Ever feel like you are handcuffed to the person next to you, or stuck in a situation you can’t get out of? That’s codependency. Here are some steps that help me, and I hope they might help you as well:
1. Breathe. I’m a notorious shallow breather, which doesn’t help my anxiety. Remember to breathe deeply, from the diaphragm. It makes everything a little easier. And it can’t hurt to say the Serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
2. Say no. It’s a complete sentence. It needs no explanation, no excuse. If you can’t do something, just say no. Practice it in front of the mirror if you need to. It’s SO empowering once you get it down pat.
3. Detach. Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgement or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. Separating ourselves from the adverse effects of another person’s alcoholism can be a means of detaching: this does not necessarily require physical separation. Detachment can help us look at our situations realistically and objectively. Alcoholism is a family disease. Living with the effects of someone else’s drinking is too devastating for most people to bear without help. In Al-Anon we learn nothing we say or do can cause or stop someone else’s drinking. We are not responsible for another person’s disease or recovery from it. Detachment allows us to let go of our obsession with another’s behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves. We can still love the person without liking the behavior. –From Al-Anon Family Groups
4. Set clear boundaries. A boundary is an invisible line that tells someone where not to cross over. It could be a property line, a privacy line in your mind, whatever you wish. If you have trouble defining boundaries for yourself, an excellent book that helped me is: Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin, by Anne Katherine. She’s quite readable and defines all this in simple, easy to understand terms.
5. Hula Hoop strategy. Can never talk too much about the hula hoop. Buy a hula hoop to KEEP in your house. Heck, they’re cheap, buy two. 😉 Slip one over your head and let it drop to the ground. Now look at the space within the circle of the hula hoop around your feet, your body. Whatever is in that space is what concerns you, your business. Anything outside the hula hoop is none of your business.
6. Support group. Find a support group, whether it’s Al-Anon, CoDA, or another 12 step group. Get involved with others who are experiencing the same issues you are. There’s strength in numbers, no doubt about that. Two heads are always better than one, and you will find companionship and friendship at the tables.
Hope this helped. Have a wonderful day!
I am grateful for so many things today.
–we got three days in a row of much needed rain, including a flash flood
—it’s sunny and beautiful today
–I got to enjoy some out of town family for about a week, which was awesome
–I see my therapist today, and I’m truly grateful for her in my life
–I emailed the Samaritans in the wee hours, and they actually replied back this morning. Who would have thunk?
–my doc is going to see me once a week when my T is on vacation at the end of August
–there are, right now, many people who love me, even tho I cannot feel it, God especially
–my submission to Glimmer Train Press has not been rejected yet
For this and so much more, I’m grateful today.
How about you?
“Standing with my arms extended and turning in a full circle gives me a visual marker of my responsibility. If it doesn’t come into my space, I leave it alone.”–Hope For Today, p. 209.
I love this quote. It reminds me of the “hula hoop” metaphor I’ve heard talked about at tables. Place a hula hoop around yourself, then drop it. Okay, so you’re standing in the center of the hula hoop. Whatever falls within the hula hoop is your business; whatever happens outside the hula hoop doesn’t concern you. LOVE that. It has helped me so much!
This past Wednesday my sister got an alcohol tether placed on her ankle. She informed us, as she got back in the car, that she has to have it read by her probation officer every week, once a week, for six months. After that, it will be once a month, for the rest of her probation.
I turned around from my position in the front seat, and said, “I hope you’ll get other drivers lined up to do that, because I’m not one of them. I won’t be bringing you to your probation officer.”
This morning at my Al-Anon meeting, I asked my friends if they thought that was selfish. They said no – it was self-caring. There’s a difference.
I’m still learning, but I’m loving the journey.
Happy Saturday, my friends. Peace out.
Wednesday was a difficult day for me, and I thought I had lost all the ground I had previously gained in Al-Anon and then some. That was the day we picked up my sister from jail, and subsequently spent 11 hours in the car driving her around, back and forth from her probation officer to different places, only to have doors slammed in our faces and told to go back here or there . . .
I admit, I lost my cool a time or two. I don’t do freeway driving well, and I had to listen to Stella (my GPS), find the places, while trying not to worry about my 85-yr-old mother next to me in the passenger seat who had also been in the car the same length of time.
Then this morning I read this passage (April 5th) on acceptance from Courage To Change: “It’s all right to feel disappointed, skeptical, resentful, joyous, excited, or confused about our changing circumstances.” The reading goes on to say that many of us find ourselves going back to the basics even after we have found ourselves in Al-Anon for a while after the alcoholic gets sober and THEY go through big changes. What is important is what we do with our feelings. Talking them through at the tables helps. A lot.
So today I’ll go to a meeting. I didn’t have time yesterday. I have family here from out of town. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, or blaming them in any way, because I enjoy them! 🙂 But I’ll have time today while they are visiting friends of theirs.
Have a great and wonderful day, gentle readers.
Happiness is risky. But as I begin to recover from the effects of alcoholism in my life, it’s worth it. It’s not enough just to avoid being let down. I want a life filled with joy and happiness as well as the inevitable sadness.
I crave excitement; I’m an excitement junkie. But this time on MY terms, not on the roller coaster hump of the alcoholic. You know?
I won’t let my fear of being let down prevent me from enjoying this day. I have a HUGE capacity for joy.
What about you?
Hope you are having a fabulous Tuesday, my friends!
Sat at an “envelope” meeting this morning, which is where people pass around an envelope at the table and each person picks out a little piece of paper, and whatever is on the paper is what you talk about.
It may be a step, a slogan, or what have you. It was absolutely one of the best tables I’ve sat at in a long time. Not necessarily because of what my piece of paper read, or because of what I talked about, but because of what the woman, Marty, said next to me.
“Our first reaction is our disease, and our second reaction is our recovery.”
That is SO cool. Which tells me I usually need to let myself sit and think before I say anything. 😉
Hope you are having a lovely Sunday. Peace out.
My need to control can show itself as a need to know exactly what’s going on, all the time. We cannot always know. Sometimes, I need to let things be and trust that clarity will come later, in looking back.
Just like in this painting, I see exactly what I need to see . . . for now. It’s okay. It’s already okay. If it doesn’t make perfect sense now, it’s not supposed to.
More will be revealed. Peace out.