I lost one of my best friends recently. Sugar. Sugar has been there for me every day since I got sober from alcohol. In early sobriety, in rehab, I couldn’t get enough of Tootsie Rolls. Those little individually wrapped brown chunks of bliss. At one point, I had my mom smuggling them in to me knowing I wasn’t allowed to have outside food in the rehab facility. (Yes, I eventually told on myself. Imagine how ridiculous that conversation was!) And up until last month, after a long day, I knew whatever my current sweet fix happened to be, would be there for me before I went to bed. For a long time, I wondered exactly how I was going to stop eating so much of it. Once, I even asked an expert in recovery for advice after attending his seminar. His answer was, “When you find out, let me know.”
Now it’s been over a month since I’ve had a piece of candy or dessert. I have not had much in the way of processed carbs at all. I’m working a weight loss program that teaches a healthier lifestyle. I’m not sure why I chose now to start. I’m not a big resolution maker. I didn’t have any dire health issues that necessitated cutting out sugar. I just felt like it was time to try. I definitely prayed for the willingness to try. And now I’m soooo glad I did.
The weight loss so far is great, yes, but, if you can believe it, that’s not the main reason I’m excited. I now KNOW I don’t HAVE to eat sugar every day. I know that even if I don’t stick to this eating plan forever or even for much longer, I can eventually get my sugar habit under control. I now have HOPE.
HOPE is also what I gained from learning about and working through some of my codependency issues and that makes all the difference.
It’s A New Day
The first two parts of this blog series explained what living with codependency was like for me and what happened. So what is it like now, you ask? Melody Beattie wrote a follow up book to “Codependent No More” called “Beyond Codependency,” and the easiest way to describe my life today is to paraphrase her description. I now try to detach instead of control; set boundaries instead of allowing others to hurt me; I respond instead of react; I have gained perspective over tunnel vision; and now I practice problem solving instead of worrying and obsessing over my issues. Today, I feel, accept and express my feelings, and am learning to ask for what I need and want. I have stopped caretaking. I don’t try to be perfect anymore, nor do I put people on pedestals expecting perfection of them. Most importantly, I am learning to hand other people’s “stuff” back to them, their “problems, nonsense, and insanity,” as Melody says. I no longer have to internalize the negative emotions of others, allowing them to become my own. I’m no longer a victim. I stand up for myself today. I’m good to myself. I love myself. (Whaaat?? Me?) Yup. But, none of this would be possible if I didn’t finally accept myself as I am and the fact that I deserve as much happiness as I wish for others.
It’s Not Always Sunny But I Can Still Shine
I’m free today. I feel as if I have a life now and that it’s my own. I’m no longer living for other people. That of course, does not mean I have conquered all my issues. Actually, I think I’ve barely scratched the surface. I don’t handle each situation perfectly, and that is quite alright. Every interaction is a chance to do things differently than I would have before recovery. As with every aspect of growth and change that I’ve heard of, particularly in recovery, the process is “two steps forward and one step back.” Melody calls this cycle of growth and setback, “recycling.” I am doing a lot of this recycling in my recovery from codependency, and that’s ok!
Guys, this is just the beginning for me. I can’t wait to share with you my future challenges and victories. I know there will be both.
How are you overcoming codependency? Let us know by adding a comment below or posting to our Facebook page!
Want these blogs in your inbox? Subscribe Here!