(this one’s for Mindy)
hello, my name is Christie. i’m a co-dependent.
in college, i remember doing a presentation for my first upper-level English class. we were to present our argument for the themes we found in the plays we were assigned. i read, i explored commentary, i prepped out the wa-zoo. in the end, my part of the speaking lasted a long less than it was supposed to, but i did an excellent job answering my classmate’s questions.
that’s how i feel about writing this blog post.
it’s been weeks, months even, and although i’ve had nearly a dozen topics i’d like to write about, for some reason i’ve shied away from actually putting finger to keyboard. i didn’t think i had much to actually say until a dear friend asked a question this morning during our run, and i found myself going on for nearly 2 miles with my answer.
so, here i am, making the jump and realizing that if i begin anywhere, it would likely have to start with the confession above. every week, if i’m able, i sit cross-legged in a circle with a bunch of “brave comrades”–alcoholics, those affected by alcoholics, and addicts of every kind. each week, we introduce ourselves, and work toward some kind of healing by sharing our stories and words of hope and encouragement with one another.
then it’s on the mat for some downward dog and sun salutations. that’s right, we have a meeting based on the 12-steps then do an hour of yoga together.
i’ve never experienced anything so healing.
listening to this group of people speak so openly about their issues, to hear them share their stories of recovery and failure and success with boldness and, most importantly, without shame….i found what i had always longed to find in the church: a place i could be myself.
“co-dependency” never meant much to me, until i realized i was one. so many have asked what that means, and i can only speak from my perspective, though there are a whole host of characteristics. for me, being a co-dependent means i frequently overextend myself for others, don’t often know where i end and others begin, tend to find my identity in my relationships, and struggle to take care of myself.
owning my co-dependency has definitely been it’s own kind of struggle; i even choked up a bit the first time i introduced myself to the group.
because our group is a sister to the 12-step meetings alcoholics/narcotics anonymous follow, there is a lot of bleed-over in terms of advice and, most importantly slogans. two of these slogans are: “hit the pause button” and “if it’s hysterical, it’s historical.” these two phrases have become incredibly important to me, especially in my current relationship. when i find myself about to react in my old ways–misunderstand, shut-down emotionally, etc.–i hear the new voices say “hit the pause button.” in other words, take a breath. stop thinking. remove yourself from the situation, if necessary. breathe again. and again. and again. until you’ve calmed down and figured out what’s happening.
the second slogan, “if it’s hysterical, it’s historical,” is a great way of remembering that our pasts have a way of causing irrational responses in our current days. when we were little people, things happened to us that caused wounds. this is the same for most childhoods, no matter how healthy the situation. as little people, tho, we did not have the rationality to accurately understand what was happening.
as adults, we constantly encounter situations that touch those old wounds and, instead of admitting it hurts, we get “hysterical”–crying, yelling, etc. it’s important to remember that the present situation is usually not the true cause for our reaction, and that we must dig deep to find that old spot that needs healing.
although seemingly small things, i am so thankful that these little tools help me in my relationship with B. already, i have had to employ them to keep from perpetuating the cycles started with my grandparents and beyond. cycles of bitter argument followed by withholding of affection and other forms of harsh treatment. i desire, more than anything, to learn to love, first myself and then those around me in gentle, nurturing ways.
hello, i’m christie, and i’m healing. one day at a time.