a relationship with myself. Not only do I have one, But it’s a good one. I have learned how to be kind and loving and compassionate with me and still hold myself lovingly accountable, and that has bled over into every single interaction I have with others.

CoDA has also taught me to never stop growing. The more layers of the onion I peel, the better flavor I have!

Ashlea M. 1/31/24

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