Six Steps To Break The Cycle Of Codependency!

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!

Peace out.


7 thoughts on “Six Steps To Break The Cycle Of Codependency!

  1. This is a great clear step by step approach. I feel the greatest challenge is that things outside the hula hoop do have an effect on us. While it is not our business to manipulate the external world or ourselves to fit painful situations, denying by way of saying it’s not my business can lead to shame. The things outside the hula hoop that have an effect on us is is a signal to possibly set a boundary. So it is our business to recognize what is going on and not deny these experiences. The none of my business approach could also be setting up a co dependent for having shame for their feelings to other people’s painful actions or abuse towards them. If we deny things outside our hula hoop we may allow emotions to get stuffed away out of fear of not “ recovering properly “ as a good little co dependent would do. It is a very fluid experience and denial is the road back to the prison of co dependency.


  2. Learning about boundaries is changing my life… I am also learning that emotional boundaries are actually like having better boundaries with Myself! Woohoo! Experiencing that has been liberating.


    • Hi Kim,
      Thank you for stopping by my blog. The start of a journey is always the best part. Right now I’m doing the A-Z challenge on another of my blogs at It’s all about crochet, so very different from this, but — not, in a way, because crochet is how I cope with many alcohol-related stressors. 😉 Hope you can stop by!


  3. This is a great blog post. The difficult concept about boundaries is “emotional boundaries” when it comes to confusing your feelings with other peoples’. It’s not just about saying “no,” it means not reacting to other people.I think you’ll really like “Codependency for Dummies,” which is loaded with exercises and tools for recovery.
    Darlene Lancer, MFT


    • Oh, I didn’t mean to imply that it was that simple! I guess I was just trying to break it down into steps. I know a ton about codependency, trust me . . . I have been one since I was 3 yrs old, and have read all of Melody Beattie’s work and Pia Melody as well. Thank you so much for reading my blog!


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