Codependency Recovery: Start Building A Foundation
“I can’t believe who I’ve become. I’m sinking lower and lower, snooping through his phone reading his texts, checking the history on his computer. I want to trust him, but he’s lied so many times – or at least I always feel like he’s lying. It’s affecting my work, as it’s hard to focus. My mind seems to be racing all the time. Seems like the only time I feel some peace is when he’s sitting right beside me, so I know he’s not up to any shenanigans. This is no way to live.” Anonymous
It’s true. Living in high anxiety or paranoia is no way to live a peaceful life. But when you’re on the opposite end of an addict, emotionally unavailable person, or narcissist, it’s challenging to NOT let it affect you.
Challenging, maybe – but impossible? No.
But it’s going to take some time, effort, insight, faith, and some knowledge.
Right now, I want you to evaluate where you are emotionally. Are you in crisis mode? Are you feeling you must decide soon whether to stay or leave? Or have you just recently had a break up?
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being highly emotional, where are you emotionally?
Now, whether you’re a 2 or a 10, and since you’ve already accepted the challenge to recover from codependency characteristics, I encourage you to start building a foundation for recovery.
Just like a carpenter straps on a tool belt filled with different tools when he begins building a firm foundation for a home, so you can begin building a firm codependency recovery foundation by building a solid support network.
I want you to consider reaching out for some support, as chances are you’ll benefit from having such. I know, I know. You’re busy and you may struggle with high anxiety when you go into unfamiliar situations. You may balk at the price of a therapist session.
However, I’m here to tell you having a strong support system can be EXTREMELY helpful. A blueprint and support are two powerful combinations for radical change.
And, do you want to REALLY make some good progress, or do you want to inch along year after year struggling with the same ole’ issues? Stay stuck in victim mode? Keep attracting selfish, lazy, unavailable people who give you crumbs?
Because support is an avenue that can facilitate lasting change, dear one – and that’s precisely the kind of change you want!
What kind of support is available?
There are various types of support available. Try one or try them all; just choose something. I’d say the top support networks you can consider are:
- A therapist (please figure out a way to get one and commit to at least 6 sessions)
- Support groups (preferably with a sponsor)
- Online forum
- Spiritual mentor (pastor, Shaman, Buddhist monk – you get the idea)
- Recovery coach
When you are dealing with an addicted loved one, narcissist, emotional abuser, or codependency characteristics in general, being able to talk about what’s going on with a therapist or others via a support group or online forum can be very helpful.
A therapist is trained to help you practically and emotionally. I always advise my clients to commit to at least six therapy sessions with a darn good therapist, so please go.
Many people say they can’t afford therapy, but I say do whatever it takes to get there. Search for those who offer a sliding fee scale. When I was searching, I found a wonderful therapist who charged $60 per session. Now that’s affordable! Even if you can only afford to go once a month, GO. And, many relationship therapists offer online video therapy sessions!
Attending a support group may also do you wonders. I remember NEEDING to attend a group because I literally thought I was going crazy – especially in the evenings when I was feeling so alone. It was either get some much-needed support, go crazy, or start drinking to numb the pain – and the latter two I knew would be the end of any chance for true joy.
Types Of Codependency Support Groups
Al-Anon – for those whose loved one struggles with alcohol abuse or alcoholism.
Nar-Anon – for those whose loved one struggles with drug addiction.
Codependents Anonymous – for those who struggle with codependent characteristics.
Fortunately, there were Codependent Anonymous support groups not too far from me. I went to a meeting here and there when I really needed support and it helped. It was also helpful to know that others were struggling with the same problem I was. I really wasn’t alone like I thought I’d been.
I also went to Nar-Anon for a while. My sponsor there helped me a lot when it came to those early days when my emotions were all over the place. We worked the Steps together and that helped too.
They have a saying in 12 Step groups, “The program works if you work it.” That means you must be willing to actually attend meetings regularly, get a sponsor, and DO the steps. It works for many. I know not everyone is keen on attending support groups, and there are certainly other avenues for recovery if you feel they are not for you.
However, if it’s fear that’s keeping you from attending, feel the fear and go anyway. The people are welcoming and affirming, and after you go a couple of times, much of that fear will leave.
There’s even online video meetings you can check out: In The Rooms
A really wonderful book to read while you’re working through the 12 Steps of a support group is:
GREAT BOOK ALERT:
- Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
- Codependent No More Workbook by Melody Beattie. Working through this workbook will help you worry less about your loved one and develop better self-care skills. You’ll be able to learn more about setting and keeping healthy boundaries, as well as detaching from toxic people in healthy and loving ways.
If you cannot find a support group near you, there are some available online. Here are several:
One of the most important things for me regarding recovering from codependency was having a sponsor. A sponsor is simply a person who has been through what you’ve been through (codependency) and has learned how to cope with it or completely get through it. My sponsor, Susie, helped me more than she will ever know. I called her, met with her, vented to her, asked her for advice, and probably drove her crazy at times.
I would get so upset about something in my relationship and call her up and spill it all out. She would always simply listen and encourage me. She advised I get the 12-step workbook for codependency and begin working the steps, so I did. The steps helped me. It was the first time in my life I really sat down and started to get real with my past and my emotions.
The first time through I had a tough time because I wasn’t used to looking “inside me” to take inventory. I wasn’t used to getting in touch with my feelings or old wounds. I was so busy taking care of others, I’d forgotten about ME.
Just like Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-step program, Codependent Anonymous is the same. Thousands of men and women have been freed using 12 step recovery programs. I have witnessed a good bit of people in substance abuse recovery get clean, stay clean, and create lives that they LOVE.
If you’re dead set against a support group, consider a Recovery Coach, Life Coach, pastor, spiritual mentor, etc. who is familiar with codependency. My point is that having an experienced mentor can be quite valuable in getting your emotional life where it ought to be, rather than staying caught in the grip of codependency.
Codependents Anonymous is a wonderful website that furnishes you with a plethora of information about codependency. Check it out! You can search for local meetings on the site and if there are no meetings close to you, there are online chat meetings you can tap into. The point is to get out there and get some support.
Here is a direct link to the 12 Steps of Codependent’s Anonymous.
What will you start doing today toward your recovery or your emotions?
- Commit to attending a support group.
- Make an appointment with a counselor.
- Create a dream board. Get a large piece of poster board and cut out magazine pictures of your dream life. You can glue pictures, words, poems, or whatever you want. Dream big! Make a collage of your future life and look at it each day to serve as a reminder that you’re telling a new story and going after it!