We are in CoDA, we know we stay in unhealthy relationships too long, but why is recovery from codependency such a long-term thing?
Codependency is a compulsive behavior and our relationship with it normally formed in our childhood. We utilized our codependent behaviors as tools to get our needs met, feel safe and stay in seemingly good graces with our loved ones. We learned to accept treatment and the behaviors of others that minimized our own needs and left us being a role keeper for others lives to run and left our lives without a keeper, yes we abandoned ourselves to care for others. That sometimes meant playing the role of the mess up in the family so the parent in our life had the relief to their own pain by having us take the blame for them to feel better...and many other sick ways we managed to survive life.
The reason these compulsive behaviors are so hard to kick, is because they WORK to survive. They do not replace our emptiness with happiness, or fulfilling relationships, or success, or anything else. The behaviors are designed to make others satisfied, leaving no one who is trustworthy to be our partner...the relationships we have had for most of us were very one sided. That is why the process of staying on a recovery journey is a never ending one, we have to have a boundary to keep our lives manageable and the boundary we need more than anything is the one our program provides. The twelve steps and traditions are the foundation that supports and sustains our healthy life. We are in a LIFE TIME RELATIONSHIP WITH OURSELVES. The relationship with ourselves is the longest relationship we will ever be in.
Until we found CODA we were in an unhealthy relationship with ourselves, with the program I have to stay present in my life in order to stay healthy. Compulsive behavior requires little to no thought, it is reactive by nature. To stay present in my body and life allows me to stop using compulsive behavior and instead respond appropriately to things in my life. The compulsive behavior patterns are set, you can slip back into those old patterns very easily, without skipping a beat. It takes practice and attention to stay focused on our recovery. We WILL mess up, we are not perfect. This program calls out perfection from day one, in our group we absolutely remind each other that perfection is shame in action, it is a fairytale that sets us all up to NEVER be good enough. Stop chasing the illusion of perfection and create a desire in yourself to be better than you were yesterday, even if today you can successfully say you did one thing differently that meant not doing some act of codependent behavior, perhaps setting a boundary...that is a successful day! Celebrate the small wins, everything you do that is NOT codependent, that is self affirming and empowering is a success and you deserve to be celebrated, loved, and unconditionally accepted for the beautiful soul you are.
Our journey of recovery is lifelong, it is the goal of CoDA to help us learn to have healthy and loving relationships and the most important one of all is the one we have with yourself and without that relationship staying healthy, no other relationship is either. Our loving higher power of our own understanding is the key to holding this recovery thing together....are you ready to have the life of your dreams??? We are here every week to hold space for each other and encourage us all moving along our journey...when you are ready reach out to us, log into an anonymous meeting without your video on....you have no need to speak or anything, you can come and listen. There is no race, no clock that starts that tells you you are late, only an open door and welcoming members sharing our experience, strength and hope. We are not alone, we do have support and we DO RECOVER.
Kimberly Sprintz, Founder of Women Empowering Women Support Groups