My recent anger explosion made me realize an ugly truth in this sea of recovery–I have turned into a codependent shadow, far from who I know I am.
I denied having anything to do with the term “codependent,” even responding to another blog because I was offended at that suggestion that those tending to alcoholics are called “codependents.” I am not dependent on anyone, I thought. I’m self sufficient. I can survive fine on my own, and physically I can. It’s what’s changed in the way I’m processing things.
Before this spiral into all things alcoholism, AA, and Al-Anon, I had healthy self esteem. I loved traveling on my own, domestically and abroad. I was the one to break off all of my past relationships if (er, when) they felt wrong. I cherished my independence, relished being alone, even. I knew how to make myself happy, and I pursued all of those things within reason. How I’ve changed.
Partly, I’ve made the life changes necessary to settle down and have a family. There is no traveling abroad on a whim with a family, there is not a lot of alone time and me time with children around, period. The little time I have between work and exhaustion is spent usually on family members or the house and yard. I still was in denial about codependence until my anger episode a few days ago when I clearly realized how my self esteem has begun to hinge upon how my recovering alcoholic husband treats me: how my happiness hinges upon if he is still sober, if he is angry, if he is relaxed. The realization disgusts me. The me before would likely never choose to be around the me I am today. She would sense the weakness, give wide berth, and find people who lived without anxiety about tomorrow.
I read that codependency can be “fixed.” I just need to remember what it is I love and…do it. I have to make me the center of me again and be absolutely unapologetic for tending to myself. Codependency is a displacement of self worth, and over the past few years, I’ve forgotten that my self worth is something that comes from MY happiness with my SELF: it should not ever be dependent upon anyone other than me. Damn alcoholism. This is not who I ever thought I’d be. I can’t stand the term codependent. Focusing on me shouldn’t be difficult but I seem to have lost practice with all the focusing and energy devoted to the alcoholic.
Yesterday I began my own self treatment. I made sure I kept the Serenity Prayer close, repeating it when necessary. Made myself get out and walk the dogs several miles which I have always loved doing–but keep putting off for a variety of inadequate reasons. I called around inquiring about a guitar teacher, as I’ve wanted to take lessons for at least a year now. I made an appointment with my counselor for next week. It was a good start. I’ve been repeating quietly, “I will take care of myself. I will take care of myself.” It blows me away how I’ve forgotten to do that regularly. I am the only one I can change. Here’s to being healthier today.
P.S. I’ve been neglectful of working the steps. I still haven’t munched on Step 2 nearly enough even though I have no problem with it. It works…if you work it. I have a lot of work to do.