Drawing Boundaries and Finding Myself Again-One woman shares her lessons on Co-dependency
I was asked to write this blog and I thought awhile as to what I would write about. I decided the best idea is to write about what you know. I know the most about Codependency as I started my journey in recovery with addressing Codependency.
I was married to a man who drank a lot. As my family didn’t drink, I didn’t know what was normal. At first the drinking was fun but after a while I realized I didn’t like it because I started to worry about how the night was going to end up. Would this be the night he drank too much? I tried to ignore the problem, deny it, and avoid talking about it. It didn’t go away. So I tried to find other more practical ways to handle it. I was his wife and believed it was up to me to do something about it.
My focus became how to try to control it and or him. I tried to cut him off when I thought he had enough. I tried getting mad or yelling at him. I tried pouring some of it down the drain. I tried to be a good wife so he wouldn’t have a reason to drink. The more I tried to control it and the worse our relationship became. He could always find a way to drink. We would fight about it from time to time. It didn’t stop. I worried about what others thought of the situation, him, and me. I felt inadequate, I didn’t know what to do but I was afraid to quit trying because what would happen if I wasn’t there to control it?
I did finally go for some counseling and learned that I was codependent and needed some help for myself and not just the person with the alcoholism in my life. I discovered I wasn’t crazy or a bad person. I was not responsible for his drinking problem. It wasn’t my place to be embarrassed by his drinking or try to control him or his drinking. I learned I was powerless to control someone else’s behavior and especially someone’s addiction to alcohol. I realized I spent too much time focusing on him and what he was doing or not doing. I wasn’t very happy with my life. I was scared and angry a lot.
I could relate to most of these symptoms. The first step was to recognize I had a problem too. I needed education which I was able to obtain through counseling, self-help books, and a ssupport group for family members and friends of people with substance abuse problems. Wow! They had a support group I could attend and people knew what it was like to struggle with trying to control the drinking. I obtained a sponsor who helped me through thick and thin including my divorce.
Over time I learned to control my controlling behavior by letting go. I learned to focus on myself. My self-esteem improved. I have more serenity in my life. I can still be co-dependent in other relationships. That tendency never goes away. I am able to recognize it for what it is and make changes as I need to.
* Co-dependency can also occur in relationships without Substance abuse involved.
*No Blogs were meant to substitute from seeking professional counseling or other assistance.
Guest Post: Aurora Community Counseling Wendy Prigge LSW-CSAC
Aurora Community Counseling was a partner (Honorary Sponsor) with TSOI from 2008- 2011