Co-NNections Recovery Stories

The Work: A Poem of Recovery – April 16, 2024

This dysfunction and Codependency was not mine in the beginning.

But was driven into me

By circumstances I could not control.

My little one, a child, who resides deep within,

Is hiding alone… filled with fear and anxiety from the things that hurt so long ago. She wants to know she is loved. She wants to know she is ok. She wants to know she can be just a child.

The rebellious adolescent, who still longs to be seen. Who no one heard, even less held….no comfort of love,

is angry, defiant, and ready for a fight. She wants my attention so badly, she will bring pain to every inch of my body.

Sadness, ideation, and isolation is her game. She wants safety from the things that raped her and destroyed the she who was meant to be.

And from this grew a voice that chided, hated, and screamed. No one was safe from the critical parent who tried to control the old and the new. A voice inside me I didn’t want, nor could I let go.

Chaos was the fruit of this trio’s wrath.

Resulting in depression, anxiety, and self-harm. Delivering to others a relationship inauthentic at its core… Brash, coddling, and quick to anger. But other times being too helpful causing self-harm.

A balance was missing.

Calm, reflection, a self-love that filled my cup first. Relations who wanted me to grow but also knew how to hear “no.”

Standing in my strength and worth, so my inner children would know that I was a parent to be trusted. I stood before them stripped of ego and lies…

At first, I had no words. My eyes wept for their pain and anger…. And offered love instead. This wasn’t a quick fix or easy trek, but a worthwhile beginning to so much work.

They had been seen.

In time, the tears became a loving smile, and I began to listen. The young had so much to say…often in painful ways that seem to break my soul. But I kept coming back, just to listen. To only offer to give space.

They had been heard.

It was only then that I could approach, offering my hand, other times a hug. Their stiff bodies, shunned for so long, began to melt… and trust for the first time. This was the work that was hard.

They had been held.

I finally began to speak… the audience timid but open listen. First, amends. A chance to heal old wounds. To speak my wrongs and offer some hope of a change. Basic honesty not shown from humanity.


And then the conversation changed, a sigh. A whisper: and from those true words that had been missing in this space.

 I love you.

 I love you.

 I love you.

Again, until it rang true.

Spoke into existence, with trust and baring all:

They had been loved.

The dysfunction I now claim, and the codependency my own. The recovery has become my path as I speak my experience, strength, and hope…

For you who now join us… I pray the same for you as I say:

You have been seen, heard, held, and loved in this safe place…. and I am glad you are here.


Poem: “The Work” – 2023

Cheryl F.

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