Are You Kidding Me

“It hits you in the stomach. The feeling fills you up-that gut-twisting hang wringing anxiety that is so familiar to..… It is what causes us to do much of what we do that hurts ourselves. It is the substance worry and obsession feed upon. It is fear at its worse. Fear usually comes and goes, leaving us in flight ready to fight, or just temporarily frightened. But anxiety hangs in there. It grips the mind, paralyzing it all but for its own purposes- an endless rehashing of the same useless thoughts. It is the fuel that propels us into controlling behaviors of all sorts.. We can think of nothing but keeping the lid on things, controlling the problem, and making it go away.” This is an excerpt from “Codependent No More” by Melanie Beatty.

I used to have these dreams where I would be under water and I was struggling to get to the top so I could get air. Somewhere in my desperation for air I would take a breath and I could breathe; I could breathe water. I was no longer struggling to get to the top for air. I would just swim around and enjoy my surroundings. I knew I still needed air but there was no urgency.
I think recovery can be sort of like that. When you are involved in the addictive behavior you are desperate for air. You spend time seeking alternatives to air because the struggle for air is too painful and scary. Are you going to survive-make it. It takes up mental energy that just isn’t to be found. When you quit, its like being able to breath under water, you know things are still not right but its better than using and its kind of nice to hang out there awhile. I think the second part of recovery is like the journey to get air after you’ve found you can breathe under water. It’s necessary to sustain life but it’s still a struggle to get there. So you can kind of avoid the struggle for a bit until it starts to get you in trouble again. The second part of recovery is emotional healing and learning healthy life skills or unlearning all of the unhealthy, destructive behaviors/ attitudes, etc. Sometimes we can believe that stopping the addiction is all that is needed.

Personally, I went from being addicted to a substance to trying to survive being married to an addict and then to having a family member that was an addict.. I learned how to act like everything was okay. I learned how to clean up the messes. I learned how to fade away. It was no longer me that lived in the body suit that used to house my soul.

I love reading. I love everything about it.
I love the smell of a new book; the feel of the pages; the way the binder creaks.
The first day of school was always exciting to me because I couldn’t wait to see what new books I would be getting.
Having said all of that, I am currently reading six books.
The 6th book I added to my current reading list is one I swore to myself that I would never read. In my mind the book was for other people; it had nothing to do with me. The people that recommended it to me just really didn’t understand me
It’s about a topic that makes my stomach turn when I hear the word. Codependency.

If I had the choice to be called addict or codependent, I would much rather be referred to as an addict. I mean they are both pretty much the same thing. It’s just that one is less obvious. So, I have to rationalize the similarity because I am just not ready to come completely out of denial yet. The mental image I have in my head of a codependent just doesn’t fit me.
Its kind of crazy but I won’t hesitate to tell someone that I was once an addict but to say that I am codependent.  Are you kidding me?  I don’t think that will ever call myself codependent. I’ll come up with a new word.
I will admit though that I do have MANY  symptoms of a codependent.
I was shocked at what gave me the realization.
I read a chapter about attachment issues in Melody Beatty’s book and it was all about ME.
So, I have discovered that I am still swimming around under the water and I need to come up for air – I need recovery from all of the unhealthy ways of living that have kept me so empty of myself.
I now know where the addiction hijackers took me. I have been living in the basement of codependency for a very long time.
I am going to start swimming up out of the water to get air and get life back in me.
To be honest, I think it will be much harder than it was to stop using. It’s quite frightening.

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