Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A familiar beginning

Honestly, I'd lived a life of quick fixes and avoidance of life's difficulties.  For some reason I'd never been able to build a solid footing on which to build my life upon.  I'd struggled for as long as I can remember.  One day reality struck me.  My codependent behavior affected much more of my life than I'd truly acknowledged.  There was not one aspect of my life that I "allowed" to happen.  There was always some sort of slide of hand trick I could use to manipulate the circumstances so that I would not have to suffer through any unpleasant feelings.  What a tiring and soul sucking manner in which to endure life.

The fundamental behavior in codependency is the need to control.  Unlike the narcissist who's need to control and manipulate is usually for more sinister gains, codependents are caring and compassionate people often broken in the uphill battle of addiction.  We do whatever we can to make our chaotic lives less painful.  That is everything except the one thing that would allow us to find peace; that is to allow circumstances and experiences to unfold naturally.

If my addict wouldn't hold a job I would find a higher paying job for myself.  If my addict couldn't pick the kids up from school due to intoxication I'd leave my job pick the kids up and return to work.  In my distorted reality the simplest solution was for me to overstep my areas of responsibility and MAKE things around me work.  

Truth is, if my addict couldn't maintain adequate employment for the survival of our family perhaps they should have found himself another home, thus removing some financial burden from me.  Somehow in my sick codependent mind this matriarchy and superhuman behavior was my way of keeping all the ducks in a row. Blindly, I didn't notice the sneaky fox gobbling up all the ducks!  No matter how much I manipulated or fixed, the situations kept coming.  It was exhausting.

At some point I began to live my life in a state of preparation for the next onslaught of difficulty.  I stayed in this state for many years.  I taught my children how to live life in preparation for disaster instead of living life in anticipation for miracles.  I showed the world that no matter what happened I would stand up and fight through it (not to mention showing the world that I was fool enough to stay in the line of sight for the second bullet); I showed that I was a survivor.

Eventually I burned myself out to the point that the simplest tasks seemed daunting.  I could no longer go on.  I just let it all fall apart.  Once the dust settled I saw a familiar place;  rock bottom and a beginning.  But this time I was different.  I'd begun attending Alanon and sought counseling for my own mental health.  I promised myself that I would take this new life I was given and live it honestly and without my own intervention.  This didn't mean I'd just be carefree hoping the Angels in heaven would carry me through.  This meant that I would live my life purposely, but not take shortcuts, and set boundaries that would often result in a longer wait for rewards.  This road has been rough, and I've wanted to turn back and run to comfort, but I know that this path leads me to a life that allows the greatest influencer I know, God.  This path lets me do what I can and I place the rest in his hands without fear, simply because I trust him!   Trusting God has forced me to give up my need to control and manipulate the circumstances in my life.        

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Living in the Present Moment



  1. 1.
    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    "their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition"
  2. 2.
    a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.


I tend to get lost in regretting my past, and worrying about my future.  The control (and loss of control) I've had to possess to live any since of normalcy has drastically altered how I view life.  This behavior completely robs me of enjoying and experiencing the present moments.  I've learned that worrying about what is going to happen in the future is a negative contribution to the future.  Instead of doing things in the present moment that will affect its outcome I drive myself insane with what-ifs!  Of course when I'm not worrying about what will happen I'm dwelling on what did happen.  And again I'm robbing the present moment regretting my past.  

The only time it's acceptable to focus on the future is to plan it!

I'm learning to allow my past to remind me that I am wiser and stronger than I previously was.  I remember that I made the best decisions I could with the information and awareness I had.  When I view my past that way I'm able to begin to rebuild the trust I need in myself to make decisions about my present!  

5 ways to focus on the present moment:

  1. Focus on your breathing. (in, out, in, out............)
  2. Take notice of the things directly around you.  Notice the temperature, the smells. etc.
  3. Embrace your present emotional state.  Don't wish happiness, sadness, just be as you are right at that moment.  Don't label your emotions, just be still and take them as they are.  
  4. Turn on some music.  When I'm having a really hard time focusing I like to turn on my nature sounds station on Pandora.  I just focus on the sounds and this helps bring me back.
  5. Consciously choose the present moment.  Sometimes I have to tell myself to stop wandering and come back to the here and now.  Sounds crazy but it works for me!  
Each person has to find their own path to mindfulness or living in the present moment.  In codependency recovery this is a necessity for keeping yourself grounded and emotionally sound.   We have lived our lives in utter chaos for so long it's often difficult to be okay in states of rest and peace.   

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Every choice has consequences.

Too often we try to bear the burdens of others.  Their choices are not our fault, so their consequences are not our burdens to bear!

As codependents we tend to take the burdens of the world upon us.  

  • If they don't eat it's because we didn't cook the food right.  
  • If they oversleep for work it's because we should have woken them up.  
  • If they drink it's because we upset them.  
These are characteristics the characteristics of codependency.  In our meddling we are not allowing the addict the opportunity to truly live life.   Enabling is the failure to allow someone to receive the natural consequences of their actions.  

How to stop enabling the addict or alcoholic in your life:

  1. Stop making excuses for the addict/alcoholic.  
  2. Set boundaries and stick to them.  
  3. Stop providing money to the addict/alcoholic.  
  4. Stop doing anything that allows the addict/alcoholic to continue their current lifestyle.  
  5. Don't take on responsibilities that the addict/alcoholic should be doing for themselves.  
  6. Allow "No" to be a complete sentence when dealing with the addict/alcoholic.  
  7. Don't drink or do drugs with the addict/alcoholic.  
  8. Don't react to the addicts latest consequences for their behavior.  
It is difficult to see someone we love and care for to have to suffer as a result of their choices.  But we must honestly ask ourselves if it would hurt more to see them lose their life over us helping them continue to thrive in addiction?

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I understand.

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Baby Steps

My personal mantra's this week:
1. Don't expect too much.
2. More than yesterday is more than enough!

Honestly, we're starting from rock bottom.  The situation had gotten so bad it destroyed us and we have to decide whether or not endure more of the same or create something new.   I chose to create something new.

If we're not careful we can fall into some recovery traps.  In the beginning we get so excited about the possibilities we want to conquer everything immediately.  Truly, we're just like a newborn fawn.  We just aren't ready to run in the forest with the big bucks.  There are bears and cougars waiting for someone just like us!  We have to take baby steps.

"Comparison is the thief of joy." This is one of my favorite quotes.  Be careful on your recovery journey that you don't start comparing your failures and accomplishments to someone who started their journey long before you.  This is such a demoralizing and wasteful behavior.  If your only accomplishment today was the fact that you went to work and didn't cry in the bathroom celebrate that!  Allow yourself the opportunity to relish in the accomplishment.  Just don't forget to build on that victory.  You are beginning to develop some great habits, behaviors, and coping skills that will assist you with setting some life changing goals!