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Recovery Is a Partnership That Requires Rigourous Honesty on Our Behalves

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Recovery is a partnership. It is a partnership between God (Higher Power), ourselves and other people whom we can trust.

Recovery is never an act of praying to your Higher Power and then expecting your Higher Power to suddenly zap you with instant wellness, and make everything OK. That's not prayer. That's magical thinking. 

 We have to first be willing to do whatever work is necessary to make our lives better; to change our patterns of thinking and behavior from negative to positive. Recovery always starts with "me." Once we are willing to do our best to change our character defects into character assets, then our Higher Power can help us. 

We first need to do for ourselves whatever we can do to make our lives manageable and functional. What we aren't capable of doing for ourselves, we need to surrender to our Higher Power and allow that Higher Power to handle all that is beyond our control. 

We also need to be willing to reach out to others we trust, whether they b…

Everyone's Mirror Has Two Faces. Which One Are You Seeing?

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It's so true. My mirror has had two faces most of my life: 1) My actual physical face and 2) the face that was merely a representation of all of the negative judgments I continually made against myself.

The face I have primarily seen in any mirror since childhood is the face of harsh self-judgment that I projected onto my outer appearance. I've rarely seen my REAL face; the one that is beautifully free of all self-judgments.

I've seen my face/body of harsh self-judgments since grade school, when I first began over-eating to medicate away the emotional pain of growing up in an alcoholic/ codependent household. In those days, all I saw reflecting back at me in the mirror were the horrible judgments I made against myself for becoming fat. 

Most of those judgments weren't even mine. They had been shoved down my throat by family and kids at school: "Fatty, fatty, two by four," "Hey, fatso," and "You're going to be fat all of your life, just like yo…

Never Accept Sex When You Really Want Love

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Codependents are often very compliant. We often enter recovery with a strong need to please other people in order to earn our self-worth, to earn love. One of the most dangerous compliance patterns for codependents, and sex-love addicts, is that some of us accept sexual acting-out when we really want love. And this acting-out eventually leads us to experience feelings of self-betrayal, abuse, disappointment, shame, guilt and anger.

I remember one of the first CODA meetings I attended at the Steps Alano Club in St. Louis, Missouri. A woman stood up and admitted that she felt so unlovable and so worthless that she had developed a pattern of behavior in which she engaged in sex with anyone who showed even the slightest interest in her. It was the only way she knew how to medicate away her emotional pain about feeling like a worthless person. She even admitted to having sex with men she actually despised because she was so desperate for some form of affirmation, of affection, even though d…

Words Mean Nothing. Behavior Speaks Volumes.

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Many people enter into Recovery, but few stick with the program. Why? Because Recovery takes a great deal of mental, emotional and spiritual work. Recovery forces us to daily focus on changing our lives for the better, and too many people don’t want to make the effort to redeem their lives from the past, to take the time to learn new ways of thinking and behaving and to move forward.

Sadly, too many people enter Recovery programs expecting either a quick fix of themselves, or stuck in a pattern of denial where they want to simply blame the world for their pain and they want the world to be responsible for fixing them. Well, in Recovery there is only one person responsible for fixing our lives— and we are that person.

I’ve had many people seek help from me, only to watch them walk away when they found out how much effort it was going to take for them to become responsible for changing their own lives. Many of them just wanted to forever blame their parents for their addictions, or the…

It’s Impossible to Save Someone Who Has Abandonment Issues

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Codependents, even recovering ones, have a bad habit of choosing the most unavailable people to befriend or even fall in love with. We pick people who are emotionally unavailable, or are perpetual victims of their own negative, self-loathing thoughts.

Initially the people we codependents choose to engage with are thrilled to receive our attention and concern. But at some point, because they feel so unworthy and bad about themselves, they inevitably become uncomfortable with the attention and concern we give them.

They will then subconsciously look for ways to sabotage the relationship by pushing us away. They will stop texting back, or they will stop calling us. They may say cruel things to us or they may not show up for a planned get-together. They may also start blaming us for all of their problems and withdraw any gratitude for anything we’ve ever done to simply be kind and empathetic with them.

In other words, they are forcing us to abandon them because abandonment is all they ha…

True Beauty Lives Within Our Souls

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Through my own recovery program I’ve learned to examine my own inner-brokenness and to look for the beauty inside me that’s been buried underneath all that brokenness since childhood. By learning to be empathetic, kind and compassionate with my own brokenness, I’ve learned to be more empathetic, kind and compassionate with others.

How? By realizing that underneath everyones’ brokenness Is the image and likeness of God. We are all created in the image and likeness of God. Nothing can change this truth. No matter how much we have been hurt by others or how much we have hurt others, this lone truth still stands. Despite all of the harmful behaviors we have learned to use against ourselves and others, this lone truth still stands: We are, and forever will be, images and likenesses of God.
When people come to talk with me about their addictive issues, I’ve learned to see beneath their brokenness and see straight through to the honest beauty of their souls. And often times, those who are m…

Bitter or Better? The Choice Is Ours Alone.

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Forever bitter, or eventually better? The choice is truly ours. When I first entered Recovery for codependency in 1995, it didn't take me long to feel very bitter and angry toward my parents and our entire nuclear family structure. It was polluted with addictive behaviors. I had learned all of these behaviors from my parents.
Back in 1995, I was in my 30s and angry as hell with my parents. I was even angry with my mother, from whom I had learned all of my codependency, even though she had been deceased for two years. I said angrily at a CODA meeting "They screwed-up my entire childhood, teen years and much of my young adult life! I am so angry with them. Why should I have to pay the price of doing all of this recovery stuff for something that I'm not guilty of? It was taught to me! I didn't choose it! I didn't know I even had a choice!"
Others at the meeting understood how I felt. And they congratulated me for getting in touch with my feelings and being able to…