Recovery from Codependency Requires Change

By Darlene Lancer

Before getting acquainted with codependency, you were in the dark about new possibilities for yourself and your circumstances. You may not have realized that healing is a path of personal growth that entails more than just changing your habits. Growth means trying new things, including new attitudes, behaviors, perceptions, and beliefs. When you come out of denial, you still may delay taking action for these reasons:

  • You may have adapted to difficult circumstances in order to survive, even when those circumstances were painful.

  • You may be overwhelmed by the nature or gravity of your circumstances or by your attempts to control the uncontrollable.

  • Maybe you complain about your situation and want things to change, or you want someone else to make you happy. It’s typical for codependents to want others to change and not want to take responsibility for their actions, inactions, and choices.

  • It’s normal to be afraid of making changes because change may be seen as a threat. The bigger the decision or change, the greater the fear that accompanies it — fear of the unknown, abandonment, or standing up to intimidation.

  • Good days provide relief, so you deny, minimize, and avoid the ­necessity to change.

Change requires you to take responsibility for your contribution to your problems. With it comes the awareness that today’s choices are the seeds of tomorrow’s change or stagnation — best described by Eldridge Cleaver, who famously said, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.”

Think about what has stopped you from taking action in the past or makes you hesitate now and what motivated you to change. See where you are in the following steps that precede making changes:

  1. Thinking about the problem

  2. Seeking answers, listening, and gathering information

  3. Taking responsibility and realizing YOU have to change

  4. Getting motivated

  5. Planning and preparing for action

  6. Attending meetings, counseling, and workshops

  7. Using self-discipline to stay focused on your goal

  8. Repeating action steps to achieve and maintain results