Last week I had the pleasure of participating in and presenting at the Carolinas Conference on Addiction and Recovery in Morganton, NC. Thanks to Jim Van Hecke and all those who work with him to offer this 13th Annual Conference. Much good work is being done there in the Carolinas in treating addictions.
My presentation was “When You’ve Lost Your Self in Someone Else: Working with the Dynamics of Codependence.” This is a topic familiar and close to my heart. It is also a topic which does not get as much attention at an addictions conference as most other topics. I am always glad for conference organizers who do recognize the importance of treating codependence in order to treat addictions, and I am always glad for the participants who choose to come to my session for they, too, are acknowledging its importance.
With all of this in mind, as I prepared for my session, I decided to write the following on my flip chart for participants to read as we started:
“I do not believe codependence is an old topic. I believe it remains a new topic, one with much that we do not yet understand and accept, and the many ways that it affects our lives and the lives of others.”
I have reached this statement of belief after having studied this topic both personally and professionally, written Disentangle, done numerous workshops and retreats on the topic, and examined the current professional literature on codependence.
Codependence does remain a step-child topic in the fields of addiction and mental health. But it is, in fact, a very real constellation of behaviors, which can profoundly affect our lives. I was recently having a casual conversation with a colleague on this topic who said, “Codependence is everywhere.”
I see that our loss of self in others depletes us, frustrates us, and can leave us stuck in bad feelings and emotions. I believe it is good to know a way out of this.
More blogs will follow offering further information on this topic and ideas to help us free our self.