In November, I presented a session at the Carolinas Conference on Addiction and Recovery in Morganton, NC. My session was entitled “Working with Codependent Behaviors: Guiding Lights to Recovery.”
I had excellent participants in my session, most were professionals in the field of addiction, many likely in recovery. As we began, I asked why they selected this session on codependency and what they hoped to get out of it. Most responses were client related with desires to learn how to help family members resistant to changing their ways of enabling.
As our session progressed, however, our focus expanded from how to help our clients to how to help our self as we try to help them. I did not ask for anyone in the room to self-identify as codependent, but when you are with a group of professional caretakers there is likely to be a good number of people whose behaviors can be codependent.
And this became clearer as we talked further about our own efforts to fix and change our clients: stories of getting frustrated, of getting upset, of doing things to persuade and convince them to do what we think they should do.
We smiled and laughed at ourselves as we saw how our own codependence wants to fix someone else’s codependence without our even noticing and working on our own codependent behaviors. Such an unproductive and perhaps destructive tangle.
And such an opportunity for growth, at least then in that room, as we saw even more clearly the need to study these guiding lights to codependency recovery first for our Self.