Sunday July 23rd 2017

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Can Codependence Be Overcome?

Getting Wrapped Up in Co-Dependence

How often do we get to the end of the day and realize that we have no idea what we did? Or get to the end of the week and have to think to ourselves,

“What was I doing four days ago?”

Months, years, lifetimes can go by like this and at the end of whatever period of time we have let lapse, all we can do is regret not having been more present in our lives for those moments that drifted by.

When you live with the co-dependence of addiction this can be even worse because so much time is spent wrapped up in the experience of the addict:

  • What are they doing?
  • Are they using?
  • Do they need me?
  • What can I do?
  • What should I say?

…Can I distract them or change them or get them to do something else? We spend so much time living in the life of the addict that we forget to live our own lives, and then – suddenly – it seems we have lost years of our lives.

Our Ideas About Control are False

I was recently talking with a friend who is the parent of an alcoholic. He told me he felt guilty every time he went on vacation because he was spending money he could give to his child for rehab. But at this point in his life, he was retired and wanted to go on vacation once a year or so.

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“What should I do?” he asked me.

My question back to him was, “What do you want to do?”

Over two decades, this friend has financed rehab dozens of times, spent countless hours collecting his child from the street, from bars, from jail, and now – in his late seventies – he finds himself unable to enjoy a vacation. His thinking? Maybe this time will be the time that fixes his child.

Co-dependence gives us the false sense that we have the power to control someone else…

… if we just do the right thing in exactly the right way. The problem is, that it isn’t true – we can’t control anyone else.

We can:

  • Manipulate
  • Cajole
  • Bribe
  • Extort

….but, ultimately, we lose ourselves by doing so.

How Do We Regain Control of Codependency?

So, how do we regain control over the one thing we can control – ourselves? How can we actually live life in the moment we are in?

Here’s my simple strategy:

  1. Check in with yourself.
  2. Determine where you are, and what that means to define what you can do in any given moment.
  3. It’s simple! Look down and answer the question: “Where are my feet?”

Where Are My Feet?

For my friend with the alcoholic child, the answer was ‘My feet are in my house, my child is far away, I can’t help right now so I need to stop dwelling on it.’

And that is the key – if you can’t change the circumstance because you are not there physically, then don’t be there mentally or emotionally.

Be where you are.

Check-in with your feet.

Anytime you feel yourself “just going through the motions,” stop and check your feet.

Anytime you get to the end of the day and don’t know what you did, commit to hourly check-ins the next day.

It is never to late to get yourself back into your life, and it is never to late to experience completely the moment that you are in.Check you feet and be there for the person who needs you most: you!

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About Maggie Harmon

Maggie Harmon is a writer, speaker, leadership coach and business consultant who approaches every engagement through a holistic understanding of the situation. Her consulting practice focuses on deeply understanding who or what you are and what you want to achieve, and from there helping to create a plan, develop tools, and access resources that let you get where it is you want to go, and do what you do, better! You can connect with her here or via Maggie's Blog.

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