be true to yourself

by Terrie C.

I am a trauma survivor.  I had difficulty feeling like I belonged in my family.  I have struggled most of my life to feel like I belong.  I feel fear in meetings because I choose not to identify myself as a codependent.  And, I know, that to be true to myself, that is the right choice for me.  I feel like that would keep me in that definition, and it is not who I am.  Codependent behaviors are survival responses.  It is a mask to belong.  I feel like if I am honest about that with others in the program, I will be on the outside yet again.  And yet the program gives us permission to take what we like and leave the rest.  It gives us permission to name our own definition of our higher power.  I know these things, and yet the fear persists. 

I have loved the Recovery Patterns of Codependence since I first saw them.  Early in my first year in CoDA, I was still seeing the left side as something bad about myself and loved that there was an affirmation on the right side to help me stop those behaviors. 

Over this last year as I have been doing more work on trauma and learning more of the science of it while also doing work on self-compassion and kindness, I am coming to a different understanding of that left side.  I am seeing how awesome we all are that we did survive!  That we were never bad.  Children conclude that if they are being traumatized it is their own fault. I am learning to honor my survival and that of all others who suffer. 

Hug your demons or they will bite you in the ass.

Pia Melody

What if we began to look at our codependent behaviors not as something to rid ourselves of, but as something that we can use to understand our young selves when growing up in families that did not allow us to be our true selves? 

What if, by understanding our young self, we could begin to have more compassion for why we had to develop behaviors that helped us survive in our families? 

What if, by developing that understanding we could embrace that young person who became codependent and now as an adult must learn something new? 

What if, we became aware of how hard our lives have been and began to use tools that helped us to not have it so hard as we go forward? 

What if we begin to know that codependent behavior was protection for our own survival? 

And, what if through that understanding we begin to affirm how amazing we are that we survived and know at the same time that change is necessary to be in healthy relationships to be able to thrive in our lives now?

For me, the affirmations on the RIGHT side of the Recovery Patterns give me a tool that enhances and accelerates my own recovery. 

And I affirm that I do not have to do it the hard way, which for me has been asking my higher power to remove things that are survival responses to trauma.  I do not use the words that feel more traumatizing and changed those words in writing a substitute for them more than 30 years ago. 

In RECOVERY, we affirm that others who learned new things that went before us have laid a path for us to stop suffering and make it easier for us to follow them. Years ago, 1989 in fact, a therapist told me that I was often choosing the bumpy road.  She was right!  It was the following year that I wrote the language into my own recovery tool to help myself heal in a way that felt kinder to myself. 

For me, the Recovery Patterns of Codependence is just such a tool!  Affirmations have been written to guide us like a map to behavior that can identify what behaviors are not working for our lives and an affirmation to help us heal the “untrue to ourself” behavior and replace it with a new choice that we don’t have to spend years figuring out!  The path laid before our time! 

And, once we have begun a practice of identifying these patterns, we can become more adept at writing ones that may be more specific to ourselves that may not be included on the list of 55!

Pia Melody says hug your demons or they will bite you in the ass.  Codependent behaviors are our demons! And like demons they had protective purpose. 

May the Recovery Patterns of Codependence ENHANCE your own road to healing! Affirmations help us change what we believe about ourselves! 

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF!