My name is Amber and I am a codependent. This is the most liberating sentence I will ever write. I can put a name to a piece of my existence that I never wanted to admit, always wanted to hide, feel immense shame around (even now at times). This is the worst and best thing I have ever faced. Worst because it’s not something I can solve, cure, deny or wish away. Best because in embracing this part of myself, I am finally whole.
I can name my devil. I can look her in the eye and gently let her know that I appreciate her concern, for I know her motives are genuine. She wants to protect me from feeling vulnerable, from feeling uncertain, from feeling at the mercy of someone else and their decisions. What she never figured out is how this protection becomes a wall that prevents genuine intimacy, an excuse to deny responsibility for my own joy and takes away my agency in living a truthful and whole life.
I did not become a codependent on purpose. It was not something I sought consciously. It was not a flaw of my character that my ingrained responses to relationships was to try my damndest to control their behaviors in order to feel safe. I don’t honestly know where the power behind my codependency comes from, but I have some clues, and I don’t need to know the full story to find the bravery to face it with accountability and radical acceptance.
As a recovering codependent, these I vow:
I will hold space for my wholeness, knowing that in this wholeness, I will not always respond, act, speak or even think in ways my conscious mind wants to behave.
I will strive to do my best in every situation, every time. My best can vary, and that’s ok.
I will redirect my words, thoughts and actions as soon as I realize consciously when my codependent self is in the driver’s seat. I will acknowledge her, put my true self behind the wheel as safely and quickly as possible and make amends as quickly as I am able.
I will apologize sincerely and quickly when my actions harm myself or others.
I acknowledge that every time I harm someone with my words, thoughts or actions, I am also harming myself.
I will love even the parts of myself that are hard to deem worthy, acceptable, appropriate or lovable. This will be my lifetime’s work. I look forward to this work.
I will have compassion for the responses from others that I have hurt, knowing my part in their pain and behaviors.
I will love my fears, for they are a part of me. Facing them will show me the bravest most loving parts of myself as I gain more and more momentum, relying on Love as a guide and my strongest teacher.
I know I always have a choice, and those choices can lead me to freedom whenever I decide. No one can take this freedom away from me, except me.
I will do my best to love others as they wish to be loved. I will never give up the quest of untethering my comfort from their freedom, for this is the truest version of love.
I will practice radical love in my thoughts, actions and words as best as I can, even when it makes me uncomfortable or means I need to let someone go completely.
Just as a child benefits from love, the real kind, the tough kind, the soft kind, the truthful kind, so do these parts of ourselves that we deny until they become so strong we have to face them. We cannot deny our devils, we can only acknowledge them with the truth, thank them for their lessons and resolve to face them one day at a time with radical, unconditional love as we are able. The way we acknowledge them with bravery is to acknowledge that we, first and foremost, as individuals, must give ourselves the love that we so desperately want to give to others in our lives. This is the first step in radical honesty, accountability and love. It is also the last step.
Miracles are possible. They begin in our minds, they expand through our hearts, they manifest in the body. They are made possible when we face the parts of ourselves we deem shameful, blemished, dark, ugly, resentful, weak, sad, strange, embarrassing, mean, disgusting and generally unlovable and surrender to full acceptance of who we are in any given moment. Love is not logical, but it is always consistent. Don't give up on yourself.
May healing be with us all. And so it is.