I’ve tried AA. I am absolutely an addict, but the formula didn’t work for me. There’s far too much blaming and finger pointing. I’ve no idea if that’s a common thing with those guys, but the philosophy was basically that if you have a substance abuse problem you’ve done a lot of bad stuff you need to atone for. I couldn’t go with that flow.
In the last meeting I attended, I actually said to them that I don’t feel I’ve done a load of evil things when I’ve been drunk. Not to anyone but myself. And I told them I’ve had a lot of wrong done to me. I need to come to terms with that before I can start blaming myself for how I am today.
I read a great post from Counselling TidBits yesterday on co-dependency. A few people have recommended CoDA meetings to me, but I wasn’t sure about it. I think we are all co-dependent to a degree, so why would going to a meeting about it be any use?
After a session with my therapist this week, I reflected on how I relate to people and looked up some definitions of co-dependency. It appears I fit the description rather too easily. Particularly within my family, I have some very maladaptive beliefs and behaviours. Here’s a paragraph from the CoDA website.
What is Co-Dependency?
“We came to accept our inability to maintain healthy and nurturing relationships with ourselves and others. We began to recognise that the cause lay in long-standing destructive patterns of living. We have found these patterns to fall into five major categories: denial, low self-esteem, compliance, control and avoidance.”
They’ve got an extensive tick list on the site that helps newcomers identify whether they exhibit any co-dependent patterns or characteristics. A lot of these resonated with me, too many to mention. Here are a few; low self-esteem, not feeling good enough, prioritising others, denying my own feelings and looking to others for a sense of safety. One that was really poignant for me was, ‘I give up my truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change’.
So I’m planning to attend my first CoDA meeting next week and discover what they’re like. I’m looking forward to finding out more, and hopefully discovering a fellowship I can really buy into.
The CoDA website lists all their meetings, so if you think it might be for you check out the meetings page here.