Here are some thoughts on

Codependency & Recovery 
(They represent the author’s thoughts and experiences and are not endorsed by 
CoDependents Anonymous.)
· Codependency is about focusing on, taking care of, and fixing others. Recovery is
about focusing on and taking care of me, and being supportive of others.
I believe that codependency is a set of survival mechanisms and behaviors learned in
childhood to protect against abuse from our primary care givers and others. As adults these
behaviors and beliefs are self—defeating and do not work for us.
In recovery, we go back, identify that this abuse happened to us, and feel and validate
the feelings that we buried for our survival and sanity as children. We also identify and
begin to change our offensive, self‐defeating and sabotaging behaviors.
· Codependency is about giving with resentment or with expectations of receiving
something in return. Recovery is about giving because I want to.
I believe that our adult child issues, and codependency are behind the addictions
(including alcoholism). When I’m in my addictive behavior, they all feel pretty much the
same, although I will acknowledge that the chemical addictions tend to have more
dramatic results, especially in chaos and suffering. As codependents, we use the addictions
to numb our feelings, especially pain and anger.
· Codependency is about numbing my feelings. Recovery is about learning to celebrate
and feel my feelings, even the painful ones.
In one model of Codependency and Recovery, there are five primary symptoms of
1. Low Self‐Esteem
2. Impaired or Non‐Existent Boundaries
3. Problems with Experiencing and Owning Our Reality
4. Inability to Meet Our Needs and Wants
5. Difficulty with Experiencing and Saring Reality Moderately
· Codependency is about chaos, excitement, obsession, intensity, extremes and feeling
overwhelmed. Recovery is about moderation, balance, detachment, peace, and serenity.
· Codependency is about desperately trying to control people and situations. Recovery
is about acceptance and letting go of the outcome.
In a second model of Codependency and Recovery, the focus is on our codependent
tendencies and ways to change them. Some of these are:
Caretaking Low Self‐Esteem Obsession
Controlling Denial Dependency
Reacting Poor Boundaries Lack of Trust
Poor Communication Problems with Anger Sexual Problems
This model deals more with identifying the problem and dealing with it in the present.
The first model mentioned is more in‐depth and deals more with family of origin issues.
Both have had an extreme impact on my recovery.
· Codependency is about reacting to every thing that happens to me.” Recovery is
about making choices based on self care and taking action.
We generally think of codependents as being weak, dependent, and victims. This is
most likely about 1/2 of the codependent population. The other portion who are also
codependent often show signs of anti—dependence, arrogance, grandiosity, being needless
and wantless, and lack of containment boundaries. These people often have the greatest
difficulty entering recovery as they frequently won’t acknowledge that there is a problem.
· Codependency is about perfectionism and false pride. Recovery is about becoming
teachable, learning humility, and accepting and owning my imperfection.
· Codependency is about denial and isolation. Recovery is about owning my truth,
going to meetings, sharing, reaching out, working the steps, and working a program.
· Codependency is about having a skewed, self‐defeating thought process, belief
system, and perception of reality and the world; generally formed by the dysfunctional
ways we were raised. Recovery is about choosing to view things in a more accurate,
positive and effective way.
· Codependency is about having little or no understanding of where I stop and you
start. Some of the behaviors that manifest here include:
1. Doing something for you that I want you to do for me and
expecting you to magically know this.
2. Assuming that your reality, needs, desires, and wants are the
sane as mine.
3. Not being able to respectfully hear “no” from another person.
4. Inability to take responsibility for my own feelings,
thoughts, attitudes, etc., and at the same time believing that I
caused your reality.
Often the consequences of this are pain, resentment, and damaged relationships. Recovery
is about knowing that my feelings, thoughts, etc., are about me and not about you, and
vice versa.
· Codependency can be life threatening and debilitating just like the addictions it
sometimes causes. The first step of recovery is: We admitted we were powerless over
others and that our lives had become unmanageable.
· Codependency is a generational disease. We break the chain of codependency by
doing our own work and not passing it on to our children.
· Codependency is about trying to fix others. Recovery is about taking care of me
and being supportive of others and their path.