2015 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award Winner
January is National Codependency Awareness Month
After my husband Bob and I separated, I met with a psychologist. After two sessions, Holly insisted, “I’ll continue to see you, Diane, but you must attend Al-Anon meetings.”
I was confused. “It’s Bob who needs to go to Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m doing everything I can to help him.” I stammered, “I, I’m trying to control his drinking. I’m trying to change his habits, and I’m struggling to cure him of his love affair with alcohol. Why should I go to Al-Anon? I don’t have a problem. He does.”
“You need to get help too. Bob is an addict and you are the co-addict, the codependent.”
“A codependent?” I quizzed. “What’s that?”
It’s been years since Holly and I had that conversation. I am still learning what a codependent is.
What is a Codependent?
These are just some of the signs of codependency. How many do you have?
- Can you say NO without feel guilty? If not, you may be a codependent.
- Do you take the time to think before you act? If you kneejerk react, you may be a codependent.
- Are you able to balance your feelings with appropriate actions? If not, guess what.
- Are you always on the alert, always acting defensively?
- Does low self-esteem whisper and tell you your feelings do not matter?
- Does shame and blame cause you to avoid family and friends?
- Do you over explain and make excuses? If so, it could be a sign that deep inside you know you have a problem.
- Do you set weak boundaries, and then blame others for breaking them down and walking all over you?
- Or do you construct impenetrable walls to keep people from knowing the family secrets? Weak or rigid boundaries often point to codependent tendencies.
- Do you think you are responsible for the actions of others? If you try to control how those around you behave, you may want to look at your own behavior.
- Do you wear your victim or martyr role like a badge of courage? Then it’s time to free yourself from the lies living inside your head, to face your denial.
Who Are We?
We have a more serious problem than our addicted loved ones.
We are more addicted to fixing the addict in our life than they are to their addiction.
We create our own unhealthy dependent behavior in order to find approval.
We ignore our needs in order to fulfill the needs of others.
We are always rushing, doing, fixing, controlling.
We are filled with hidden resentment.
We allow anger to define us.
We allow a victim mentality to fuel our need to fix others.
We have no inner peace.
Who are we?
We are co-addicts.
We are codependents.
We are legion.
We are many.
Way too many.
We can work on changing ourselves.
We can celebrate ourselves by participating in National Codependency Awareness Month.
An Awareness Plan for Codependents
Action I must take to keep my self-respect.
Wisdom to know when things are out of my control.
Alert myself to the role I play in the family drama.
Remind myself to think, not react to the addict’s behaviors.
Envision how I should behave, and follow through.
Nagging others with threats never works. It’s time to speak kindly to myself.
Enlighten my future with positive affirmations.
Share how codependent behavior restricts everyone’s freedom, including my own.
Set plans in place to change the things I can and pray for courage to carry them out.