Saturday, January 16, 2016

Overcoming Codependency

A turning point in my sister's recovery was when my dad made a decision that made no rational sense at the give her a car.  With no restrictions.  Signed over to her.  Here she was living in crack houses, dropped out of school, avoiding employment and any productive activities, and yet he felt that he should simply sign the car over to her.  Not long after, she came home.

Years later when I was reading about overcoming codependency (Codependent No More by Melody Beattie)  I learned that my father had done something that is essential to avoid codependency.  He was able to detach himself from her recovery.  The following are some gems I picked up from Beattie that made a huge difference for me:
·         “Worrying, obsessing, and controlling are illusions.  They are tricks we play on ourselves.  We feel like we are doing something to solve our problems, but we’re not.” (p. 60)
·         Detachment is, “releasing, or detaching from, a person or problem in love.  We mentally emotionally, and sometimes physically disengage ourselves from unhealthy (and frequently painful) entanglements with another person’s life and responsibilities, and from problems we cannot solve…
·         We are only responsible for ourselves.
·         We allow people to be who they are.
·         Detaching doesn’t mean we don’t care.  It means we learn to love, care, and be involved without going crazy….We become free to care and to love in ways that help others and don’t hurt ourselves.
·         Reward from detachment is serenity, peace, ability to love, and freedom.
·         Detachment sometimes frees people around us to begin to solve their problems.
·         HOW- Honesty, Openness, Willingness to try
·         You need to detach most when it seems the least likely or possible thing to do.

I emotionally detached the day that I decided to no longer play the private detective.  I tried to be supportive to her and absolutely loved her, but I was no longer going to spend my life tracking her steps and basing my happiness on them.  I couldn't have a real relationship with Lenaya until I stopped trying to control her.  It was both scary and liberating.  It felt at times like giving up, but I wasn't giving up hope for her....just control over her. Not that I was ever in control of her choices.  I always remind myself that there is only one person I can control:  me.  I have a hard enough time with myself.  That will take a lifetime of practice.


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