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Co-Dependents Anonymous
Lessons On Living: Biblical Perspectives

Co-Dependents anonymous or (CoDA) is an organization that was originally founded in 1986 by a man and women names Ken and Mary (Co-Dependents Anonymous, 1995). Ken and Mary were originally from Phoenix, Arizona and were part of an AA type fellowship for their codependent behaviors. The sole purpose of this program is to follow a similar step as a typical AA meeting would. The program follows 12 steps in which a person admits his or her problems and eventually confronts their issues and turn their relationship into one that is healthy. It is designed to help individuals feel that they are co-dependent or possibly in an unhealthy relationship. Although this program is not setup to cure individuals, its objective is to give the individual a chance to accept that they have a problem, then face it, and find a way to rectify it. Until this can happen the person may remain unhappy and could not only be hurting themselves, but hurting those who matter most in their lives. After conducting my research on co-dependency, I chose to attend a twelve-step group meeting on co-dependency. The meeting was held at the city public library on a Wednesday evening by the organization, Co-Dependency Anonymous. I was expecting to walk into a room with chairs formed in a circle, but there were individual desks set up facing a white board. I took a seat towards the back of the room. The meeting was being held by a woman by the name of Susan. Susan introduced herself and explained to me she has recovered from co-dependency behaviors. She accepted the fact that she did hold those behaviors and that she needed to do something about them before it ate her away. She was very confident and comfortable explaining her situation to me. Three other individuals showed up for the meeting. Susan started shortly after 7:00p.m. Susan stated, “Good evening! Thank you for attending our meeting. It looks as though we have a small, intimate group. This will be perfect for tonight’s session. Please go around and introduce yourself.” An older gentlemen started, “Hello. My name is Jeremy. This is my second meeting.” Next was a teenage girl who said, “Hi. My name is Lauren. This is my first meeting.” I introduced myself after Lauren by saying, “Hi. My name is Krystalin and this is my first meeting.” Another male between the ages of 22 years old to 25 years old introduced himself, “My name is TJ. This is my eighth meeting.” Susan stood in front of the white board and began, “We are all here for the same reason: co-dependency. Whether it is because something we are suffering from, something we want to know more about, or something we are trying to figure out we may have. The topic of co-dependency is what brings us together this evening. Co-dependency is commonly defined as an addiction to controlling. It is learned habits of a dysfunctional family or relationship. These people are driven to be people pleasers and only end up hurting themselves: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and financially. It is an identity problem, behavioral problem, and relationship problem. The biggest and most silent form of addiction in the world is co-dependency. Co-depend people do not have a physical object they turn to such as alcohol, illicit drugs, pornography, and so on. Co-depend people wear a giant sign that says “Come to me. I am a rescuer. I will help you.” As a co-depend person myself, I surround myself with people who demanded help or to be rescued and I felt like it was my duty and responsibility to fix them. A co-depend person is willing to neglect themselves because it is more important to have a relationship with someone in their life - whether it be an intimate, friendship, or parent-child relationship.” Susan walked around the room and handed each of us a sheet of paper. The paper had 20 yes or no questions on it. She instructed that she would read the question out loud and we needed to write down yes or no in response to our personal answer. I will list the series of questions with my personal response below:
1. Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments? Yes
2. Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you? Yes
3. Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem? Yes
4. Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you? Yes
5. Are the opinions of others more important than your own? No
6. Do you have difficulty adjusting to changes at work or home? No
7. Do you feel rejected when significant others spend time with friends? No
8. Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be? No
9. Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings to others? No
10. Have you ever felt inadequate? Yes
11. Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake? Yes
12. Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts? Yes
13. Do you feel humiliation when your child or spouse makes a mistake? No
14. Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts? Yes
15. Do you frequently wish someone could help you get things done? No
16. Do you have difficulty talking to people in authority, such as the police or your boss? No
17. Are you confused about who you are or where you are going with your life? No
18. Do you have trouble saying “no” when asked for help? Yes
19. Do you have trouble asking for help? Yes
20. Do you have so many things going at once that you can’t do justice to any of them? No Susan did not have us share our responses with one another. She just asked us to count how many yes and no responses we had. I had 10 yes responses and 10 no responses. Split right down the middle which had me evaluating my actions and thoughts in regards to co-dependency. While we were answer our questions Susan wrote on the white board, “Recovery: 1. Abstinence from your primary addiction. 2. Awareness. 3. Acceptance. 4. Action.” She explained each step into farther detail. Susan said, “The recovery process of co-depend behaviors begin with abstinence from those who seek your attention, love, affection, acknowledgement, and finances. These are the people that are sucking the life out of you. You must separate yourself from them emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially. The second part of the recovery process is being aware of your feelings and the way others make you feel. Co-depend people have a need to make those around them happy or to better them in some way. This need must be recognized. Once the problem is recognized, the individual will enter the acceptance phase of recovery. In the acceptance phase, one will accept and understand why they feel a certain way towards people in different relationships. The final stage of recovery is the action phase. This phase consists of making healthy changes to relationships to get rid of co-dependent behaviors. Does anyone have any questions in regards to the recovery process?” There was no question. Every person in the room was taking notes. She Build Self-Esteem
Build Self-Esteem continued on by drawing a pyramid.

Know Yourself
Know Yourself
Take Risks
Take Risks

Susan stated, “The pyramid of positive recovery begins with knowing yourself. By knowing yourself, you have successfully gone through the beginning of the recovery process: abstinence, awareness, acceptance, and action. Once you begin to know yourself, you will build self-esteem. With self-esteem comes self-confidence. You will feel good about yourself. You will be able to say no and accept that you cannot help everyone. Eventually, enough self-esteem will be built that you will begin to take risks. You will try something new or different. Meet new people. Once you accomplish or even fail a risk you take, you will learn something new about yourself and the process begins again. It is a positive feedback loop that will go on and on. It is a healthy recovery process. Tonight’s session focused on the steps towards recovery and the recovery process. Next week we will focus on our individual battles and experiences we face with co-dependent behaviors. Thank you for attending. I look forward to seeing you next week.” Susan gave everyone a hug as the exited the classroom. Within the last year, I have had feelings of anxiety and overwhelmed towards my own personal relationships. I spoke with a behavioral specialist who actually suggested I research and possibly attend a co-dependency program. This assignment gave me the strength to finally do so. I have constantly been told I give too much towards others, I care too much, I love with everything and look for nothing in return. I showed these behaviors in all of my relationships: my family, my business relationships, my friendships, and my intimate relationships. At times I felt as though I was unappreciated or was not good enough so I continued to try harder to make others happy. It was a constant battle strictly against myself. After attending CoDA, I can honestly say I do have co-dependent behaviors and most importantly - I would like to fix them and take control of my relationships with others. People come to me because they know I will do whatever it takes to make them happy. I have often forfeited my own success, happiness, and sanity for others. I have never looked at it as a bad thing. I always believed in treating others as I wished to be treated. That thought has been explained and taught to us from Jesus and the Bible. But I now understand that there is a fine line that must be used to separate healthy and unhealthy relationships. The thought of bringing happiness of others should not consume my every thought, action, or motive. I can have the feeling of wanting to help others, but I cannot help anyone until I have helped myself. One can be selfish and selfless and it is necessary to live a healthy, well-balanced life. After my first CoDA meeting, I stayed to speak with Susan. I explained to her the assignment I was completely for school and also my own personal actions and feelings in regards to co-dependency. She reassured me I was in the right place to gain strength, knowledge, and growth. I have attended three meetings so far. I continue to go every week. I followed up with my behavioral specialist and educated her on all the knowledge and information I have gained from attending these sessions. Although my co-dependency behaviors are not as severe as others, I did not want it leading into something bigger. I am grateful to have been asked to complete this assignment. It has allowed me to face my own troubles and fears. I am now more confident and stronger than ever before. I have already noticed a difference within my relationships. I feel more appreciated and understanding of myself and my own feelings. I do continue to help others around me, but not to the extent I used to before. Co-dependency is an addictive behavior that can be treated, but you must be willing to accept that your behavior needs to be changed. Once you have reached acceptance and have a will to move forward, you will not regret it.

Codependents Anonymous (1995). Codependents Anonymous. Phoenix, AZ: Codependents Anonymous, Inc. p. 593. ISBN 0-9647105-0-1.
Lancer, D. (n.d.). Symptoms of Codependency | Psych Central. Psych

Retrieved February 11, 2014, from…...

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