One Day in the Life of Recovery from Codependence
Restructuring My Written Recovery Universe
Coming back to this Hub Process after 4+ years has brought up a wide variety of new complications to confront before completing any updates of original material. My last update produced so many complications it took 6 weeks to overcome blocks and complete a transformation – and it STILL doesn’t quite feel finished. Fortunately that process provided me with a truck load of new material to write about and I look forward to telling that story soon. This next update is a bit easier but is still stuck with some aberrant hurdles to jump over before I reach its new conclusion. It appears I am now being called to reconsider my whole Hub structure.
The first complication is this original posting was generated from a preceding handwritten journaling practice for a “homework exercise” for one of my CoDA meetings. I was fortunate enough to be present in the early stages of the telephone fellowship portion of Codependents Anonymous and the formation of many brand new meetings. 2 of which began within 6 months of each other and were writing studies based on Conference Approved CoDA Literature. At the time I was still regularly attending both meetings and doing the homework. Today I am still attending the latter, having only missed a handful of meetings since August 2010. That meeting is based only on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions Workbook. Only 2 sentences or 1 question is read in order from the book as the topic per meeting, and then 8 minutes of silence is provided for writing on only those sentences or questions. We proceed that way alternating between each step the subsequent tradition. This timed writing element on such a small component really works for me and has provided my first genuinely authentic in-depth journey into recovery. It was so in-depth that I chose not to continue with the original meeting because that was just too much core material to upload while also dealing with so many fresh losses, poor health and other disruptive midlife issues.
The original meeting started 6 months prior in February 2010 and would offer a homework assignment every 2 weeks, also in order, each one including 2 questions from the 12 & 12 workbook and one short segment from the CoDA Book or CoDA “Blue” Book, as it is affectionately called. Those readings and writings being much more in-depth, would then be the topic of the next week’s meeting. Looking back now I recall I had actually stopped working assignments in that meeting very early on but briefly resumed it in October of that year because we were doing ongoing group conscious business meetings right afterward to decide on the formation of another new set of daily meditation “check in” meetings. I attended that meeting for about 6 weeks and did the homework exercises from my hand written spiral bound recovery notebook. On a sudden whim that one day, since I had just started my online presence and hadn’t gotten back to it, I thought why not go upstairs and type this one out as a blog?
Unexpected things have a tendency to emerge and wander off into new directions, especially when my writing is preceded by prayer, and such is the way of this next complication. At the time I felt this new material had some different themes and needed its own Hub, so I haphazardly created this one thinking I would continue my homework exercises as online blogs, going back and transcribing my earlier hand written exercises in order so the whole process can be visible in context of a transformational Step and Tradition journey. Therefore, I prefer not to interfere with the original written journal response in any way other than editing grammar and typos and perhaps inserting more advanced sentence structure. Believing then that my other handwritten entries were not far behind, I also preferred to keep them in sequence and in context of the original CoDA Literature segments.
Unfortunately, things came to a screeching halt after the online chat breakdown and that days meeting and group conscience. That day I signed up for a service position working with another member and the CoDA online meeting coordinator to determine the written definition for that meeting before it could get officially posted online, and after the daily meetings were established. This took many months and shortly after its completion, I got a part time job and my online universe was indefinitely sidetracked. But not before this posting became “featured” in short order and through no conscious intent or foresight on my part. That day’s whole posting and its fruits became just a brief, but happy accident soon forgotten.
However I did continue the Tuesday night meeting, and almost a year later, bought a new laptop and began doing my 8 minutes of timed writing in the little “Blog” templates in my updated Word 2010 program. That template has an option to publish the complete blog directly online, but as of yet I have not been able to figure out how to add “Hub Pages” to those live options. Additionally it is very difficult to complete editing in 8 minutes especially while during that meeting hour I want to hear others’ shares and express my own input to experience to fullest measure of that particular recovery offering. By the time the meeting is over, it’s 8pm; I’m tired and want to wind down with some dinner and “NCIS”. You better believe Tony DiNozzo has been an integral part of my self-care during these past few years of intense loss and loneliness!
Subsequently, 43 months, 3 Steps and 3 Traditions have passed and a large collection of unpublished blog capsules have been amassed and I still have an idea in the back of my mind that I would not only still like to publish them all in order, bur create a new Hub for each Step and Tradition. Each capsule is very short and similar having fallen into the same 8 minute time interval and by the time I get to the end of the 12th Tradition I can look back and have much new insight to add to that earlier reflection. At the end of each Step and Tradition we also do a general retrospective of all our growth in recovery gained in that portion’s journey and mine has been profound. Mine has also been a bit limited because I always have the idea I’m going to go back and review all the text and questions along with my written reflections as a whole to give a more detailed a complete conclusion and never do. Long-term illness, fatigue, hunger and “NCIS” are powerful alternate motivators indeed! Perhaps that particular type of review would be a great way to publish them all now retrospectively.
Therefore, contemplating all these unexpected developments, I am hard pressed to update this one capsule in the way I sense Hub Pages would prefer. As I said, I do not want to disrupt the integrity of the original writing, or its invisible context of the whole 12 Step journey to this point. Even so I can look back at this posting as an early successful attempt at my online writing career and how my life was being shaped back then. Today I see a least 7 important themes and their offshoots present in this early writing that are STILL present and essential in my life and writing today. Every one of these is deserving of its own complete capsule reflection, hence today’s reflection will be limited to this brief summary. In fact, not only are ALL the particular issues of: Facebook chats with the Former Boyfriend; disruptive computer problems, my storage unit and its profound emotional trigger to my father and the consequential impact on my routines; my upstairs loft, desk and financial paper clutter; my continually evolving chronic illness; the emotional and financial importance of my online hub presence and how all of that is material to recognize my relationship with a Higher Power and releasing responsibility for others continue to be active up to this very month, but also every one of these issues blew up as a huge event last summer creating some inordinately deep uprooting of many personal character defects and extremely profound creative new insight regarding a need for new ways to apply my program to my family situation and chronic illness and recovery service work. WHEW! These events were so influential last year that I can’t help but see the recurring nature of them from the previous 4 years is very likely also a reflection of the mighty astrological transits previously spoken of. Not only do I feel that each one of these individual issues deserves a minimum of one detailed and thorough retrospective capsule reflection, but it is also time to open my Recovery Through Astrology Hub. An individual review of my history with every one of these midlife transits over these past 10 years could clearly be yet another inventory for repetitive wound patterns I am stuck on or hopefully growing thru as guided by my HP.
Topic from Coda 12 Steps and 12 Traditions Workbook Step 1; p9
Today’s Meeting: 3:30p November 14, 2010 original post:
"We Admitted we were powerless over others- that our lives has become unmanageable."
“We begin to recognize a Higher Power. As we let go, we begin to release responsibility for others."
" 'Begin to' is the operative phrase here. Wow today is a good example. After literally years, then months, of trying to resume our email dialogue, I finally began today. I prayed as I always do before I sit down at my desk to work, to the Archeia Charity, the feminine aspect of the Angel of Love, to help me have a balanced love of self, a balanced extension of myself to others and for help to facilitate a smooth flow of my daily tasks. Usually this works well for me; today we (The Former Boyfriend and I) got started on a Facebook chat. I felt really stressed out after all the week’s events with my father and the storage locker, and just put that out there. I asked if we could start lighter, melt the ice a little and we both warmed up to a good honest dialog of feelings. Then my computer crapped out. The old, slow machine started freezing up and all kind of weird things happened, putting a stop to the whole chat just it was getting really good. By that I mean I was finally feeling the emotional connection with him to the substance I had needed for so long. I posted a message on his Facebook and I didn't even know I got a response- it went to his wall for some reason. I have no idea what happened to the last long message I posted. Eventually his response demonstrated that he is taking it in stride. "I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason" I suppose so. That seems to be the message from the Angel Board all year anyway. Don't push it. OK. However, I still have some residue of—well, still feeling very loaded up from all of my unexpressed feelings over the past 2 years of unresolved grief for the horrific way this whole thing ended with us. I always felt he took an overly casual approach to the deep, difficult emotional conflicts: an act of avoidance causing me to hold all the pain and seriousness of the relationship. The problem is, one of my long term emotional patterns in romantic relationships to experience getting “cut off” at the exact moment when the deep heartfelt connection is just beginning to manifest with that person. I’ve come to believe this is a result of being put up for adoption to an alcoholic family at 8 weeks of age: the age when the attachment process is already under way. Later of course that evolved into a compulsion to being attracted to other alcoholics and addicts who are themselves addicted to “instant intimacy.” My intimacy process was always very long, a much healthier approach in my opinion, so when that did not happen “instantly” they were gone in flash, just like in that Rolling Stones song from the 90’s: “One Hit to the Body.” But in recovery I’m supposed to be getting past these patterns and that day we were both showing up to deal with the hard stuff in a loving way. It seems so unlikely that “Higher Power” would intentionally create a situation we were both powerless over to cut that off again. Not only did that really hurt a lot and brought all that old stuff back up again, it manifested a health flare-up that kept me from resuming this blog process, right after I finally got that started as well. There must be a reason not to continue this now, in spite of the frequency of my prayers.
Perhaps this block is meant to bring my focus back to the need for attending to the greater priority of a relationship with myself and the many personal needs that are my own responsibility to meet. Finally now I have started 2 blogs for my deepest innermost feelings about my whole life and that feels good, not to mention finally being able to read Eat Pray Love. That book is such a great thing for me right now, as it mirrors all my feelings about so many elements of my life. So I am beginning, but don't know yet if I feel the release. Then again, I've been hurt a lot these past few weeks over conflicts with very close important people in my life and may need some downtime to let my feelings settle- 72 hours after the conflict is over. I have been praying on those and getting response and support from “Higher Power.” Maybe that is enough to count for practicing this part of Step One. My ultimate goal is to have a deep journal response to the First Step material in this book and feel a sense of absolute confidence that I have mastery and automatic response of admitting powerlessness to all my struggles with a sense of clear thinking and CONSCIOUSNESS towards my actual awareness of my daily effort of putting these simple tools into action, especially with my family and all my affairs before moving on to Step Two. It's getting a lot better. Although, with all of my health issues, including so much brain fog, I still feel nowhere near this goal.
I will say I did get all the clutter and financial papers on my desk cleared up and organized: another very good baby step forward. The path is opening to return to my regular finances at my desk, get a reading in here tomorrow and start the process of moving some other furniture and files up here, facilitating the whole storage issue.
Also, I got a letter from my dad this morning responding to the whole storage locker mess this week. When it comes to family and doctors’, working from the written word is so much more effective for me; the talking just never seems to work. So I can respond to his written word and feel more progress and gratitude from that. This is a start to releasing him."
What is a general summary I can offer now in reflection of how this whole retrospective has given me greater insight to my recognition of a Higher Power and how this has helped me let go of responsibility to others, if indeed I have let go of such responsibility? For starters, the very fact that all of these issues that I forgot about in this writing are still relevant now is a sign to me that I MUST recognize a power greater than myself. Clearly I was not in charge but something higher than me was to for all these things to have passed important stages of resolution and be forefront in my mind after “forgetting” so much of it. Also, it turns out at the time of the 2010 writing; The Former Boyfriend was actually in a serious relationship with someone else, who for some reason was giving him permission to devote a whole afternoon a week ~on their special day together~ to me and a Facebook chat. Those technical difficulties were my angels’ way of telling me NOT to pursue that dialogue at that time. No matter how much it hurt to be separated from him and put that discussion off, it would have been infinitely more painful for 3 people to voluntarily enter into a disastrous codependent triangle when HE was clearly blind to the pain it would cause the rest of us. HP was protecting me for sure on that because in 2012 I met HER at the CODA World Service Conference and later discovered they were longer dating at that time. I knew that I could only be with him or even dialogue with him when he was emotionally available and that any ending to their relationship could only be for matters NOT relating to any direct involvement of myself. At that conference I had made a testimony in a workshop about recovery and loss of love while unbeknownst to me she was sitting right behind me! In the next day’s workshop, I did a 4th and 5th inventory to him while she was in the room. A few days after I arrived home, I saw that he had just reached out to me on Facebook to plan a visit to see me and he didn’t even tell me for a several more weeks that they were broken up and it wasn’t really any of business. Defensive much? Talk about POWERFUL. That could ONLY be Higher Power, baby!
The most important thing now is seeing how all of these issues were getting in the way of me putting ALL of my attention on pursuing treatments to restore my health. And getting physically healthy had to happen before I could have a healthy and loving relationship with myself, which has to happen before I could have healthy and loving relationships with others… no matter who or what type of relationship they may be. In this last year of putting my health and my self-care first, I am finally seeing how that means I must let go of what others need or project on to me. Talk about something that is HARD to do!! It may be a bit easier to grasp as a purely intellectual concept, but actually doing it in a deep feeling experiential way just takes a really long time and for me is happening in small doses. These doses come with recognizing the presence and work of my Higher Power and the realization that She and only She is responsible for all the people I’m in relationship with and I must release all of them to HER.