My 2 1 2 Year Old Is Out Of Control The Three Pieces of the Codependency Recovery Puzzle – Are You Missing One of the Pieces?

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The Three Pieces of the Codependency Recovery Puzzle – Are You Missing One of the Pieces?

Just over five years ago my life was in complete turmoil. I was in a marriage with an out of control addict. I lost virtually all of my possessions due to my husband pawning anything valuable to support his habit, and we were on the verge of foreclosure. I felt emotionally and physically destroyed. I really couldn’t find anything in my life to be happy about. I felt completely helpless.

After nearly two decades of living with an addict, my own mental health took a hit. As my husband’s addiction spiraled further and further out of control, I plucked up the courage to visit a twelve-step family recovery meeting. I found that I had formed the patterns of codependency.

I started reading everything I could get my hands on about codependency. I learned what detachment meant, what my role had been in enabling my husband and the importance of focusing on my own life. But regardless of how much I learned, I just couldn’t seem to overcome the negative patterns that had formed. I kept doing the same old things over and over again. It was like a bad habit I couldn’t break.

Then I came across a section of books in the library that taught the tools of affirmations and visualization. The ideas shared in these books intrigued me, and I began to try them out for myself. I immediately loved the practice of repeating affirmations, and my mind latched onto them like much-needed nourishment. It was amazing how quickly my mood started to improve.

Visualization was an exciting concept for me. I created my own vision board and spent time every day imagining the life of my dreams, feeling the peace and happiness I desired. The more time he spent visualizing, the more confident he became. What might have seemed like an illusion at first, began to take shape. In a very short time I blossomed into a new woman.

Through the tools of affirmations and visualization, my self-esteem became strong. For many years I had lost touch with my own inner strength, but that has changed. I realized that there was a greater power than addiction, and that power was myself: the power within me.

He had finally found the missing piece. Having knowledge is one thing, but having the strength to follow what you know is right is another. It’s like being on a diet and knowing you should order the side of broccoli, but you end up ordering the fries instead. It’s not until you find the inner strength to say “no” to fries that positive changes begin to happen.

Finally, I had found the strength to step away from arguments, detach and focus on my own goals and appreciate the simple joys in life. My husband noticed the changes and I felt a new respect for him. What was once a home full of hostility has now become quite peaceful.

Although I was still using, I was no longer consumed by its problems. I encouraged him to seek professional help and little by little he became more receptive. But every time he came close to admitting himself to treatment, he freaked out and left.

For the first time in our marriage I was able to set healthy boundaries and gave him an ultimatum: either he entered treatment or I left him. I’m sure he thought I was bluffing, but this time he was ready to follow through. He chose not to go. The next morning I left with my son and moved to my father’s house.

Leaving was the hardest thing I ever did, but I stayed strong and refused to go home unless I was in treatment. Almost a month later, he was ready to turn himself in and ask for help. He entered a three-month residential program. He came out of treatment healthy and strong and with a new outlook on life. It has been over five years and we are enjoying a healthy marriage together.

I have found that family can really make a difference. You don’t have to wait for the person suffering from addiction to be ready – that day may never come. You can open the door to recovery and open the way.

For me, recovery from codependency occurred in three distinct stages. I call them the pieces of the recovery puzzle:

Piece #1 – Gain knowledge about addiction. It’s hard to help someone else if you don’t understand the problem. This includes understanding what your role was in allowing the addict into your life. If you were told your child had diabetes, you would learn all you could about the disease. You would arm yourself with knowledge. You would stop buying sugary snacks and probably make many changes as a family to help your child in his battle. Like diabetes, addiction is a disease. By learning as much as possible about addiction, families can help their loved ones recover.

Piece #2 – Get help. Because of the stigma attached to addiction, families often keep problems a secret. But by keeping addiction a secret, we are only further enabling the disease. You deserve all the help and support you can get. I ask you to reach out to the people you trust and help them lift the burden. Find the people in your life who have always been there for you and loved you unconditionally.

There are also countless support groups available to go to. One of the best forms of support, for those of us involved with an addict, is Al-Anon. What better group of people to turn to for comfort and support than those who are going through the same struggles? The most important thing is to get out of your isolation. Spending time outside of the addictive environment is critical to your well-being. A support group can be any group of people who encourage your positive growth. Find opportunities to spend time with positive people who make you feel good about yourself.

Piece #3 – Tap into your inner strength. What is inner strength? It’s the inner power that pushes you into action even when you’re afraid, that lets other people’s behaviors and comments roll off your back no matter how hurtful they are, that gives you the willpower to achieve your goals no matter how be it great are Inner strength comes from having a close connection with your spirit.

The more in tune you are with the voice within you, the stronger you will be. People call that inner voice many different things: intuition, Higher Power, God, or you can call it something else. It doesn’t matter what you name it, as long as you have a close relationship with it. There are countless ways to build your inner strength. Here are just a few of the tools I used: meditation, affirmations, visualization, and prayer.

This last piece turned out to be the most important to me. Although I had spent some time learning about addiction and visiting recovery groups, it wasn’t until I tapped into my inner strength that I was able to fully recover from codependency. Once my husband realized he was no longer a partner in his illness, he was left with the options of accepting help or progressing alone in his illness. Fortunately, he chose to seek help.

Although addiction is an insidious disease and can always rear its ugly head again, our family is now on the mend. After almost twenty years of addiction I had my doubts, but now I know that recovery is possible. Although none of us consciously chose this path, there is a deeper love for the families that make it that is on the other side. There is hope for our families. There is life after vice.

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