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Codependents' Guide to the Twelve Steps
     

Codependents' Guide to the Twelve Steps

4.2 9
by Melody Beattie
 

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New from the bestselling author of Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency--the important guide to using the Twelve Steps specifically for codependent issues. Includes tips on how to evaluate programs, a practical guide to each of the Twelve Steps, plus specific exercises and activities to use both in group settings and on one's own.

Overview

New from the bestselling author of Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency--the important guide to using the Twelve Steps specifically for codependent issues. Includes tips on how to evaluate programs, a practical guide to each of the Twelve Steps, plus specific exercises and activities to use both in group settings and on one's own.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671726065
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
11/01/1990
Edition description:
Abridged, 1 cassette, 1 hr.
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
4.48(w) x 7.03(h) x 0.78(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

"Surrender happens of its own accord. It just dawns on me.
Then, peace of mind settles in, and my life starts to get more manageable."

Bob T.

STEP ONE

"WE ADMITTED WE WERE POWERLESS OVER OTHERS-THAT OUR LIVES HAD BECOME UNMANAGEABLE."
Step One of CoDA

The first time I heard this Step, I didn't get it. I didn't understand. It felt dark, scary, and untrue.

Powerless over others? My life -- unmanageable?

I thought I was in complete control of myself and others. I thought there was no circumstance too overwhelming, no feeling so great that I couldn't handle it by sheer force of willpower. I thought being in control was expected of me. It was my job. That's how I got through life!

And I thought my life looked so much more manageable than the lives of those around me -- until I started looking within. That's when I found the undercurrent of fear, anger, pain, loneliness, emptiness, and unmet needs that had controlled me most of my life.

That's when I took my eyes off the other person long enough to take a look at the state of affairs in my life.

That's when I began to find a life and come alive.

"I didn't know about power and powerlessness," said Mary, talking about the First Step. "Being a victim and being in control was how I was in power. If I was powerless, then someone else was in control."

Now we are learning a better way to own our power than being victims and being controlling. It begins by admitting and accepting the truth about ourselves and our relationships.

We are powerless over others. When we try to exert power where we have none, ourlives at some level may become unmanageable. Let's take a look at some ways unmanageability can present itself in our lives, and where our ideas about controlling others -- or allowing them to control us -- began.

MY STORY

I can still remember the scene vividly, even though it happened more than a decade ago. Someone I cared about a lot was drinking. He was an alcoholic. And he wouldn't stop. I had done everything I could to make him stop. Nothing worked.

Nothing.

Neither was I able to stop my efforts to control his drinking. After yet another round of promises, forgiveness, then broken promises, I settled on the ultimate plan to make him stop drinking. I would show him how it felt to love someone who was using chemicals. I would make it look like I had returned to drug usage. That would get his attention. That would show him how much I hurt. Then he would stop.

Carefully, I set the stage. Although I had been clean of drugs for years, I laid out the paraphernalia of a user: a small packet with white powder in it (I used sugar); a spoon, burnt on one side; a piece of cotton in the spoon. Then I lay down on the couch to make it look like I was under the influence of narcotics.

A short time later, the person who was the focus (at that time) of my control efforts entered the room. He looked around, saw the spoon, saw me, and started to react. I jumped off the couch and started lecturing.

"See!" I screamed. "See how it feels to love someone and see them using chemicals! See how much it hurts! See what you've been doing to me for these years!"

His reaction was not nearly as important as my neighbor's reaction later that evening. "What you're doing is really crazy," she said, "and you need to go to Al-Anon."

It took me months to learn the truth: I didn't need to prove to the alcoholic how much I hurt. I needed to become aware of how much pain I was in. I needed to take care of myself.

That's only one of many incidents that shows the lengths I went to to control people. I was so good at seeing the behaviors, especially the out-of-control behaviors, of another. Yet I couldn't see unmanageability in my own life. I couldn't see myself. And I was trapped, locked into the victim role. People didn't just do things. They did things to me. No matter what happened, each event felt like a pointed attempt to do me in.

My ability to separate myself from others -- to separate my issues, my business, my affairs, and my responsibilities from the issues, business, affairs, and responsibilities of others -- was nonexistent, I blended into the rest of the world like an amoeba.

If someone needed something, I considered that need my personal and private responsibility, even if I was just guessing about what he or she needed. If someone had a feeling, it was my responsibility to work through it for him or her. If someone had a problem, it was mine to solve.

I didn't know how to say no. I didn't have a life of my own. I had a backlog of feelings from childhood, and chances were great that whatever I was reacting to today was probably a patterned reaction from childhood. Two weeks after I got married, I raced home from work, flung open the closet doors, and checked to see if my husband's clothes were still in the closet. I was certain I was going to be abandoned, left. I felt totally unlovable. And I didn't have the foggiest idea what it meant to own my power.

The base I operated from was fear, coupled with low self-esteem. I spent most of my time reacting to other people, trying to control them, allowing them to control me, and feeling confused by it all.

I thought I was doing everything right. Aren't people supposed to be perfect? Aren't people supposed to be stoic? Shouldn't we keep pushing forward, no matter how much it hurts? Isn't it good to give until it hurts, then keep giving until we're doubled over in pain? And how can we allow others to go about their life course? Isn't it our job to stop them, set them straight? Isn't that the right way, the good way, the Christian way?

The codependent way.

As many others have said about themselves, I wasn't me. I was whoever people wanted me to be, And I felt quite victimized and used up by it all. After years of practicing hard-line codependency, the unmanageability in my life was overwhelming. Some of my codependency I didn't understand until well into recovery.

When I began recovery I was more than $50,000 in debt, as a result of the unmanageability in my financial affairs. No amount was too great to be borrowed if it would help someone else.

My spirituality had been taxed to the limit. How many times had I prayed for God to change other people? How often had God refused? I thought God had abandoned me. I didn't know that I had abandoned myself. I didn't know that now that I was an adult, people couldn't abandon me. All they could do was leave.

In some instances, I may have been better off if they had.

My relationships with my children were chaotic. It's hard to be an effective parent when you're bound up in pain, denial, and repressed feelings and are regularly wishing for death.

My relationships with friends were strained. I had little to offer friends, except my perpetual complaints about the misery in my life. Most of my friendships centered around shared stories of victimization, interspersed with Rabelaisian humor to make it bearable.

"Guess who used me today?"

I had no feelings that I was aware of. I had no needs that I was aware of. I prided myself on my ability to endure needless suffering, deprive myself, and go without.

I neglected my career.

My health was failing. I spent years seeking medical treatment for nonspecific viruses. I had a hysterectomy. I had viral meningitis. I had gastritis. My back hurt. My head ached. Arthritis was beginning to settle in.

And I was only thirty-two years old.

Codependency is a powerful force. So is denial and the ability to ignore what is before our eyes. What's there has the power to hurt, especially when we feel helpless, vulnerable, frightened, and ashamed by it all.

STANLEY'S STORY

Stanley is a successful architect in his fi

Meet the Author

Melody Beattie, one of the seminal figures in the recovery movement, is the author of the international bestseller Codependent No More, which has sold over eight million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages. An expert on codependency, Beattie has written fifteen books, including include Beyond Codependency, The Language of Letting Go, and The Grief Club, and lectures worldwide. She lives in Southern California. For more information visit her website at www.melodybeattie.com.

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4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
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Francesca10 More than 1 year ago
When I would hear the words, "God never gives us more than we can handle" I got to the point where I called that person a liar. I worked this book in a Codependency Group, and continue to do so. I've made friends with others just like me, and we support one another through our problems. I feel like I am finally healing. I have learned so many things from this book. Chapter Four was the hardest to do, but it was the most healing. I truly feel free. Even though this book talks about God, it is still helpful if you don't believe in God. I am a Buddhist, and I just put my spirituality in place of the God factor in the book. When we worked the book in it's entirty, we start it all over again. This book has helped us with abusive situations, past rapes, child abuse in our past, and any other problem you can think of. I hope this review helps. I can't explain how happy I have been since I opened this book, read it, and did exactly what it told me to do. If you dig into your heart and come out with the honest truth, the truth WILL set you free. Love, Light & Miracles.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book both inspires us and provides us with direction in our lives. The author writes in such a gentle and inspiring way that you can not help but gather up your courage to break out of the chains that bind you to your past. The book also gives us very useful step by step guidelines about what we should do to grow out of the suffocating psychological walls we have built for ourselves. It is a fantastic book for anyone wanting to free themselves from their internal issues and move on with their lives! If you are interested in the theory of how all of this works, read 'The Ever-Transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato! It is an absolutely fantastic book that explains the psychological process that creates these negative states as well as the psychological process that enables us to grow out of them. These are the books that are presently guiding me to more and more freedom and happiness these days! I hope they do the same for you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I worked my 12-step program using the questions and readings in this book. What a difference in my life! I started all my sponsees out in this book! Easy to understand, and so much I could relate to !
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author gives a gentle explanations of the 12 steps for codependents. I read the book daily and my relationships have improved.