To Parents of Alcoholics / Addicts

The Dance

“We must start recognizing our powerlessness over this disease of Codependence.

As long as we did not know we had a choice we did not have one.

If we never knew how to say “no,” then we never really said “yes.”

We were powerless to do anything any different than we did it. We were doing the best we knew how with the tools that we had.  None of us had the power to write a different script for our lives.

We need to grieve for the past.  For the ways in which we abandoned and abused ourselves.  For the ways we deprived ourselves.  We need to own that sadness.  But we also need to stop blaming ourselves for it.  It was not our fault!

We did not have the power to do it any differently.

As long as we are holding onto the guilt and feeling ashamed, it means that on some level we think we had the power.  We think that if we would have just done it a little differently, if we had just done it “right,” if we could have just said the “right’ thing, then we could have controlled it and had it come out the way we wanted.

The part of you that is telling you that is your disease.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Since I finished my series of articles on inner child healing last month, I have been wondering what my next article would focus on.  As is often the case with my writing, I get stimulated to focus on a particular topic, on a facet of the condition of codependency or recovery, by a question I receive in an e-mail.

This particular article was sparked by a parent in anguish about their child’s drug addiction, who was asking if they were responsible for their child becoming an addict.  The simple answer to that question is no.  There are however, many other levels to both this question and the answer.

The question itself is a manifestation of codependency, as the quote above from my book illustrates.  Parents have responsibility in how their children were wounded by their codependent behavior patterns – but they are not to blame because the parents were powerless over their codependency.  In recovery it is very important to take responsibility while also learning to stop giving power to the polarized blame and shame of the disease.  Therein lies a tale.

So, it looks like I may be off and running with a new series of articles here.  I am not even sure right now what to call this series, but it is going to start off with the simple answer to the parent who wants to know if her child’s drug addiction were something she caused.  It will then expand into looking at parental roles, dysfunctional families, toxic codependent love, and whatever else comes up – and focus on applying twelve step Spiritual principles in recovery in order to learn how to relate in healthier and more Loving ways to both our self and others, to both our parents and our children.

Parents do not cause their children to become alcoholics – or drug addicts.

Alcoholism / addiction is not caused by environmental factors.  It is a physiological, genetic allergy – a hereditary predisposition involving brain chemistry.  There is now ample scientific proof, research data, to support the premise that made Alcoholics Anonymous the first successful approach to dealing with alcoholism.  Alcoholism is a disease.  Drug Addiction, in the great majority of cases, is just a form of alcoholism.  (It is possible for someone who was not born with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism to become physiologically and psychologically addicted to drugs – in reaction to chronic physical pain for instance, or to a dysfunctional psychiatric community’s pattern of treating the symptoms of emotional wounding with addictive drugs instead of healing the cause.)

Someone does not become an alcoholic / addict because they were raised in a dysfunctional family.  Alcoholism is not caused by emotional wounds.  It also has nothing to do with will power or strength of character or morality.  It does not have anything to do with intelligence.

Many people drink heavily or experiment with drugs in their teens and early twenties.  The ones who have a genetic predisposition make alcohol and/or drugs their primary coping mechanism – the ones that do not find other ways of coping and going unconscious.  People who become alcoholics are not as a rule more wounded than people that do not – they just have a genetic vulnerability.

All of us adapted codependent defense systems to protect us from the toxic shame we felt in early childhood – to help us survive in the dysfunctional environments we grew up in.  The primary environment was of course our family of origin.  But we were also emotionally traumatized in the schools we attended, in churches, in social interactions with other wounded human beings. We were exposed to dysfunctional messages from society in general, through books and movies, television and music, etc.

We all learned ways to cope with the pain of being human in societies that taught us it was shameful to be human.  We all had to adapt defense systems that would help us disassociate – go unconscious to – the emotional pain we experienced growing up in emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile environments.  (Spiritually hostile in my definition because civilization is founded upon belief in separation, shame about being human, and fear of differences instead of connection and Love.)

A parent does not cause a child to become alcoholic or drug addicted.  The emotional wounds provide reasons to drink and use, are the fuel that drives an alcoholic/addict’s behavior, but are not the cause of the disease.

We were all raised in dysfunctional families – because society / civilization is emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional.  We were all wounded in our childhood, because our parents were wounded in their childhood – and when we became parents we wounded our children.

You did not cause your child’s addiction.  Your behaviors did wound your child because you did not love your self in a healthy way and were not given the tools, knowledge, and role modeling to teach you how to be a healthy person – let alone a healthy parent.  You were wounded in your childhood, you were doing the best you knew how to do as a parent, it is not your fault that you were powerless to do it any differently.  You do have some responsibility in your child’s wounding, but you are not to blame.  To give power to the blaming guilt and shame of the disease will in fact, set you up to continue to be unhealthy in your relationship with your child.  The best thing you can do for your child is to learn how to Love yourself – is to focus on recovering from your codependency.                                                                        

Sacred Spiral 

I wrote a series of articles on applying 12 step principles in relationships at the beginning of 2002.  The article that followed this one is one I added to my blog awhile ago that I am going to include a link to here for anyone who hasn’t seen it: Enabling & Rescuing vs Tough Love 

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site:   A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries.  The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries –  is something that I teach people through telephone counseling.

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls  (links to all of my books in both hard copy, ebook format, and audiobook are on that page) would really help you take your understanding to a whole new level. Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

Coversm-Arena DancingIn the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth. I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

I also offer periodic day long workshops in San Diego to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.  The next one (which may be the last one I am going to offer in San Diego) is on October 4th.

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend. Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

I have a new site focused on my work that is designed to be mobile friendly for all those people using mobile devices these days: http://recoverycodependence.com/

Advertisements

Grave Emotional and Mental Disorders – AA language for Codependence

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

 ““We are all carrying around repressed pain, terror, shame, and rage energy from our childhoods, whether it was twenty years ago or fifty years ago. We have this grief energy within us even if we came from a relatively healthy family, because this society is emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional.

    When someone “pushes your buttons,” he/she is activating that stored, pressurized grief energy. She/he is gouging the old wounds, and all of the newer wounds that are piled on top of those original wounds by our repeating behavior patterns.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

    When I first got into recovery one of the things that I was told was that ‘all I had to change was everything’. I had no idea what that meant back then. Now I know that it means that I needed to change my attitudes, beliefs, and definitions about myself and everything in my life. I needed to start surrendering my way of seeing things, of doing life.

    One of the first surrenders that I had to make was to let go of doing things ‘my way.’ (I used to sit in bars and get tears in my eyes over Frank Sinatra’s recording because I was also doing it ‘My way.’)  I had to start listening to those weird people who were telling me that I could live without alcohol. Then I had to start letting go of my belief that life was impossible without drugs and alcohol.

    Every time I go through a surrender in my recovery I am letting go of some of the ego definitions that have defined my relationship with myself and life. I have to let go of the attitudes and beliefs that I adapted because of the emotional trauma that I suffered as a child (which are still buried in my subconscious until I became willing to look at them.)

    There is an old AA saying that, ‘AA doesn’t open up the gates of heaven and let us in it opens up the gates of hell and lets us out.’ What we are let out into is life. The only way that I had known how to deal with life up to that time was to drink and use. The Twelve Steps are a formula for learning how to deal with life in a Spiritual way, and they saved my life.

    Unfortunately, the Twelve Steps as practiced in AA are not always enough. Not because the Twelve Step process is not enough – but because the way it is practiced in AA leaves out a vitally important level of healing. That is the level of healing the emotional wounds. We can deal with our grave emotional and mental disorders by having the capacity to be honest with ourselves. That includes being emotionally honest with ourselves. And the only way to achieve emotional honesty is by releasing the grief energy that we are carrying around – the pain, terror, shame, and rage from our childhoods.

    Until we deal with our emotional wounds, we do not have the ability to be emotionally honest in the moment. Until we change our relationship with our own emotions it is impossible to be comfortable in our own skins.

    Emotional energy manifests in the body. Our attitudes, definitions, and beliefs (subconscious and conscious) dictate our perspective of life and our expectations of ourselves, others, and life. Those perspectives and expectations set us up to react emotionally to life events. If we have not dealt with the old wounds then we will live life in reaction – overreacting (or underreacting to keep from overreacting) – when our ‘buttons are pushed.’ Our fear of our own reactions determines the quality of our relationships. Until we go back and heal our childhood emotional wounds we cannot successfully change the old tapes – we cannot achieve a healthy, emotionally honest relationship with ourselves and others.

    Grave emotional and mental disorders is AA language for Codependence. Codependence is all about having a dysfunctional relationship with self: with our own bodies, minds, emotions, and spirits; with our own gender and sexuality; with being human. Because we have dysfunctional relationships internally we have dysfunctional relationships externally. Because we cannot be emotionally honest with ourselves we aren’t really being totally honest with anyone ever.

    Bill Wilson would have loved to have had the tools we have available to us today. He would have run to an ACA or CoDA meeting because that is where he could have found the roots of the depression which tormented him.

    Codependence Recovery is ninth step work, making amends to ourselves and others by changing the attitudes and behaviors that have caused us to hurt ourselves and others. And we cannot make those amends without owning the feelings. We are powerless to substantially change the behavior patterns in our most intimate relationships without doing the grief work.”

Sacred Spiral

Logo of Joy2MeU

Logo of Joy2MeU.com website

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site joy2meu.com   A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries.  The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries –  is something that I teach people through telephone counseling  (It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere.)  I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes some special combination offers.

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls  (links to all of my books in both hard copy and ebook format are on that page) would really help you take your understanding to a whole new level.  Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

In the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth.  I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this special sale page.

I also offer periodic day long workshops in San Diego to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.   (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop – and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. )

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend.  Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

The Miracle of The Twelve Step Recovery Process – a formula for integration and balance

I am profoundly, deeply, everlastingly grateful for the gift of the 12 steps.  The process of learning to apply the Spiritual Principles in my life has changed my life from an unendurable hell to an adventure that is exciting and enJoyable most of the time.  The twelve steps work.  That is the bottom line.  They work to help a person transform their experience of life into something better.  They work to help a person learn to develop a relationship with life and self that allows room for inner peace, happiness, and Joy.  The twelve step process works to help a person open up to Love.

As I explain in my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, planetary conditions caused human beings to develop a relationship with being human that was reversed to Love and Truth.  The reason this human experience is so screwed up is because humans have been doing life backwards – looking outside for Truth and Love, for validation, meaning, and purpose.  Outer dependence is dysfunctional.  It is the reason we do not know how to love our neighbors as our self – because we do not know how to Love our self.  It is the reason we have war and poverty, pollution and child abuse, rape and bigotry.  This world would be a much nicer place if everyone was working a twelve step program.

The good news is that there has been a major change in those planetary conditions, and a new age – an Age of Healing and Joy – has dawned in human consciousness.  The human condition is changing.  We have entered a new time in human evolution – a time in which we are learning to manifest Love into the world by learning to access Love for self.  The twelve step process has played a major role in the Spiritual Revolution that is taking place on this planet.  The mystical gift of the twelve steps greatly accelerated the process of bringing the planetary energy field to critical mass so that this change could take place. In this series of articles I am sharing my perspective of the twelve steps.

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“I believe that in a hundred years historians will look back and pinpoint this milestone as the single most important event in the twentieth century.  This milestone was the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio, in June of 1935.

Besides the invaluable gift of sobriety that AA has given to millions of Alcoholics, it also started a revolution in Spiritual consciousness.

The dramatic success and expansion of AA facilitated the spread of a radically revolutionary idea which has traditionally, in Western Civilization, been considered heresy.  This was not a new idea but rather a reintroduction and clarification of an old idea, coupled with a formula for practical application of the concept into day-to-day human life experience.

This revolutionary idea was that an unconditionally Loving Higher Power exists with whom the individual being can personally communicate.  A Higher Power that is so powerful that it has no need to judge the humans it created because this Universal Force is powerful enough to ensure that everything unfolds perfectly from a Cosmic Perspective.

This reintroduction of the revolutionary concept of an accessible Loving God has been clarified to specifically include the concept that the individual being can define this Universal Force according to his/her own understanding, and can develop a personal, intimate relationship with this Higher Power.

In other words, no one is needed as an intermediary between you and your creator.  No outside agency has the right to impose upon you its definition of God.

The spread of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the other Anonymous programs which sprang out of AA, is the widest and most effective dissemination of this radical revolutionary concept that has ever occurred in Western Civilization.

Mystics, gnostics, and certain “primitive” peoples have, throughout recorded human history, understood the Truth in this concept – but the “organized religions” of urban-based civilizations have persecuted, tortured, and crucified any messengers or groups of people who believed in a Loving, personal God or Goddess – because it threatened the power of those organized religions’ control over the masses and therefore their very existence.  This time the dissemination of the message has been effective because:  The time was right; the revolutionary concept was camouflaged as part of a successful treatment for a fatal, incurable disease; and it was accompanied by the Twelve Step Spiritual program.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Codependency: A Dance of Black and White Thinking and Toxic Shame

“One of the core characteristics of this disease of Codependence is intellectual polarization – black and white thinking.  Rigid extremes – good or bad, right or wrong, love it or leave it, one or ten.  Codependence does not allow any gray area – only black and white extremes.

Life is not black and white.  Life involves the interplay of black and white.  In other words, the gray area is where life takes place.  A big part of the healing process is learning the numbers two through nine – recognizing that life is not black and white.

Life is not some kind of test, that if we fail, we will be punished.  We are not human creatures who are being punished by an avenging god.  We are not trapped in some kind of tragic place out of which we have to earn our way by doing the “right” things.

We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience.  We are here to learn.  We are here to go through this process that is life.  We are here to feel these feelings.”

There is an acronym in Twelve Step Recovery, that like many simple sayings, it full of Truth.  That acronym is HOW.   The letters stand for honesty, openness, and willingness.  It is vital to be willing to start looking at life and self from larger perspectives, willing to take the action necessary to align with healing.  To be open to changing our attitudes, to feeling our feelings.  And it is so vital to start being willing and open to getting more honest with ourselves.

“We were powerless out of ego-self to do anything any different than we did it.  We are powerless out of ego-self to heal this disease.  Through Spiritual Self, through our Spiritual Connection, we have access to all the power in the Universe.

We need to have the willingness: willingness to get to a new level of self-honesty; willingness to start listening to the Loving inner voice instead of the shaming ones; willingness to face the terror of healing the emotional wounds.”

Codependence is dishonest.  It is an emotional defense system adapted by humans to try to survive the pain of feeling unworthy and unlovable.  From a codependent perspective there are no choices – only two extremes, black and white.  Right or wrong.

Because as small children we did not have any perspective or discernment (prior to the age of reason, which occurs about 7 as our brains develop) we were incapable as viewing our parents as anything other than perfect Higher Powers.  Our God and Goddess.  Because our Higher Powers were wounded and did not know how to Love self, we were wounded and got the message that something must be wrong with us.  Toxic Shame.

“That shame is toxic and is not ours – it never was!  We did nothing to be ashamed of – we were just little kids.  Just as our parents were little kids when they were wounded and shamed, and their parents before them, etc., etc.  This is shame about being human that has been passed down from generation to generation.

There is no blame here, there are no bad guys, only wounded souls and broken hearts and scrambled minds.”

Out of our codependent relationship with life, there are only two extremes: blame them, or blame me.  Buy into the belief that they are to blame for what I am feeling – or I am to blame because I am a shameful unworthy being.   The emotional pain of feeling unlovable to our parents – which is a reflection of unbearable anguish of feeling separated from The Source – can feel like a bottomless pit of agonizing suffering.   At the core of our wounding is the unbearable emotional pain resulting from having internalized the message that God – our Source – does not Love us because we are personally defective and shameful.

Our addictions, compulsions, and obsessions;  our continuing quest to reach the destination, to find the fix;  our inability to be present in the now through worrying about the future or ruminating about the past;  are all tools that we used to avoid the emotional pain.  Our behavior patterns and dysfunctional relationships (of all kinds, with other people, with money, with our gender and sexuality) are symptoms.  Codependence is a defense system that was adapted by our damaged egos to try to avoid falling into the abyss of shame and pain within.

We formed our core relationship with self, other people, and life based upon this feeling of toxic shame.  Like the corruption at the foundation of Western Civilization, there is corruption in the foundation of our relationship with self.  Reflections.

In order to start changing our ego programming and healing our emotional wounds, it is necessary to start Loving ourselves.  We start Loving ourselves by opening up to the possibility that maybe we are Lovable.  We start Loving ourselves by using our will power to start changing our attitudes, beliefs, perspectives, and behaviors – in order to start changing our relationship with self, with our own emotions.

We are Co-Creators of our human experience, but for most of our lives we were allied with the disease – lived life out of the fear, lack, scarcity, separation programming of the damaged ego.  We were powerless to change our ego programming out of the false self, the ego self image, that was based upon the dishonesty inherent in black and white thinking.

Our paths unfolded perfectly to bring us to a point where some life event, or series of events, brought us to our knees, caused us to hit an emotional bottom that made us start being honest enough with ourselves to see that we needed some help.  When we started to seek help, we opened up to allowing the Universe to start guiding us with carrots instead of using the stick.  We opened up to becoming willing and honest enough to start learning the lessons we are here to learn instead of being trapped in repeating our patterns.

Recovery – aligning with Love instead of shame

The tool, the gift, that I discovered when I was willing to start asking for help was the Twelve Steps.  The Twelve Step Recovery program that was developed by Alcoholics Anonymous is a work of mystical Spirituality.  It is a formula for integrating Spiritual Truth into day to day human life.

“The Twelve Step Recovery process is so successful because it provides a formula for integrating different levels.  It is by recognizing that we are powerless to control our life experiences out of ego-self that we can access the power out of True Self, Spiritual Self.  By surrendering the illusion of ego control we can reconnect with our Higher Selves.  Selfishness out of ego-self is destroying the planet.  Selfishness out of Spiritual Self is what will save the planet.”

One of those principles – that really scared me when I first heard I had to develop it – was humility.  I equated humility with humiliation because of my toxic shame.

In Truth, humility really means to see clearly.  To see that as a human being the reality is that I am not perfect.  There are some areas I am strong in – that I have gifts, abilities, talents, skills – and some that I am weak in.  None of us human beings are perfect in our humanness – we are all perfect in our Spiritual essence.

One person will be talented in one area but weak in another.  Because we got the message in childhood that we were supposed to be perfect, that it was shameful to be ‘wrong’ – and we were taught to look outside and compare ourselves to determine our worth – we focused on our strengths as proof we were better than others.  Which also meant we needed to deny our weaknesses – or deny that the areas in which we were weak had any importance.  Humility is about owning both our strengths and our weaknesses – and realizing that all human beings have both strengths and weaknesses.

Looking outside of ourselves for self-definition and self-worth means that we have to judge people in order to feel good about ourselves.  There is no other way to do it when you look outside.

We were taught to have ego-strength through judgment – better than, prettier than, smarter than, richer than, stronger than, etc., etc.

In a Codependent society everyone has to have someone to look down on in order to feel positive about him/herself.  This is the root of all bigotry, racism, sexism, and prejudice in the world.

True self-worth does not come from looking down on anyone or anything.  True self-worth comes from awakening to our connection to everyone and everything.

The Truth is that we are like snowflakes:  Each individual is unique and different and special and we are all made from the same thing.  We are all cut from the same cloth.  We are all part of the Eternal ONENESS that is the Great Spirit.

When we start looking within and celebrating the Truth of who we Truly are, then we can celebrate our unique differences instead of judging them out of fear.”

When I started to open up to the concept that there was a Higher Power who Loved me Unconditionally, then I could start getting past the shame to seeing the gray area.  Then I could start to stop reacting out of the black and white, fear based programming of my damaged ego.

When I started to be open to seeing myself more clearly, then I could start to see that I had more in common with other human beings than I had differences.  Then I could start to see that thinking I was better than someone else because of a gift is false pride.  A gift is just that – a gift.  Talent, intelligence, looks – those are gifts to be cherished and cultivated, not standards for feeling better than another human being.

Through working the twelve step program, I could start to understand that every cloud has a silver lining.  (I just flashed on my mother in childhood telling me that every curse is also a blessing – in regard to my emotional sensitivity I believe.  We do hear messages of Spiritual Truth from early on – it is applying them to our lives that we need some help figuring out how to do.)  A gift also carries obligations with it.  Though feeling pride about a gift was false – what I could take pride in was the action I took to cultivate that gift.   (Which of course I had not done in some cases because of the black and white thinking and toxic shame – I was afraid to take a risk because I was sure I would fail.  Another thing to realize I was powerless over and forgive myself for.)

Through starting to see myself more clearly – by stopping with the shame of self and judgment of others to protect myself from that shame – then I could more easily see that we were more alike than different.  Then I could start to be open to believing that maybe I had worth and deserved Love – and that you did also.

Feeling shameful and reacting to life from fear, caused me to focus on how I was different (and better, or worse) than you.  The more I could start to see that I am not perfect and that it is OK – the more I could access the acceptance to allow you to not be perfect.

That helped me to stop taking other peoples behavior so personally.  When I started understanding how I had been reacting – started seeing myself more clearly and accepting reality, I could also start seeing that what you were doing was not really about me, it was you reacting to your wounds.

The more clearly I saw myself within the framework of a Spiritual recovery process, the easier it became to see that I had not been seeing myself or you clearly – or life.

Working the steps, applying the principles in our lives

Twelve step recovery is a blessed gift.  Unfortunately not all twelve step groups are utilizing them to their full capacity.  In Alcoholics Anonymous for instance, there are many people who are stuck in a black and white perspective that causes them to keep focusing on the symptom of drinking for many years after they have gotten sober.  Of course, one of the reason they do this is because they are scared of doing the emotional healing and facing the toxic shame – so they get stuck in a rigid black and white perspective.

This disease / condition of codependency is so powerful and insidious because the programming is so ingrained and so much a part of the human condition.  The key to changing the conditions in the world is honesty and clarity.

The first three steps of the twelve step program basically involve: Step 1. getting honest enough to recognize that what we have been doing is not working;  Step 2.  getting willing to open up to some help from outside;  Step 3. asking for help.  The next step – the 4th – involves taking an honest inventory and starting to see ourselves with more clarity.  When we start getting more honest with ourselves, the 11th step tells us how to access the power to change our lives – through prayer and meditation.

In other words, life breaks us down enough to make us surrender – to make us start the process of stopping our ego programming from defining our life experience and dictating our relationships.  Then we develop a level of consciousness that allows us to look at the gray area.  We are then able to observe ourselves objectively enough to see that what we have been doing isn’t working for us – and can start to be open to the possibility that maybe we are not shameful beings, but we have been living life by some dysfunctional programming.  Once we start detaching from ego-self and developing a higher level of consciousness, we are directed back inward to seek the Truth.  Prayer and meditation not meaning, necessarily, formal practices but rather developing a conscious relationship, and ongoing communication, with our Spirit – with our intuitive guidance.

We start to align our consciousness with Spiritual Self so that we can use our will power to change the negative programming and stop the self abusive behaviors that we adapted to protect ourselves.  And as the 10th step dictates we need to keep taking a daily inventory – we need to be willing to stay open to messages from the Universe so that we can catch ourselves when we are being dishonest with ourselves.

Honesty with self is absolutely vital to recovery and healing – to raising our consciousness.  As we start to awaken to Spiritual Truth, we can start to peal away the layers of dishonesty that we have wrapped ourselves in out of our codependent defense system.  It is very painful to start getting honest with ourselves.  We feel ashamed as we start to see how dishonest we have been.

The Truth shall set you free – but it will be a very painful process.

It is vital to face the pain of taking inventory of how we have been dishonest.  What makes it possible to start to see ourselves, and our behavior patterns, more clearly is starting to believe that maybe we are not shameful.  Maybe we do have a disease – a compulsively reactive condition – that we have been powerless over.  Maybe there is a Loving Higher Power.

By starting to stop the dishonesty of believing that others are completely to blame, we can also stop empowering the lie that we are to blame because we are defective.  By stopping the blaming, we can start taking responsibility – owning our side of the street.

A very important part of the process of taking responsibility is making amends.   Cleaning up the wreckage of our past.  Even though we were powerless over our behaviors because of our ego programming, because of our codependency, we still have to take responsibility for the behaviors and their consequences.

The purpose of making amends to others is to heal our Spirit, to clear our conscience, to dump any baggage from the past that we are still carrying.  We do this for ourselves.  Often the other person doesn’t even remember an incident that we make amends for.  Sometimes the other person is hateful and bitter still.  We can still make amends for our side of the street, even if they are not owning their side of the street.  We are not making the amends so that we can all make up and be friends – although that is certainly possible sometimes – we are making them to free us from the past, we are doing them as a Loving thing to do for our self.  We do not have the power to get others to do what we want them to – so we need to focus on what we do have the power to change.  We can shine the Light of Love and consciousness into any dark corners within so that we can stop giving power to the past.

Making amends is about forgiveness.  Healing the wounds from the past is the Loving thing to do for ourselves.  Seeing more clearly so that we can own our responsibility in situations that we are still carrying resentments about, helps us to let go of those resentments.  Carrying a resentment doesn’t hurt the person we are resentful of – it hurts us.

I have found that the reason I had resentments that I couldn’t let go of, was because I hadn’t forgiven myself.  I was holding onto feelings of self righteous indignation about how I was victimized, because I couldn’t face the shame of admitting that I set myself up in some way.  By trusting that person, or letting them into my life, or whatever.

Making amends for the ways in which our behavior has hurt others is part of the process of healing self.  And making amends is much more than saying “I’m sorry.”  Making amends is about changing the dysfunctional behavior patterns.  Making amends is about doing what it takes to stop empowering the dysfunctional attitudes and black and white thinking so that we can change the behaviors.  It is about becoming willing to face the terror of healing our emotional wounds, so that we can stop reacting and hurting other people and our self with our behavior.

The steps help us to move into a growth paradigm – a relationship with life that helps us see problems as opportunities for growth instead of punishment.  Applying the twelve step principles in our life helps us stop taking other people’s behavior so personally – and learn to protect ourselves from their behavior if necessary.   As we forgive ourselves for our past behaviors, and learn to see life and self with more clarity and more Love – we see others with more clarity and more Love.

By taking power away from the polarized thinking and the emotional wounds from the past we can stop being our own worst enemy.

“Because of our broken hearts, our emotional wounds, and our scrambled minds, our subconscious programming, what the disease of Codependence causes us to do is abandon ourselves.  It causes the abandonment of self, the abandonment of our own inner child – and that inner child is the gateway to our channel to the Higher Self.

The one who betrayed us and abandoned and abused us the most was ourselves.  That is how the emotional defense system that is Codependence works.

The battle cry of Codependence is “I’ll show you – I’ll get me.””

We need to learn to see the gray area.  It is never just black and white, right and wrong.  There are always multiple levels involved in this experience of being human.  It is vital to stop empowering black and white thinking.

There is a simple prayer that sums up this process.  It is a formula for learning how to live life in a healthy way.  It, like the Twelve Step Recovery process, is a Divinely inspired work of Mystical Truth.  It is called the Serenity Prayer.

God,

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

(The Serenity Prayer is generally thought to have been written by Reinhold Niebuhr)

God / Goddess / Great Spirit, please help me to access:

the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (life, other people),

The courage and willingness to change the things I can (me, my own attitudes and behaviors),

And the wisdom and clarity to know the difference.

(My personal adapted version of Serenity Prayer)

This link will take you to different interpretations of The Twelve Steps on a page of my site.

The last section of this article is a short excerpt about the Principles of Twelve Step Recovery along with my version of the of the first three steps from intellectual and emotional levels as I understand and apply them – originally published online in 1998.  At the bottom of the page is a disclaimer to let you know that Alcoholics Anonymous has not approved any deviation from their approach to the Twelve Steps and any reference I make to the steps is not meant to imply otherwise.

The Twelve Steps are a formula for integrating the Spiritual into the physical so that powerlessness can lead to True empowerment.

Twelve Step Principles & tools include:

Self-Honesty, willingness, Acceptance, letting go, surrender,

Faith, Trust, honesty, Humility, Patience, openness, Courage,

Responsibility, Action, Forgiveness, compassion, Love.

“When I became willing to surrender the old attitudes and beliefs, to surrender to feeling the feelings, to surrender trying to control things over which I had no control, then I accessed the power to change myself and my relationships.  I became empowered to change my life into an experience that was defined by Joy, Love, and Peace instead of fear, anger, and pain.”

There are two points of powerlessness with Codependence

The first is intellectual – when we first realize that there is something that’s not working and that maybe we have to change, to learn a different way.

The second comes after we have intellectually learned what boundaries and healthy behavior are but we cannot stop acting out the old patterns in our closest relationships – we watch ourselves saying things we don’t want to say, and doing things we don’t want to do.

This is when it is necessary to do the emotional healing.

Here is my version of the initial steps from these two different levels.

Intellectual Steps

Step 1. I acknowledge and accept that I am powerless out of ego-self to control my human life experience, and that the delusion that I should be in control has caused pain and suffering in my life.

Step 2. Came to remember that I am a Spiritual Being who is part of the ONENESS that is the Unconditionally Loving, ALL-Powerful Universal Force, and that believing in that Force can help to bring balance, harmony, and sanity to my life.

Step 3. Made a decision to ask the Force to help me align my will, my actions, and my life with the Universal Power.

Emotional Steps

Step 1. Admitted that I am powerless to substantially change the learned behavioral defenses and dysfunctional attitudes from childhood until I deal with the emotional wounds of my childhood experience.

Step 2. Came to remember that I am a Spiritual Being who is part of the ONENESS that is the Unconditionally Loving, ALL-Powerful Universal Force, and that believing in that Force can help to bring balance, harmony, and sanity to my life.

Step 3. Made a decision to ask the Force to help me face the terror of healing my emotional wounds.

Sacred Spiral

This is excerpted from an article by the same name on my website Joy2MeU.com  It is the first in a series of articles on the twelve step proces.  The second article in that series is The Miracle of The Twelve Step Recovery Process Part 2:  The First Three Steps – 1, 2, 3, and a 1, 2, 3

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site:  A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries.  The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries –  is something that I teach people through telephone counseling. (It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere.)  I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes some special combination offers.

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls  (links to all of my books in ebook format are on that page) would really help you take your understanding to a whole new level.  Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

In the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth.  I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page:

I also offer periodic day long workshops in San Diego to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.   (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop  – and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. )

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend.  Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

Sacred Spiral

Although my book and articles make reference to Alcoholics Anonymous, the principles and Twelve Step program of A.A., this does not mean that A.A. has reviewed or approved the contents of this writing, nor that A.A. agrees with the views expressed herein. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism only – use of this material in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after A.A., but address other problems, or in any other non-A.A. context, does not imply otherwise.

A Higher Power of my own understanding 4 – Inspiration from the Big Book of Alcoholic Anonymous

 

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

 ““One of the core characteristics of this disease of Codependence is intellectual polarization – black and white thinking.  Rigid extremes – good or bad, right or wrong, love it or leave it, one or ten.  Codependence does not allow any gray area – only black and white extremes.

Life is not black and white.  Life involves the interplay of black and white.  In other words, the gray area is where life takes place.  A big part of the healing process is learning the numbers two through nine – recognizing that life is not black and white.”

“The Twelve Step program of AA provides a practical program for accessing Spiritual power in dealing with day-to-day human life.  A formula for integrating the Spiritual into the physical.  Even though some of the steps, as originally written, contain shaming and abusive wording, the Twelve Step process and the ancient Spiritual principles underlining it are invaluable tools in helping the individual being start down, and stay on, a path aligned with Truth.” – all quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

In the quote from my book just above, I mention that some of the 12 steps contain shaming and abusive wording.  I was speaking specifically of step 5 and 6 – which are part of the 4th step inventory process.  Here are those steps in an excerpt from an article on my site in a series on the 12 steps.

“4.   Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5.   Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6.    Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Even though this page is about step 4, I included step 5 and 6 above because I want to first address the shaming language in which the twelve steps – as used in AA and adapted by CoDA – are written.  Step 6 actually refers to the negative side of the inventory done in step 4, so is a part of the fourth step process. . . . .

I hate the term “defects of character.”  There could be no better term to describe toxic shame.  That is what I felt most of my life – that I was somehow defective, that something was wrong with who I am.

I prefer to refer to these “defects” as codependent behavior patterns and dysfunctional attitudes.  They are part of the emotional defense system which we adapted to protect ourselves as children.  They are not signs that we are defective, nor are they “wrongs” as step 5 states – they are dysfunctional because they do not work to help us have a Loving, fulfilling relationship with ourselves.  They are a part of the disease of codependence that we were powerless over as long as we were unconscious to them.  By starting to get conscious of these behavior patterns and attitudes we start to access the power to change them.  That is what step 4 is Truly about – becoming conscious.” – The Miracle of The Twelve Step Recovery Process – Step 4 inventory  

The underlining dynamic of codependency is black and white thinking.  Drinking or not drinking is a black and white issue.  Thus many recovering alcoholics can stop drinking while still empowering the black and white thinking of codependency.  Many recovering alcoholics are rigid in their perspective and don’t ever do the emotional healing of their childhood wounds because they tell themselves it is not necessary to sobriety – and they are scared to death of their own emotions on a subconscious level.  Some of the most wounded codependents I know have 30 or 40 years sober and have never addressed their emotional issues – while justifying their rigidity as doing AA the “right” way.

According to this “old time” AA perspective, “outside issues” should not be discussed in AA meetings.  There are many suffering codependents in AA who are not open minded enough to realize that Bill Wilson – one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous – would have loved to have had the tools we have available to us today.  He would have run to an Adult Children of Alcoholics or Co-Dependents Anonymous meeting where he could have found the roots of the depression which tormented him.  The suffering codependents in AA are terrified that if they don’t follow a rigid formula – the “right” way – in their recovery, they will end up drinking again.

That “right” way, according to the rigid members of AA, includes not discussing drugs in an AA meeting.  Alcohol is of course a drug – so this is nonsense in my view.  But some old timers are very adamant about AA being only for alcoholics and not for drug addicts.

That rigid black and white thinking led in recent years to something which I personally find ridiculously petty.  In the newest revision of the AA Big Book, the story that was most important to me in the book had it’s title change to remove the word addict.

This chapter – which used to be called “Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict” – was written by a man named Dr. Paul.  It was from his chapter that I got a lot of the basic foundation for my codependency recovery.  His chapter was instrumental in my search for a Higher Power of my own understanding.

There is a multitude of good stuff in this chapter but I will touch on three that were very important to me here.

1.  He talks about being part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.  Seeing the half of the glass that is full instead of focusing on the half that is empty.  Out of this I came up with a little saying for myself: “I don’t have any problems, I have opportunities for growth.”

This was a little saying that had a huge impact on my recovery.  It started shifting me out of the victim role I had been programmed to react out of in childhood.  This saying was a paradigm buster for me.  It caused me to change my perspective of how I viewed life and led to me changing my relationship with life.  I stopped automatically seeing myself as the victim of life and other people and started looking for the silver lining, the opportunity for growth, attached to the events in my life.

Little sayings can have a huge impact on our healing paths.

2.  He says something in his chapter that I interpreted to be “If God Loves me unconditionally, whom am I to not Love myself.”  It was a shocking concept to me.  That God could actually love me – the shameful, sinful, weak creature of the flesh who was certainly going to be condemned to burn in hell forever – was shocking enough when I first started in the program.  What was more shocking was to realize that if I put myself down I was saying that God made junk.  I realized it was actually arrogance to believe God could love everyone else but I wasn’t lovable.  It was my dysfunctionally programmed ego that was giving me that message – it was negative grandiosity.  It was another paradigm buster for me and a real catalyst in me changing my perspective on, and relationship with, both my self and a Higher Power of my understanding.

3.  The other vitally important thing that I got out of this chapter was a new perspective on how I gave away power over my emotions.  Dr. Paul talks about how his serenity was directly proportional to his level of acceptance – and inversely proportional to his expectations.  Looking at how my expectations were setting me up to have emotional reactions to life – and learning to be honest with myself about those expectations – was one of the most important pieces of the puzzle for me.  It was vital in the process of learning to be emotionally honest with my self – and in learning to take responsibility for my emotional reactions.  I have an article on my web site in which I talk about how pivotal focusing on my expectations was for me in learning to stop buying into the belief that I was a victim. Serenity and Expectations – intimately interrelated  I mention Dr. Paul’s chapter in the Big Book in that article.

So, I am very grateful for Dr. Paul’s chapter of the Big Book – it was inspirational for me, and provided a great deal of fundamental insight into my relationship with myself and life.  I am also very grateful to Alcoholics Anonymous because it saved my life.  I find myself alternately sad and angry about the rigidity in AA caused by codependency – and the shaming messages that rigid members often give to anyone who is looking at other issues or doing emotional healing.  Something that has been true in a lot of religions in world history is also true in AA to a certain extent.  When human beings – reacting out of fear – place rigid interpretations on the words that carry the message, they often lose the spirit of the message.”

This is the fourth in a 10 part series of articles on A Higher Power of my own understanding – the first one can be found here.

Unfortunately black and white thinking and a rigid perspective is not only found in AA.  Here is an article on my site in which I talk about how codependent thinking has affected Co-Dependents Anonymous meetings.

“I still consider CoDA my primary program, because it is the 12 step program that is most closely focused on cause instead of symptoms. And I will continue to go to meetings of various varieties because they are a place where people are growing and learning – 12 step anonymous groups are possibly the healthiest organizations on the planet.  It is just sad to me, that they aren’t as effective as they could be – and that there are so many suffering codependents in 12 step recovery who do not know how to focus on their core issues.” – The decline of Co-Dependents Anonymous in the late 90s and the state of recovery in CoDA in 2007  

Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.  Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls (links to all of my books through Amazon.com and in ebook format are on that page) would really help you take your understanding to a whole new level.

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

In the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth.  I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this sale page.

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend.  Getting into codependency

Cover of book on romantic relationships

Romantic Relationships – The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth

recovery is an act of love for self.

Links to special offers for telephone counseling, workshop, book, audio download and subscription areas of Joy2MeU.com are available on this special offers page.

 

 

 

Co-Creation: Owning your Power to Manifest Love

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“As long as we are reacting to old wounds and old tapes we cannot respond to the now. The more we heal, the more responsibility we have – that is, ability to respond. The ability to respond in the moment.”

“By doing our emotional healing, by changing the dysfunctional attitudes, we can start being responsible in our lives – that is, we can begin to have the ability to respond to life honestly in the moment.

Until we heal our wounds, until we become honest and clear in our emotional process, we are not able to be discerning. We are not capable of responding to life in the now – we are only able to react out of old grief, out of old tapes.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

The single most important step in this inner healing work is detachment. It is developing a detached level of consciousness – and observer / witness perspective – that allows us to start practicing discernment in relationship to both our inner and outer process. This facilitates the process of learning how to have internal boundaries so that we can start having the wisdom and clarity to integrate a Loving Spiritual belief system and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into our emotional relationship with life. Then we are able to start achieving some emotional balance, and start owning our power to be a positive conscious co-creator of our life experience – a Loving, mature, empowered force in our own lives, instead of an unconscious co-creator out of the negative, self abusive, self sabotaging reactions that are caused by our emotional wounds and the codependent behavior patterns adapted in childhood.

By developing detachment we can start practicing discernment – having the wisdom to know the difference between the things we cannot change and the things which we can – which will allow us to develop internal boundaries so that we can stop being the victim of our wounds and dysfunctional intellectual programming. Developing some detachment from our own internal process is necessary so we can stop reacting and learn to respond in the moment in a healthy, mature manner – as an empowered, Spiritually enlightened adult, instead of a frightened, wounded child.

“As long as we keep reacting out of black and white polarized thinking, we are powerless to change our patterns. Recognizing we were powerless out of ego self to do anything but react, creates the space to allow us to start changing our relationship with ourselves and stop being our own worst enemy. Recognizing our powerlessness to control life out of ego, helps us to begin to take power away from the feeling of toxic shame and start forgiving ourselves. Awakening to the futility, the inherent dysfunction, of allowing our early childhood ego programming to define us and run our lives – and our powerlessness to change that until we became conscious that it needed to, and could, be changed – begins the process of learning to Love ourselves, and creates the space to start being open to relaxing and enjoying life. By learning to stop empowering polarized reaction to the toxic shame, we can start being honest enough with ourselves to own our responsibility in how our lives have unfolded so that we can make amends to our self and others – and that allows us to start changing our behavior and relationship patterns substantially and significantly.” – Attack on America – A Call for Higher Consciousness Chapter 5

Awakening to Higher Consciousness

On January 3, 2011 I celebrated 27 (now 30) years of being clean and sober. I have been clean and sober for longer than I drank and used for some years now. An amazing miracle that has unfolded one day at a time. Some of those days were excruciatingly painful – full of hopelessness and despair. In early recovery, I didn’t make it through those days sober because I wanted to be sober – or because I wanted to be alive. I made it through one day at a time because I was terrified of returning to, and getting stuck in, the hell I had been living in for the last 4 or 5 years of my drinking.

There is an old AA saying that: Alcoholics Anonymous doesn’t open up the gates of heaven and let us in – it opens up the gates of hell and lets us out. When I got released from my alcoholic hell, what I found myself experiencing was life. The very thing I had been drinking to cope with!

What I realize now, is that I was released from alcoholic hell and found myself in codependent hell. My relationship with my self and with life condemned me to codependent hell – and alcohol and drugs had given me a vacation of sorts from dealing with the fact that I did not have a clue of how to live life in a functional way.

I am very, very grateful now that I am a recovering alcoholic. If I had not found alcohol and drugs, I would have killed myself in one way or another in my late teens or early twenties. My 17 plus year drinking career kept me alive long enough to be present when planetary conditions changed so that the New Age of Healing and Joy could dawn in human consciousness. Long enough to have available to me, the tools and knowledge to be able to heal my wounded soul and learn to live life in a way that works. Long enough that first Adult Children of Alcoholics, and then Co-Dependents Anonymous meetings, were available to help me in my healing process.

“The dysfunctional dance of Codependence is caused by being at war with ourselves – being at war within.

We are at war with ourselves because we are judging and shaming ourselves for being human. We are at war with ourselves because we are carrying around suppressed grief energy that we are terrified of feeling. We are at war within because we are “damming” our own emotional process – because we were forced to become emotionally dishonest as children and had to learn ways to block and distort our emotional energy.

We cannot learn to Love ourselves and be at peace within until we stop judging and shaming ourselves for being human and stop fighting our own emotional process, until we stop waging war on ourselves.”

Detachment and Delayed Gratification

I can see now, that the reason I was able to stay sober was because of two concepts that are invaluable to any healing or growth. The first one made the second possible. It is the first of these concepts that is the single most important step in the inner healing process – the one that I stress so much to anyone I am working with on how to change and improve the quality of their lives.

That concept is detachment.

Codependence is a compulsively reactive condition. I had gone through life like a pin ball – bouncing / reacting from one point to the next, from one person to the next. It was never my fault. Someone, or something else, was always to blame for how messed up my life was – for how awful I felt inside. I focused on blame and resentment because the only alternative that I knew was to blame myself. I was at war inside of myself – and because I was taught to look outside for definition and worth by the society I grew up in, I tried to assign the blame externally for that internal war.

At the core of codependency is shame about being human. This shame was caused by a polarized, black and white intellectual paradigm that empowered the perspective that the only alternatives for evaluating worth, for determining value, are right and wrong. Human beings are incapable of being perfect based upon a perspective in which the only alternatives are right and wrong.

Codependency is a dysfunctional relationship with life, with being human. It is the dance I learned to do as a little kid. It is a dance whose music is generated from fear and shame, to a rhythm dictated by black and white thinking. It is a dance characterized by movement between extremes – blame them or blame me, overreact or underreact, less than or better than, success or failure, win or lose, etc., – which makes balance impossible. There is no middle ground in a dance that can only be done right or wrong. There can be no inner peace.

Since I was continually attempting to do life perfect (or rebelling by going to the opposite extreme) according to false beliefs about the nature and purpose of being human, I could never have any inner peace. I judged my self and my life experience, both consciously and unconsciously, out of a dysfunctional polarized belief system – so that it was not possible to stop being at war within. At the core of my being I felt like I was a defective monster, some kind of shameful, unlovable loser – and I tried to deflect some of that pain by blaming others.

No wonder I drank. Alcohol – and later drugs of various kinds – saved my life.

The first thing I had to do to get sober was to detach enough from my personal reality – from my hellish emotional pain and shame, from the intellectual garbage generated by my twisted codependent thinking – to become conscious of the reality that alcohol was not working for me anymore. I had to get conscious enough to be able to realize that it had been many years since alcohol had given me the relief and good feelings that it had when I started drinking.

With any addictive, mind / mood altering substance / behavior, the very thing that brought some relief from the internal war and mental anguish – the substance or behavior that gives us feelings of being high, of rising above our lives of quiet desperation, of feeling good – becomes something that we feel is necessary just to feel normal. Then eventually, normal becomes very low indeed.

I had to detach from myself enough to look at my life from a perspective that allowed me to see that maybe my behavior had something to do with why I was so miserable – but that is was not because I was a shameful being. The twelve step concept of powerlessness – the idea that alcoholism was a disease rather than a weakness of character – allowed me to detach and view my behavior, my drinking and using, with enough objectivity to start seeing reality with more clarity.

Once I surrendered to the reality that alcohol was hurting me rather than helping me, then I could make some effort to start living life differently. It was necessary for me to get a detached, objective look at myself in order for me to get honest enough with myself to decide that it might be better for me to get sober. I did not stop drinking because I wanted to stop drinking. I stopped drinking because alcohol and drugs were not working for me any more. When I was able to look at reality with some detachment, I could see that what I thought was the solution had actually become the most pressing problem.

The second concept that was so valuable in staying sober and starting to change my life, was the concept of delayed gratification. When I first started recovery, I thought that living life one day at a time was a revolutionary concept for me. But looking back now, I can see that living life one day at a time is what I had been doing all my life. The difference was that I had been living out of instant gratification.

As I describe in my web article The codependent three step – A Dance of Shame, Suffering, & Self-Abuse, codependency is a vicious, compulsive, self-abusive dynamic – an prison that we are trapped in as long as we are reacting. In my codependent dance I was the victim of myself, I was my own perpetrator, and I rescued myself in ways that were ultimately self abusive. The shame and pain I was feeling was causing me to feel like a victim, the critical parent voice in my head was beating me up for being a stupid loser, and I was rescuing myself with drugs and alcohol.

In early recovery, I learned to think the next drink through to the consequences before picking it up. In other words, think about how I would feel about myself tomorrow if I take a drink today. And be conscious enough to tell myself the truth that I didn’t want just one drink – I wanted oblivion, unconsciousness.

So, I started living life one day at a time from a detached place of consciousness that was aware of cause and effect – and understood that not indulging in instant gratification today would help me to not hate myself so much tomorrow.

Detachment allowed me to start aligning myself with the way life really works – cause and effect – and choosing delayed gratification one day at a time. It has resulted in over 30 years of sobriety as I am publishing this chapter as a blog in June 2014.

Developing a friendly, compassionate observer self

“One of the difficulties in this healing process is that even after we start to awaken to being butterflies, a part of our mind keeps telling us that we are low, crawling, disgusting creatures.

Taking the power away from that part of us is the key to the healing process. A key to stopping the war inside. We need to take the shame and judgment out of the process on a personal level. It is vitally important to stop listening and giving power to that critical place within us that tells us that we are bad and wrong and shameful.

That “critical parent” voice in our head is the disease lying to us. Any shaming, judgmental voice inside of us is the disease talking to us – and it is always lying. This disease of Codependence is very adaptable, and it attacks us from all sides. The voices of the disease that are totally resistant to becoming involved in healing and Recovery are the same voices that turn right around and tell us, using Spiritual language, that we are not doing Recovery good enough, that we are not doing it right.

We need to become clear internally on what messages are coming from the disease, from the old tapes, and which ones are coming from the True Self – what some people call “the small quiet voice.”

We need to turn down the volume on those loud, yammering voices that shame and judge us and turn up the volume on the quiet Loving voice. As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are feeding back into the disease, we are feeding the dragon within that is eating the life out of us. Codependence is a disease that feeds on itself – it is self-perpetuating.

This healing is a long gradual process – the goal is progress, not perfection. What we are learning about is unconditional Love. Unconditional Love means no judgment, no shame.”

We all observe ourselves, but we do it from the perspective of the critical judge. It is our critical parent voice that provides the witness perspective in our lives. It is our own worst enemy, judging us and shaming us – calling us stupid or loser or fool. We all have experienced our critical parent voice beating ourselves up for being human by using whatever pet abusive names are part of our personal abusive relationship with self. To that critical observer self, nothing we do is ever good enough – except when we are reacting to the opposite extreme and telling ourselves how much better we are than others because they are mean or stupid or losers.

The critical parent voice is rooted in the subconscious intellectual paradigm that is defining and dictating our life experience. It is the play by play commentator that is providing running commentary on how well we are playing the game of life – and it is judging our performance based upon false beliefs about the nature and purpose of life, based upon a black and white perspective that dooms us to be the victim of being imperfect humans. It dictates how we react to life and then judges us for those reactions.

It is very important to start learning how to take power away from that critical parent voice so that we can start developing a witness perspective with a compassionate level of consciousness. So that we can start learning how to be our own best friend – instead of our own worst enemy.

The first step to developing this level of consciousness is to know that it is possible to develop it. Once we start to realize that we can have a detached observer perspective that is not judging us, then we can start raising our consciousness to be more aligned with Love than with fear and shame.

It takes awhile for us to get to a place where we can be compassionate with ourselves. In the beginning, we want to try to at least be able to observe ourselves from a neutral perspective – or even better from the perspective of a scientific observer. We can start to watch ourselves as if we were an alien species we are studying so that we can see ourselves and say, “Oh isn’t that interesting. Now why did I react that way.” Instead of “How can I be so stupid.”

Once we start to learn to be detached in a way that is not shaming, then we can start being the detective of our inner process – we can start tracking down the cause and effect relationship between our behaviors and our childhood programming.

We can also then start using that observer self as an inner defense attorney who can start to defend us from the critical parent voice. We already have a judge and prosecutor inside – we desperately need an inner defense attorney who can start setting boundaries with the critical parent voice.

A vital part of the healing process is having enough detachment to start relating to the critical parent programming – and the emotional wounds / inner child places within – as parts of us rather as our self. Achieving some separation within in our perspective of our own inner process is vital to setting boundaries within – and learning how to stop being the victim of ourselves.

This inner child healing / codependency recovery work is a process of transforming our relationship with ourselves into a more Loving and empowered relationship by starting to take some control over our inner process. We can learn how to develop the mature empowered adult within us – and let that part of us run our lives instead of our emotional wounds and dysfunctional intellectual programming.

We all have that adult within us already – we just need to own it. Until we can detach from our inner process enough to start seeing all the different parts of us, we cannot really understand all the conflict within. The only way to start achieving some inner peace is to develop a friendly, compassionate adult within who is on a Spiritual path and can make choices in our life from a place of Love instead of fear and shame.

Detachment is necessary for anyone to start changing their behavior patterns. The more we get conscious of the power of detaching and the choices it offers to us, the more powerfully we can align with the healing / Spiritual awakening process. I had to practice detachment in order to get, and stay, sober. It was necessary to detach from my own process before I could start seeing reality with more clarity. But I did not realize that was what I was doing. Once I started to realize how the process works, and how valuable a technique detachment is, then I could really start to be proactive in intervening in my own internal process and changing my internal programming. Then I could really be consciously involved in the process of changing my relationship with myself into one in which I could choose to be a co-creator in my life out of Love instead of reacting unconsciously out of my self hatred.

Awakening to a level of consciousness where I could start to take responsibility in, and for, my life from a perspective that was aligned with the dynamics of how life really works, allowed me to start learning how to be my own friend instead of my worst enemy. It allowed me to realize that the part of me that was shaming and judging me was just a part of me – it is not who I am. The emotional wounds that I was so afraid of were just parts of me also – I was able to learn how to stop letting the feelings of the little kid define and dictate my life, at the same time I was building a nurturing relationship with those parts of me. I could then learn to stop the part of me that was abusing me from making me feel like a victim, and start rescuing myself in ways that worked – in ways that were aligned with delayed gratification and Love.

Detachment was the key to creating the space in my consciousness to start the process of taking power away from the shame and judgment – to stop living life based on fear. As long as I was just reacting out of unconsciousness, I was powerless to change my behaviors. Detaching from my internal process enough to be more conscious of cause and effect created the space for me to start owning the power to make choices and take responsibility for the way I was living my life.

We can develop a recovery control center (as I have taken to calling it lately) that is making choices about our attitudes and behaviors from an enlightened perspective that is aligned with intuition instead of fear based impulsive reaction. We can develop a Loving, compassionate relationship with ourselves by having enough detachment to learn discernment. We can then own our power to be co-creators in our lives who can align ourselves with transforming our dance of life from one of dancing in the darkness feeling separate from the Creative Source, to one in which we are dancing in the Light of Love.

Creating the space to manifest Love

“I spent most of my life doing the Serenity prayer backwards, that is, trying to change the external things over which I had no control – other people and life events mostly – and taking no responsibility (except shaming and blaming myself) for my own internal process – over which I can have some degree of control. Having some control is not a bad thing; trying to control something or somebody over which I have no control is what is dysfunctional.”

What is so valuable, what I believe is unique, about the approach to inner child healing that I have been guided to develop and refine, is that it provides a formula for integrating Spiritual Truth and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into one’s emotional relationship with life.

It does not matter how much Spiritual Truth, how many mystical experiences of oneness, how in tune with Love, you can feel in certain moments – if you cannot integrate it into your life in a way which changes your emotional experience of life on a moment to moment, day to day basis. You can go to therapy for many years, read all the Spiritual and self help books, go to workshops and seminars and lectures – compile encyclopedic intellectual knowledge of what healthy behavior is – and still be reacting to old wounds in the relationships that mean the most to you.

The missing ingredient for so many people who have been seeking for many years, is how to integrate what you know into how you feel about your experience life. That is what I teach people – because it is what I have spent many years learning. It is what I am still learning.

The telephone counseling that I have been doing since the spring of 2000 has led me to refine and fine tune my understanding of the dynamics of the healing process work. I resisted suggestions to do telephone counseling for quite awhile because I was concerned about how effective it would be. When working with someone in person, I can observe body language and look into their eyes. It is much easier to help a person get into their feelings, do their grief work, when working in person.

The very fact that I wasn’t in the presence of the person has turned out to be perfect – it actually forced me into a deeper and more sophisticated understanding of the process. Working with people on the telephone led me to focus on how to help the person change their relationship with themselves and life in the quickest, most effective way.

I realized that I did not need to know a lot of details about the persons story. I will get just enough information from them to be able to identify the primary themes and issues in their lives – and the dynamics in childhood that spawned these issues. That allows me to explain the dynamics to them in a way they can understand and relate to from their personal experience.

The dynamics of codependence are universal and predictable – because all human beings share the same emotions and emotional process. The internal dynamics of the interrelationship between the mental and emotional levels of our beings is something I understand intimately. Each of us is unique and different in the details of our lives, in the flavor of codependency we adapted – but we all have the same basic internal dynamic.

I wrote the final draft of my book, Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, in 1995. Everything I say about the disease and the recovery process in that book is perfectly aligned with what I know today. It is a Truly amazing book that I am very grateful to have been guided to write.

“The terrorist attack on September 11th, was a blatant and straightforward manifestation of the dynamics of codependence that I explained in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. The subtitle of that book is A Cosmic Perspective of Codependence and the Human Condition. That book is a work of mystical Spirituality. I believe it is a Divinely inspired message to remind all wounded souls of the Truth of Love and ONENESS. As I mentioned in my last Update, I am just now starting to live at the level of consciousness that I was guided to access while writing The Dance of Wounded Souls.

“One of the things that I am realizing in the processing that was set off by this latest breakthrough in my process, is that I seem to just now be reaching – on a personal level – the level of consciousness that my book was written out of. It has been over 10 years now, since I wrote the core of what was to become Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls – over a period of 48 frenzied hours of writing, to be able to give a talk that I had scheduled months before.

The book of course evolved from that first time when I gave my talk – here in Cambria – reading from scribbles on yellow legal paper. The core of the book however poured out of me during those two days from a level of consciousness that was much higher than the one I was experiencing in my day to day life at that time.” – Joy to You & Me and Joy2MeU Update – August -2001

The official publication date of The Dance of Wounded Souls was January 1996, but I actually received the books from the printer on November 30, 1995. The book is perfect. There are maybe two or three places in the book that I might change a word or phrase, but other than that, it is perfect – which is not something I could have done by myself. I was guided to write that book. I was led to access the information. I was able to be open to remembering Truth and being used as an instrument to share the message.” – Attack on America – A Call for Higher Consciousness Chapter 6

Just reading my book will help most people to change their relationship with life for the better because it will cause a paradigm shift in consciousness. I understood the disease and the recovery process then – the telephone counseling has led me to refine and fine tune my ability to communicate the dynamics of the process to others.

In my own recovery process I was led intuitively, and through working the twelve steps, to develop the detachment that allowed me to learn how to start practicing discernment and to develop internal boundaries to facilitate my healing and growth. I wasn’t consciously aware of how important the concept of detachment specifically had been in my healing at the time I wrote the book – and don’t even mention the word in my book. I do describe the process and the importance of developing the observer perspective.

“We need to start observing ourselves and stop judging ourselves. Any time we judge and shame ourselves, we are feeding back into the disease, we are jumping back into the squirrel cage.”

What I see clearly now, is that detachment was the first step in my recovery – and is the key to consciousness raising. As long as we are reacting out of a polarized belief system to the feeling of toxic shame in our core relationship with ourselves, we are powerless to be co-creators of our lives in anything but a negative way. It is only by detaching from our inner process enough to start seeing reality from a new healthier perspective, that we can start to gain some freedom from our old wounds and old tapes.

Observing ourselves without shame and judgment allows us to see reality with more clarity. It creates the space that allows us to own our power to make choices. It creates the space for us to start to understand our own internal conflict so that we can choose to start paying attention to the “small quiet voice” of our Spirit, of our intuition, instead of giving power to the loud abusive messages coming from our wounded ego programming. It is the key to starting to stop the war within and create some inner peace.

Developing a level of consciousness in which we are self aware, and turning that space into a proactive force in changing our relationship with self and life, is the key to learning to relax and enJoy life in the moment some of the time. The percentage of the time we are be-ing and enjoying life will increase gradually as we transform our relationship with self and life.

Probably even more important than the ability to relax and enjoy life, is developing the observer consciousness that helps us to start developing some compassion for ourselves when we are not enjoying life. It helps us to allow – and align with – the emotional healing so that we can release the repressed grief energy we are carrying. It helps us to stop judging and shaming ourselves when we feel “bad.” That in turn means we spend less time in negative feeling emotional spaces – and move back into positive feeling emotional spaces sooner. It allows us to open up to receive so that we don’t sabotage feeling good.

Detachment allows us to start taking some Loving control of our own internal process. It allows us to start taking control over, and responsibility for, our thoughts and our feelings to the extent that is possible. It allows us to create a space in our lives to start learning how to be Loving to ourselves instead of feeling like a victim of self and life.

Detachment – learning to observe our selves so that we can become more conscious – is an act of Love.

“Our job is to pay attention to the best of our ability, to be conscious enough to pick up on the messages the Universe is sending our way, and to take action in the direction we feel is necessary. We need to suit up and show up for life today, and do what is in front of us – at the same time a part of us is observing how intricately and perfectly the process is unfolding.

God I Love this process!! It is so incredibly elaborate. A fascinating unfolding of an intricate mosaic. I can be an actor in the play – and at the same time, be the audience watching the story unfold. The audience part of my consciousness used to be booing and hissing, throwing tomatoes and yelling what a stupid loser I was. Now my audience is compassionate, understanding, and supportive – and even gives me a standing ovation once in a while.” – Newsletter Part 2 May 23, 2001 Update

additional level of consciousness

I realized after posting this page that I wasn’t sure if I had been clear that I was not talking about detachment as a way to avoid feeling the feelings. I am referring to developing an additional level of consciousness where we can be watching ourselves at the same time we are feeling the feelings. A level of consciousness from the adult on a Spiritual path, the recovery control center, that can help us align with the grieving process and release the emotional energy. We can be the recovering adult who is observing from a nurturing and Loving place at the same time we are experiencing the feelings of the 5 year old, or 9 year old, or 23 year old, or whatever. We can be in the feelings and observing ourselves grieving at the same time.

This level of consciousness is from a higher perspective. It is an additional level of consciousness that we cultivate and develop by more clearly tuning in to, concentrating our attention on, our intuition – the “small quiet voice” – and consciously choosing to give power to the Spiritual Truth we resonate with instead of our emotional truth and mental programming from childhood. By cultivating this detached perspective – detached from our ego experience of being human – we can observe both the mental and emotional levels of our being from a more discerning perspective. It facilitates changing the intellectual programming and taking some of the terror out of healing the emotional wounds. It allows us to set internal boundaries within, and between, the mental and emotional levels of our being.

When I speak of a detached observer perspective, I am not talking about the kind of observation that is taught in some spiritual meditation practices. Many people use that type of observation as a way to avoid feeling the feelings. That type of detachment from emotions is what some people experience on anti-depressants. Some people use chanting and meditation as anti-depressants. Chanting and meditation can be invaluable tools but applied in an imbalanced manner can, like positive affirmations, be used as tools to deny feelings.

Just observing the feelings does not heal them; does not fundamentally change our relationship patterns; does not make our fear of intimacy go away. We need to feel, experience, and release the emotional energy in order to heal the wounds and take power away from them.

We need to feel the feelings but learn how not to be the victim of them / of our reactions. I am talking about a detached observer consciousness that gives us the power to choose how to respond when one of our grief / rage buttons has been pushed. An emotional wound can be triggered and we can make a conscious choice that it is not safe to feel and release those feelings in that moment. Then, we have a choice about how we are going to respond in the now, and later we can do the grief work when it is safe and appropriate to do it.

We do not avoid feeling the feelings. We gain some power over when and where we feel the feelings. Detachment, as it applies to the inner child healing process in my approach, is a technique that fosters empowerment and response-ability, not emotional denial. Detachment is a dynamic technique, a method of consciously relating to our internal process, that is an integral and invaluable step in consciousness raising / enlightenment / awakening / recovery / healing / empowerment.” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing Chapter 35 Co-Creation: Owning your Power to Manifest Love

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing is available through Joy2MeU.com  It is also Available as eBook from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

I presently have it for sale with telephone counseling until June 15th, 2014 (9 pm PDT)

Here is the information page for telephone counseling – and there are some special combination offers on this page.

Joy2MeU Journal Logo

Joy2MeU Journal

The last 9 chapters of the online book Attack on America: A Spiritual Healing Perspective are available in the subscription areas of the Joy2MeU website The Joy2MeU Journal and Dancing in Light.  Those subscriptions are presently for sale on this page.

 

My 29th Codependency Recovery Birthday is today, June 3rd ~ excerpt from “The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul”

 I date my codependence recovery as starting on June 3 1986.  As with any milestone, there was recovery that occurred before that – I had been clean and sober for exactly 2 years and 5 months at the point (the story of my early recovery is for another issue) – but this particular day marked a breakthrough in consciousness to a whole new level that changed the direction and focus of my life.  (That day I made a conscious commitment to codependency recovery even though I wouldn’t have known to call it that at that time.)

On June 3rd 1986 I washed my car.  This probably doesn’t sound like an earthshaking event but it was in my life.  I had owned this old pinto for over 2 years at that point.  It had done me great service.  I had bought it for $375 when I was about 3 months sober and had driven it 25,000 miles – and had never washed it.

On that day, I broke through the codependent cycle of “should”ing on myself about the car.  I stopped beating myself up and calling myself a slob, and lazy – and just washed the car.   And then I asked myself “why haven’t I ever washed this car?”

I went home to do some writing and was pretty amazed at what it revealed.  I realized that I was still reacting to life out of the religious programming of my childhood – even though I had thrown out that belief system on a conscious, intellectual level in my late teens and early twenties.  The writing that I did that night helped me to recognize that my emotional programming was dictating my relationship with life even though it was not what I consciously believed.

I realized that the belief that “life was about sin and punishment and I was a sinner who deserved to be punished” was running my life.   When I felt “bad” or “bad” things happened to me – I tried to blame it on others to keep from realizing how much I was hating myself for being flawed and defective, a sinner.  When I felt good or good things happened I was holding my breath because I knew it would be taken away because I didn’t deserve it.  Often when things got too good I would sabotage it because I couldn’t stand the suspense of waiting for god to take it away – which “he” would because I didn’t deserve it.

I could suddenly see that I had been playing a game, with that punishing god I learned about in childhood, for all of my adult life.  I tried not to show that I enjoyed or valued anything too much so that maybe god wouldn’t notice and take it away.  In other words, I could never relax and be in the moment in Joy or peace because the moment I showed that I was enjoying life god would step in to punish me.

I realized that on some level deep within me (I didn’t know anything about inner children or the magical thinking child at that point) that I was afraid that if I washed that car god would notice that I valued it and then cause the car to break down at a time when I didn’t have the money to fix it.

I said to myself – this is no way to live life, I need to change this.  So that night I started to focus on changing the subconscious programming from my childhood.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it – but I was determined to find out.  (That was an act of Love for myself that at the time I wouldn’t have known to call Love.)

Besides the writing I did that night, I also did some reading.  In reading I discovered something that I adapted for my daily prayers.  Only in retrospect, years later did I realize the significance of the change that I made that night.  I had always said the serenity prayer many times a day in my early recovery.  It was like a life preserver that I would cling to all of the times I felt I was drowning.  That night I changed the way I said the serenity prayer by adding another line to the end of it.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage the change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Thy will not my will be done.

In adding “thy will not my will” I was aligning myself with serving the will of The God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit and surrendering my life to being an instrument of service in the Universal Divine Plan.  I was in actuality working the 3rd step each time I said the serenity prayer in this way. (Working the Third Step)

ACA

The change in focus on that day lead me to read certain books, attend workshops, do much writing, and start to go to Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings. (Co-Dependents Anonymous was not founded until October of 1986.)  I was not from an alcoholic family but was starting to realize that my family was dysfunctional and it wasn’t just me who was screwed up.

I went to ACA meetings sporadically.  I used to say that I went to meetings for a year before I ever spoke in one.  Looking back now I find that kind of hard to believe (that it was that long) but it was I am sure at least 8 or 9 meetings over the course of 5 or 6 months before I spoke.  And when I spoke for the first time what I spoke about was that I had realized that I had been sitting in the meetings comparing my story to the other peoples – and thinking that they had it much worse than me.  That I didn’t really have any right to speak up because I wasn’t from a raging alcoholic home and didn’t get beaten in childhood.  That was, of course, my disease minimizing and invalidating my own pain.  The other thing that I mentioned is that I had realized while sitting in that particular meeting that I had spent my whole life thinking that I was a frog who needed a princess to kiss me before I could become a prince – and that that wasn’t true, that I was a prince already.  (Several years later when I moved from Taos New Mexico to California I answered my door one day to find a large stuffed frog sitting on my doorstep.  It was a going away gift from my CoDA group in homage to the frog self image that I talked about in meetings.)

So for over a year, I was pursuing my healing of the childhood programming on mostly an intellectual level.  It wasn’t until I set myself up to feel abandoned and betrayed on my birthday (one of my old regular patterns for special days) that I became willing to do the emotional healing – and started actively pursuing emotional healing (another story for another issue).

The Psychic

In the meantime, in the late summer of 1986, I had gone to work in an Chemical Dependence Treatment Center.  I had been pursuing an acting career in Hollywood since 1975 and had been very good at being a suffering artist.  It was a perfect path for both my codependence (suffering I learned real well from the church that taught me I was a sinner who was here to do penance for being born a sinful, shameful human) and my alcoholism (everyone knows that artists need to drink a lot and do drugs).  As a result of doing Positive Affirmations and consciously trying to reprogram my subconscious beliefs I surrendered to going to work in a treatment center and giving up the suffering artist types of jobs that I had done for years.

I first went to work as a counselors assistant and then was later promoted to therapist because I was qualified for the higher position. I had received my Masters Degree many years before but had abandoned using the knowledge and skills I had in order to pursue my acting career.

For my birthday in 1987 (the one that sparked my pursuit of emotional healing because I set myself up to be abandoned) I received a number of cards at work.  Someone at work said “You should let Marianne read your cards.”  “Read birthday cards?” I responded very skeptically.  “Yes, she reads cards.”  “Birthday cards?!?!?”

To say I didn’t take this seriously is a gross understatement.  Marianne was someone who worked on our unit part time and the next time I saw her I mentioned it to her in a very humorous way.  She responded “Yes, I am a psychic and I read birthday cards among other things.”

This was all a big joke to me.  I had never heard of such a thing and said so – and I would kid around with her about it the next few times I saw her.  I had gotten a message earlier in my recovery that it wasn’t part of my path to pursue experience of a psychic or paranormal nature.  Not that I didn’t believe that there was Truth in many supernatural type of phenomena – just that I was supposed to focus on tuning into the Truth within me and not be looking outside for the answers.  The thing I used to say when someone would try to get me to go see a psychic or have a tarot reading done or something of that nature was “If I am supposed to get a message from a psychic the Universe is quite capable of bringing the psychic into my path.  I don’t have to go looking for answers in that way.”

Well, that is what happened.  Marianne came storming into work one day and said to me “I have to see you right now!”  We went into a private room and she proceeded to read my mail for me – that is tell me all the things that were going on inside of me that I wasn’t talking to anyone about.  I was quite shaken about how much she knew about the secrets I was carrying and the feelings I was hiding.  As I was sitting there in shock at her revelations, she asked to see my birthday cards.  I still had them at work in order for her to read them one day.  I gave them to her and she looked them over.  She pointed out that every birthday card I had gotten that year had at least one musical note on it.   She said that was “about the song that you are becoming.”

A few weeks later I made an appointment to see her for a paid psychic reading.  One day before the reading I was walking down a street in Studio City where I lived and a song came to me.  I knew that when she had said “the song I was becoming” she had not meant a literal song but was rather referring to my Spiritual Path.  But the song that came to me was so perfect that I couldn’t wait to tell her.   When she came over I started speaking the words of the song to her and made one of those “Freudian” slips that was absolutely perfect.  I said:

“Jeremiah was a ‘boy’frog, was a good friend of mine.

Never understood a single word he said but he always had some mighty fine wine.

I always helped him drink his wine.”

A boy who believed he was a frog that needed a princess was who I was.  And I had never listened to much of what my inner child said to me – had pummeled that part of me into submission and at the same time I let that child’s wounds run my life.  I was never much for wine but I drank whatever was available.

So, it was a perfect song for me.  And the chorus is:

Joy to the world.  All the boys and girls.

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

and Joy to you and me.

Out of the intervention of this psychic angel named Marianne a new level of consciousness was opened, and a new direction to steer was revealed.  At a time when I had never experienced what I know now is True Joy in my life – I was given the message that my path was about Joy and carrying a message of Joy to you and me.  The name of my company was born that day – even though I had no idea there would ever be a company.

In that same session, Marianne channeled a message to me from my inner child.  My inner child said to me that I was resisting because of I was so terrified of all the pain and rage that I was carrying and that what I couldn’t see was all of the Joy and Love and Peace that was on the other side of that pain and rage.  The channeled message from my inner child ended with my inner child saying that who he was – was my wounded soul.

That reference to my inner child being my wounded soul along with the musical theme of the song I was becoming planted the seed that with the help of some Saguaro cactus (part of the 30 Days in treatment story mentioned just below) was to grow into becoming the title of my book “The Dance of Wounded Souls.”

The Path

My pursuit of emotional healing lead me into depths of pain and rage that I would never have thought myself capable of surviving.  It led me into a 30 day treatment program for Codependence that was the greatest gift I ever gave myself.  (As I mentioned above the pursuit of emotional healing is a story for another issue as is the 30 days in treatment.)

After that wondrous treatment experience I was lead to move from LA to the place where I had been in treatment – Tucson, Arizona.  Being in Tucson lead me to Sedona where the most frightening and freeing experience in my life took place – as I got to confront evil manifest and consciously take a small part in returning the Energy Field of Collective Human Emotional Consciousness to positive alignment with the Truth of a Loving God-Force. (This is talked about in the Trilogy and in another issue.)

Then I was lead to Taos New Mexico where I started writing the Trilogy and learning how to access the Mystical Truth that I was to be a messenger of in this lifetime.  Before I had ever been to Taos I knew that I was going to be there about a year before going someplace “where the mountains and ocean come together.”  That place was Cambria California where in 1991 I first gave the talk that was to become the book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.  (Miracles)

After two years on the coast I was led back to Taos for some more Karmic settlement and learning before returning to California in the winter of 1994-95 to raise the money to publish my book.  (Leap of faith and miracles in another issue.)

Joy2MeU

After publishing my book and returning to Cambria, I wanted to get a personalized license plate for my car that said Joy to You & Me – in the appropriate number of letters of course.  But it was not available.  What was available was Joy2Me U – so that is what I got.  At the time I understood the message from the Universe.  Joy to me and you is healthier for a recovering codependent than you and me.  I need to heal myself first, protect myself first, nurture myself first and foremost before I can be of service to you in a healthy way.  I am in the process of learning to Love myself – and it is an incredible gift that through doing what I need to do to learn about Love, and sharing my process with you – I get to be an instrument for helping you remember who you are and learn to Love your self first.

On February 28th of 1998 I uploaded the first, very crude pages of my web site.  When I signed up with my server I choose the same letters as my license plate for my screen name – which also then became part of my web site address.  In February of 1999 I purchased my own domain and launched Joy2MeU.com.

So that is the story of where the name of my company “Joy to You & Me” came from and how it transmuted into Joy2MeU.

Next month, I will share a story from another part of my journey.

With Wishes of Joy & Love to Me and You,

Robert

Joy2MeU Journal Logo

Joy2MeU Journal

This story is part of the Premier Issue of the Joy2MeU Journal published online in April 1999.  The Joy2MeU Journal is a body of Robert’s writing compiled between that time and the end of 2004.  To learn more about the Journal see the Journal Information page.  Here is a page that currently includes special offers for books, subscriptions and MP3 downloads.

June 3rd, 2015 – As I say in the article above, on this day 29 years ago I realized that I was living my life beating myself up when things looked and felt bad in my life and holding my breath waiting for the other shoe to drop when things felt and looked good.  I was afraid to show I enjoyed or valued anything lest it be taken away.  A Truly horrible way to live that is what codependency created in my life.  The commitment I made on that day 29 years ago led me to discover a formula for inner healing that is the exact opposite of how my codependency worked.  I learned that when things looked and felt bad that was the time that I most needed to nurture and love myself – and that when things felt and looked good that I should enjoy the heck out of it, because this too shall pass.  Everything changes and gets different in life – that is the nature of life.  It wasn’t personal punishment for being shameful and sinful as I had been taught.

The  commitment I made that day led me to my life’s work – teaching other people how to be more loving to themselves and learn to enjoy life more.  This is what I teach people in my books and telephone counseling and Intensive Training Workshop.  I am eternally grateful that my Higher Power gave me the courage and willingness to follow my path where it has led me – and to be able to help other people by sharing my recovery process – by sharing my experience, strength, and hope. ~ RB

Logo

Logo of Joy to You & Me Enterprises

Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light ~ Chapter 15 Internal Boundaries – the key to emotional balance

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance) Chapter 15 Internal Boundaries

 

 

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls”

“It was vitally important for me to learn how to have internal boundaries so that I could lovingly parent (which, of course, includes setting boundaries for) my inner children, tell the critical parent/disease voice to shut up, and start accessing the emotional energy of Truth, Beauty, Joy, Light, and Love. It was by learning internal boundaries that I could begin to achieve some integration and balance in my life, and transform my experience of life into an adventure that is enjoyable and exciting most of the time.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

The first time I am conscious of hearing the term “internal boundaries” was in a Co-Dependents Anonymous meeting sometime in 1990 or 91. It resonated with me at the time as being an important term. It wasn’t until a few years later that I really started focusing on the concept and how it could be applied to recovery from childhood wounding.

Now, as I look back, I can see that internal boundaries were the key from the beginning. Internal boundaries could also be described as self-discipline or taking responsibility or growing up. They are what is necessary for any real growth to occur. It is necessary for an alcoholic to start having internal boundaries in order to stop drinking – for anyone to stop any addictive, compulsive, or obsessive behavior.

In order to start changing our behavior it is necessary to have an internal boundary with the child in us who wants immediate gratification/immediate relief from the feelings. In order to change what we are doing so we can change what we are getting – it is necessary to start having some internal boundaries with ourselves.

Terms like self-discipline or responsibility carried for me the shame and guilt of the dysfunctional society I grew up in – whereas internal boundaries was a much cleaner term, and a much more accurately focused term. I came to focus on internal boundaries in my private therapy practice and in my personal recovery – and found application of the concept to be powerful and effective in starting to help myself and others become more integrated and balanced.

The key, in terms of the concept of internal boundaries as I use it and apply it, is to set those boundaries from a loving place instead of from a shaming and judgmental place. We all learned to try to control our behavior and feelings with shame, guilt, and fear because those were the tools used in our society. The critical parent voice is the part of us that is attempting to have internal boundaries through shame, criticism, and fear of consequences.

To set internal boundaries from shame and fear is dysfunctional in the long term. When we try to control our behavior out of shame and fear it doesn’t work because we end up rebelling against that attempted control. We rebel by acting out in the self abusive ways that we are shaming ourselves for in the first place. Thus the codependent cycle of shame, blame, and self abuse is fed by the very shame and fear messages that we are using to try to stop it.

The reason we rebel is because when we are shaming and abusing ourselves we are betraying ourselves – and on some deep level we know that is not right. The rebel in us fights against this self abuse – but at the same time because we are reacting out of dysfunctional programming, the rebel within has become allied with the very addictions and dysfunctional behavior we are trying to stop with the shame. On the highest level the rebel within is trying to get us to be True to our True self – but because of our dysfunctional programming, it identifies the ways we learned to protect and nurture ourselves, the ways we learned to go unconscious to the pain, as our ally instead of as self abusive behaviors.

Part of the task in recovery, is to learn to realign our defense system with healing and Love instead of with self destruction. We need to retrain the rebel to fight the good fight on behalf of what is healthy and aligned with growth – instead of aligned with unconsciousness.

This is part of the process of learning to be our own best friend, our own protector, our own Loving parent. By learning how to have internal boundaries we can fight the good fight in a way that serves us instead of hurts us.

When we get into recovery, we are given access to a new tool box. A tool box full of tools that work in our best interest. A big part of making progress in recovery is transitioning from using our old tool box – the tools we learned growing to cope with the pain and go unconscious – to learning how to use the new tools.

This of course, is possible because we are becoming more conscious of our inner process. We are observing ourselves enough to start understanding our patterns and triggers. As we raise our consciousness and and become aware of our reactions, we can begin to consciously start setting internal boundaries out of Love rather than fear and shame.

Those boundaries include: a boundary within the mental to help us tell the critical parent voice to shut up and start owning our power to reprogram our intellectual paradigm and change our perspective on our self and life; a boundary between the mental and emotional so that we can learn to feel and release the feelings while not buying into the false beliefs; a boundary within the emotional so that we can start discerning with more clarity which emotional reactions coming from the wounded parts of us – and which are intuitive messages from our Spirit; and boundaries that help us separate being from behavior, so that we can start affirming our worth as beings while recognizing that we can change any behavior that is dysfunctional, any behavior patterns that do not work to help us be happy and enjoy life.”

Logo of Joy2MeU

Logo of Joy2MeU.com website of codependency recovery expert inner child healing pioneer Robert Burney

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

When you purchase Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light   Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com or  Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble.

Available in eBook format from Amazon or Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble.

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site as well as in the book.  A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries.  The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries – is something that I teach people through telephone counseling.  It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere in the world. I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes some special combination offers.

I also offer periodic day long workshops in San Diego to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.  (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.