(repost from coda.org)
My Recovery Journey
I feel very lucky to have found CoDA after emotionally spinning out for years, triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the everyday stresses of being a working parent, and significant shifts in my family dynamic, including the realization that my closest family member had been suffering in an emotional abusive relationship. Over time, in managing these crises and trauma, I found my responses to things (guilt, shame, panic, controlling, resentment) were only getting worse, not better. So, in February of 2022, I went to the CoDA website and reached out to the contact for what is now my beautiful home meeting (shout out to my "A Life You Deserve" ladies!). Someone got back to me right away and I joined the meeting that night. I was so nervous to attend my first meeting. Even though I had done therapy for years, I had no idea what to expect and decided to just buckle up and see what happens at a meeting.
I don't even remember the topic of the meeting and when I raised my hand to share, it was lots of tears and disjointed fragments of my story coming out in fits and starts. Even though it was an online meeting, the attentiveness of the other people at the meeting, the encouragement in their faces, and the chats to "please come back" were enough to keep me going. I felt such a relief when someone read the 12 Promises for the first time. Since then, I have attended meetings (pretty) faithfully, have taken on small service roles in our group, check in with other CoDA folks through text and other online chats, and have participated in a step study group, which led me to another wonderful group of women who I learned much from and value dearly. My fellow CoDA travelers helped me through a family suicide, uncertainty about my career, and changing dynamics with friends and family members.
What I love most about CoDA is that it's always there when I need it - there's always a meeting, another member who I can reach out to, accountability partners, and more. CoDA has brought me back to God and gave me the gift of exploring my relationship with God. CoDA has allowed me to rest, to trust myself, to let go, to fail and then try again. Over and over and over. The renewal process of the Steps, the constant contact with God, and the understanding that life will happen, whether I control it or not, have been huge realizations for me. CoDA has also helped me to understand and forgive my family (and myself) for past behavior, seeing that people were doing their best, that boundaries are necessary, and that my only job is to keep my side of the street clean.
I've also learned that my friendships in CoDA can ebb and flow - sometimes I'm super connected, texting folks, going to meetings, being with my step study friends (affectionately called the Cod-ettes!). Other times, I need to be quiet with God and practice the principles of CoDA in all of my affairs. Giving myself the permission, with God's guidance, to see my recovery as a journey, rather than a destination, is self-love in action.
Bottom line: CoDA has made my life a richer, safer, and more lovely place to be. I am (and will forever be) taking two steps forward and one step back, but I know that I am not alone. I have my higher power, my recovery friends, my intuition, and my larger group of friends and family to walk with me through life. And I know that good things are happening now and will come in the future.
~ Laura S. 04/12/2023