deep dive into my fear of intimacy issues

Doing workshops, or any speaking in public – or for that matter in private counseling sessions in person or on the phone, or any opportunity to share my experience, strength, and hope – is always a type of Goddess stroke for me anyway.  Anytime I have a chance to speak my Truth, to share the beliefs and knowledge which I so passionately embrace, I get to touch the Divine.  I get to be a channel for Love to flow through.  (One of the things I want to talk about in this Newsletter is that it can be easier to be a channel for Love to flow through than a receptacle for Love to flow into.)”

It was at this point that I took the deep dive into my fear of intimacy issues.  The quote above is the first part of my Joy to You & Me & Joy2MeU Update Newsletter from October of 2000.  The deep dive into my fear of intimacy issues was part 2 of that Update – and is what follows.

Sacred Spiral with tail pointing to the right signifying going toward.

It takes a lot of courage to open up to receiving Love.   What we want the most is also what terrifies us the most – because of the toxic shame we are carrying, the core wounded place where we feel unworthy and unlovable.   We are afraid that we will get that which is most important to us – and then have it taken away because of our unworthiness.

In the Joy2MeU Journal, I have a series of articles called The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul.”  This started out as a recovery autobiography of sorts.  A relating of my Spiritual Path, of my healing process over the years since I got into recovery on January 3, 1984.  It evolved into not just a history of the past 16 + years, but into a journal of my process for the past year and a half since I started that Journal.  Here is an excerpt from the first of 3 articles in that series that relate how I ended up in a 30 day treatment program for codependence in 1988 that saved my life.

“One day in particular I remember driving home from work in a very agitated emotional state that I couldn’t quite identify or get a handle on.  The Universe in it’s great power and perfectly unfolding wisdom caused one of those miracles of coincidence to occur.   As I was nearing my home, a song came on the radio.  It was the first song that I learned in childhood by listening to the radio.  When I was about 8 or 9 this song had touched me deeply enough that I made the effort to learn all of the words.  It was really a pretty stupid song – but the message in it matched my programming perfectly.  It pushed the buttons of my core wounding that was a combination of my parents not being capable of Loving me in a healthy way coupled with the wounding that resulted from the Spiritual abuse I had suffered at the hands of the shaming religion I was raised in.

The song was about a boy out on a date with his girlfriend when they are in a traffic accident that kills the girl.  The chorus goes something like this:

“Where oh where can my baby be,

The Lord took her away from me,

She’s gone to heaven so I’ve got to be good, 

So I can see my baby when I leave this world.”

As that song ended that day, and I got to my apartment, I felt ripped apart by the grief that surfaced.  I was in my apartment crying and sobbing – with wounded animal-like moans of pain escaping from me.  I was compelled to keep moving from corner to corner in my apartment, crouching in the corner wailing and crying and moaning and then moving to another corner to do it again.

I got in touch with that place inside of me where I know that I am so unlovable and unworthy, such a shameful monster, that anyone who ever loved me would be taken away.  God could see what a sinful, shameful creature I was and would punish anyone who could possibly think I was Lovable.  If I ever deluded myself enough to allow myself to open up to Love from someone who could Truly Love me, I would be punished by having that person taken away.

I discuss in the Journal article The Unfolding Process about the importance to me of the song entitled The Rose, whose chorus goes like this:

It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance,

It’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes a chance.

It’s the one who won’t be taken who that cannot seem to give,

It’s the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.

I couldn’t for the longest time relate to the last line, no matter how much I related to the first three lines – because I wanted to die

What I figured out eventually was that I was afraid to live not because I might die but because whoever I Loved would die.  That I was such a shameful monster that God would take away anyone who I allowed to Love me.

And I resonated with that when I was 9 years old!

That poor little boy.  That poor man who based his life on such feelings of shame and unworthiness.  Such pain.  To, on some level, choose isolation over the risk of being Loved and having that Love taken away.” – 30 Days in the Desert – Falling Apart and Breaking Through Part I

My particular flavor of toxic shame took on this tone – if I allow myself to open up to Love and be Loved, the person I open up to will be taken away from me.

“It is the Heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.”

This was on a very deep subconscious level.   Something that I uncovered and discovered as my recovery evolved.

All of my issues around abundance – of money, of success, of friendship, of health, of whatever – always come back to my fear of intimacy, my terror of being available for a Loving relationship.  The bottom line is always that toxic shame at the core of my being that says that I am not lovable, that I am defective somehow.

Complex and Convoluted

Part of what I was trying to communicate, in the series on The Recovery Process for Inner Child Healing, was the intricate complexity this process.  Issues are piled on issues.  Each issue has levels and layers of effect – patterns, attitudes, subconscious beliefs, emotional grief energy, etc. – attached to it.

The outer, and most obvious layers, have levels and layers in and of themselves, that need to be worked through to the core issues.   Each time I am at a point of needing to surrender to peeling another major layer, I get to revisit all of my old issues once more – because they are all interrelated and interconnected.   Each time my growth process takes me to a new level – I need to surrender in a major way – I attain a deeper level of honesty, a higher understanding of Truth.  So, my perspective of all of my other issues changes.

The dance of balance, that I talk about in those articles, is an ongoing, ever changing dance.  When my perspective changes in a major way, my relationship with each issue changes also.

Undoubtedly the most telling example of this for me, is in relationship to financial abundance.  For me money has been the most convenient scapegoat, the most potent distraction.   As long as I don’t have enough money in my life, I have a pretty good excuse not to deal with deeper issues.  After all, survival is pretty important.

And the layers and levels of my issues in relationship with money are a convoluted labyrinth indeed.

First of all, I hated the injustice I saw in the society I grew up in.  I am deeply offended by a society that can justify not just homelessness, but so much of the population living in poverty while a small percentage of the population has more money than they can ever possibly spend.  The rebel in me used to get enraged at the callous disregard for individual human rights and dignity created out of the belief systems that underlie capitalism.  (My rebel still can get pretty angry about it, but I have released a lot of rage over the years.)

It is, of course, not just capitalism that can be so cruel.  I believe that it is the patriarchal nature of human civilizations that has created such heartless societies.  Women, who because of the gift of being able to bring life into this world, are naturally more heart connected and innately inclined to have more respect for the gift of an individual human life than men.   (Of course, the ultimate cause is the illusion of separation and the planetary conditions of polarization and reversity that I talk about in my book.)

On a personal level, I hated the power my father gave to money.   My father grew up in the Depression and adapted powerful scarcity issues around money.  So, it didn’t matter that he was making quite a bit of money – he still related to money from a place of fear.  He would spend money on me and my family – but would always have to tell us how hard he had worked for it.  The message I got from his behavior, was that he was spending this money on me but I wasn’t really worth it.  My father never told me he loved me, he tried to show it by “bringing home the bacon” – but it was always grudging, he always complained.  The relationship I formed with money in childhood had shame attached to it.

(To make a point, about the levels of complexity of our issues, I want to note here, how the issues of money were connected for me to being male.  I hated and rebelled against the inhumanity exhibited throughout the history of civilization by the patriarchal system.  I also resented and rebelled against my father who was my role model of what a man was.  And I was taught that god the father (who seemingly endorsed capitalism, genocide, the debasement of women, etc.) would send me to burn in hell forever for being human.  In unraveling my issues about money, I also needed to unravel my issues with my own gender – which also included my relationships with other men, with women, with my own sexuality, etc.  A tangled web indeed.)

I spent much of my life, saying that money and material things didn’t mean anything to me (the rebel’s valiant stand) while giving money great power because I didn’t have enough of it (the sabotaging shame and self abuse cycle of the disease.)

I have spent many years in my recovery unraveling and untangling all of my issues in relationship to money and abundance on a financial and material plane.

I first started to do positive affirmations shortly into my codependence recovery (in late 1986) when I realized that I had a pattern of living in deprivation in terms of living space, car, all kinds of material areas.  The first affirmation that I ever did was not really a true affirmation.  The truest and most powerful affirmations begin with “I am” because that is another name for the God-Force / Goddess Energy.  The first affirmation that I did was:  “God wants me to be happy, healthy, loved, and successful.”

This was a really big thing to me, to think that God might want good things for me.  It certainly was not what the God of retribution that I grew up with would want for me.

Within 6 months of starting this affirmation,  I was driving a new car (new to me), had a good job, and was living in a nice apartment.  I stopped saying the affirmation.  I realized only belatedly that I stopped because I had been focusing on the successful part of the affirmation and I didn’t really believe that I deserved to be happy, healthy and loved yet.

Over the years, I have:  done lots of positive affirmations (at two different periods making tapes of affirmations and messages of Love that I would play as I was going to sleep at night);  positive visualization (visualizing a pile of money on my bed when I came back from a walk, etc. – as a way of affirming that the Universe is capable of any miracle);  bought lottery tickets (as an affirmation and to give myself hope that tomorrow might be the day the Universe showered money on me);  engaged in activities as affirmation (played golf or gone to the movies when the illusion was I couldn’t afford it, just as an affirmation of abundance to come);  expressed gratitude in retrospect for not having money (to honor that in early sobriety it helped me stay sober, and other times when it taught me valuable lessons);  paid attention to mental attitudes that supported scarcity and lack so that I could change them;  worked to change my concept of money to thinking of it as energy that needed to flow;  and many other actions to change my relationship with money.

And the thing that was so important for me to remember, was that money wasn’t the issue at all.  Money is a symbol and a symptom.  A symptom of my wounds – of the causes in my childhood that produced the effects in my adult life.  And a symbol of Love.

What I really wanted was to feel like I was Loved by God.  The bottom line of all of our wounding is feeling separated from The Source.  The only abundance that really matters, is the abundance of Love.

Karma & Past Lives

I want to inject here, that for me – and probably for a lot of people reading this – money was a symbol of the Love we yearned for, we felt deprived of.   That doesn’t mean that people with a lot of money are open to receive Love – or are doing something right that we are doing wrong.   Financial abundance issues are very much tied in with Karma.  Basically, people either have Karmic issues around money or they don’t.  If they don’t then money flows into their life easily.  Often this means that people with lots of money are not old souls.  Many of them are creating negative money Karma in this lifetime that they will have to pay in another.  Some of them are old souls who have settled their money Karma prior to this lifetime – or will in their next lifetime.

“The term “old-soul” refers to the stage of consciousness evolution an individual has attained by this lifetime – it does not mean better than, or farther along than, those who do not have to do the healing. There is no hierarchy in the Truth of a Loving Great Spirit – those who appear to have low, or no, consciousness in this lifetime are simply doing their healing in another space-time illusion parallel to this one. All old-souls are born at a heart-chakra level of consciousness and therefore have more sensitivity, and less capacity for denial, than other people. In other words, the gift of having access to Truth and Love carries with it the price of greatly increased emotional sensitivity.” – Jesus & Christ Consciousness 

It can be much easier in our capitalistic society to make a lot of money, if one is not heart connected.  It is much harder often, to achieve a Spiritual Awakening if one has a lot of money to distract them and make them feel in control.  And it can be a huge challenge for any old soul involved in the healing process to maintain balance once they start achieving financial abundance.

One of the issues which I uncovered in my healing, was a fear that having money would corrupt me.  This was a response to the reality that I had been corrupted by money in past lives.   Money Karma is something that I am settling in this lifetime.

I talk in my book, and in different places on my web site, about the need to not judge ourselves for our resistance and fear.  We have that resistance and fear for a reason.  It is an effect that has a cause.

“One of the reasons on a very deep level, at a soul/higher ego level, that we have resistance to doing our healing and owning our power is because of our past life experiences.

We have all been punished for owning our power in the past!   Whether that was by being burned at the stake for being a healer, or drawn and quartered for being a teacher, or hanged for being a messenger, or whatever.

So we have very good reasons for not trusting God or this life business!

We also have very good reasons for not trusting ourselves because we have all abused the power in the past.  We have had lifetimes when we were teachers who led our students astray, when we were healers or leaders or messengers who took the left-hand path and served the forces of darkness instead of Light.

We have very good reasons for being terrified of owning our power again!

Those are the reasons on the deepest level why we have resistance to the healing process. . .” – All quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

All of our issues in this lifetime are reflections of issues that we have been dealing with through multiple lifetimes.  It is not necessary for everyone to get aware of past life issues in order to heal.  By doing your inner child healing, you are not only healing the wounds of this lifetime – but also settling Karma from the past.  It is not necessary to be conscious of where that Karma came from, it is only necessary to be willing to heal our wounds from this lifetime so that we can open up to receive Love now.

A vitally important step in opening to receive Love is to stop judging and shaming ourselves for our issues, for our resistance and fear.  The issues are an effect that had a cause, the fear and resistance are in reaction to past experience – we do not necessarily need to know what those experiences/causes were.  What is important is to start choosing to have faith that there is some Loving Force in charge of this dance, so that we can start forgiving ourselves for being wounded humans.

Blocks to Intimacy

I am not going to focus on money any longer in this Newsletter except to share three of the ways I was at least partially blocked in healing my fear of intimacy issues by my codependent defenses in relationship to money.  Anyone who wants to know more about my evolution in regard to this issue can read my past Newsletters where I reveal the basics of my healing of this relationship.  (Or Journal subscribers can read about it on a more intimate level.)

I devoted what space I have here to money for two reasons.  One, I have realized only belatedly as I write, this is in a way a follow up to my series on the Recovery process and how important it is to stop judging and shaming ourselves for some very complicated and deeply embedded issues.  The other reason, is to set the stage for sharing with you the impact of recent events in my life.

In terms of my fear of intimacy, one very powerful defense that my codependence erected against me being available for an intimate relationship, was my focus on money – or to be more accurate my focus on scarcity, on the near poverty level of existence that has been a pattern in my adult life.  The amount of time and energy I spent on survival seriously subtracted from the time and energy I had available to invest in life – in being Truly alive.

I lived most of my life as if it were a dress rehearsal – and my life wouldn’t really start until I had money.  (Although in my mind I would more often think in terms of getting the relationship, or the success, that would fix me – any fantasy future I entertained by necessity included money.)  Destination thinking.  A great distraction – that isn’t just an excuse.  There is a reality to believing that there is a certain kind of freedom that one does not have in this day and age without having some money.

This is another example of the complexity of these issues because scarcity is both a cause and effect – that causes other effects.

So, I got a lot of great practice in recovery in letting go of the future and just taking life one day at a time.  I have gotten very good at that.  But the reality is, that even though I was able to attain an amazing level of balance and serenity in my daily life in relationship to money issues, there was still a level of stress being generated by the situation.  Even though my conscious stress was reduced to a minimum level by working my program, the subconscious levels of stress affected me emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Secondly, I carried such a suspicion of money, and so much fear about the power of money, that I was afraid that if I got a lot of money before I found a Loving relationship with a woman – that I could never trust that she Loved me for me, and not for my money.  That is a monster of a defense.  Talk about powerful block – both to getting money and to being available for a relationship.

The third way that money factored into my availability for an intimate relationship, was directly related to the Spiritually abusive concept of god that I grew up with – and with an issue that has been very dominant in this lifetime – and that I learned has been a theme through numerous lifetimes.

Here is another quote from The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul.

“After that group, I was in a great deal of pain and went to talk to one of the counselors on the unit.  She suggested that I do some right hand-left hand writing to ask my inner child about the pain.  When I did that writing (my dominant right hand for the adult and my left for the child) the message that I got back was astonishing to me.  What the child wrote back was about an incident that had happened in my childhood that I had never thought was important at all.  What the child wrote was something like this:  “When I got hit by the car when I was seven I wanted to die.  They wouldn’t let me.  They made me come back.”

September 19, 1999, almost 13 years since that day – and I sob with the pain of that wound, that child within me.  I just wanted to die.  The most familiar, most overwhelming feeling for most of my life – the feeling that drove me.  From the time I was a little child until well into my recovery, I wanted to die to escape the emotional pain. It wasn’t until 1990 that a shift occurred in my consciousness so that my desire to live became more consequential than my desire to die.  Back then, in 1986, I don’t think I cried very much – I really don’t remember now.  What I remember was my astonishment that something, which seemed to me so obscure and insignificant, should have come out of the left hand writing – and that it had so much pain attached to it.  Later, when I was in treatment in the desert, more would be revealed to me about that incident.” – 30 Days in the Desert – Falling Apart and Breaking Through Part I

What I got in touch with when I was in treatment was that the incident of being hit by the car was in fact a suicide attempt.  What I realized was that I had gotten the message that day when I was 7, that I would not be allowed to commit suicide in this lifetime – and that I had been pissed about that for 30 some years.

My anger was acted out in the passive aggressive nature of my codependence with behavior that was “I’ll show you, I’ll get me.”  The way that I was “showing” the Universe was by punishing my body.  I tried to commit suicide through alcohol and drugs, through dangerous behavior.

I blamed my body for trapping me here.  I felt that it was my body’s fault that I was separated from God.  I have had incredible resistance to treating my body in Loving ways.   After I got sober, I continued to abuse (often in the name of nurturing) my body with cigarettes and food.

I resisted getting healthier and developing a more Loving relationship with my body because of my anger at God for subjecting me to this painful experience.  And in recovery, I resisted changing the relationship with my body – and through it my relationship with being alive – because the Universe wasn’t supplying me with enough financial abundance.

To some very powerful level of my being – probably predominantly the rebel (who often has a strong alliance with the addict) – for me to get healthier before God had proven to me that I was Loved by supplying enough financial abundance, sounded way too much like Catholic crap about earning God’s Love.

I wanted to feel Loved and supported by the Universe before I started to take action to get healthier – so that it wouldn’t feel like I was trying to reach a destination where I earned the Love of God by becoming perfect enough.

It was kind of like I set a boundary with God, that I would get healthy when God supplied me with some financial abundance – so that it felt like God really loved me.

When one is in a power struggle with God that involves refusing to treat self in more Loving ways until I had some proof of God’s Love that involved money – is another monster block to being available for intimacy.

Emotional Incest

The money related issues that have been blocks to Love for me – though certainly dominant and critically important – are but one of the primary vertical focal points of my recovery.  (I am using vertical here to mean that issues related to money exist throughout the levels and layers of my issues – from the most superficial to the deepest and most ancient.)  The other major focal point in relationship to emotional intimacy has to do with my emotional incest issues.

I am not going to go into detail about those here, except to quote from a couple of my articles.  (This first one has a connection with money issues as well.)

“By the time I was eight, I was completely emotionally isolated and alone.  I grew up in a pretty typical American family.  My father had been trained to be John Wayne – anger was the only emotion he ever expressed – and my mother had been trained to be a self-sacrificing martyr.  Since my mother could get no emotional support from my father – she had very low self-esteem and no boundaries – she used her children to validate and define her.  She emotionally incested me by using me emotionally – causing me to feel responsible for her emotions, and feel ashamed that I couldn’t protect her from my father’s verbal and emotional abuse.  The shame and pain of my father’s seeming inability to love me coupled with my mother loving me too much at the same time that she allowed herself and me to be abused by fathers anger and perfectionism – caused me to shut down to my mothers love and close down emotionally.” – Grief, Love, & Fear of Intimacy

This second one is from an article I published last week on the Suite101 page I edit.

“I discovered that there was a 4 or 5 year old age of my inner child who felt overwhelming shame that I could not protect my mother from my father.  I thought that was my job.  To make my mother happy.

I thought that I was not worthy of Love because I had been unable to do my job.  So, in my adult life I was attracted to emotionally unavailable women who were verbally abusive.  To my disease, it was better to be in relationship with someone like my father, than to fail to do my job in a relationship with someone who was available emotionally.

I had a relationship phobia that for the most part kept me from getting into relationships because I felt I was defective in my ability to be responsible for another person happiness.” – Inner Child Healing – Emotional Incest

I felt responsible for other’s feelings, felt that I was shamefully flawed and defective – and I reacted by sabotaging and abusing myself.   That is the essence of the disease of codependency.

Complicated and convoluted is our wounding and our recovery.  There is a way out however.  The way out is through Love – starting by being Loving to ourselves by not shaming and judging ourselves.

“As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are giving power to the disease.  We are feeding the monster that is devouring us.

We need to take responsibility without taking the blame.  We need to own and honor the feelings without being a victim of them.

We need to rescue and nurture and Love our inner children – and STOP them from controlling our lives.  STOP them from driving the bus!  Children are not supposed to drive, they are not supposed to be in control.

And they are not supposed to be abused and abandoned.  We have been doing it backwards.  We abandoned and abused our inner children.  Locked them in a dark place within us.  And at the same time let the children drive the bus – let the children’s wounds dictate our lives.

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 causes us to have a distorted and repressed emotional process, and the only way out is through the feelings.  Codependence gives us a scrambled mind, a reversed dysfunctional way of looking at ourselves and the world, and we have to be able to use the wonderful tool that is our mind while changing our attitudes and reprogramming our thinking.

It seems awfully complicated, doesn’t it?

That is because it is!

On another level it is also very simple.  It is a Spiritual Dis-ease.  It can only be healed through a Spiritual Cure.  It cannot be healed by only looking at the symptoms.  That is backwards.

The cure is available through surrendering control to a Higher Power.  We cannot do this healing by ourselves.  We need a Loving Higher Power in our lives.  We need other Recovering people in our lives.”

Recent Events

I got clear on my mission, and dedicated myself to my path after direct encounter I had with some past life Karma, and the revelations that resulted, in August of 1988.  Since then I have been committed passionately to learning about Truth, Love, and Joy – and serving as a channel to remind others of the abundance of Love and Joy that is available to us all.

I have learned a great deal about opening to receive through the years.  I would never have gotten my book published without the great progress I have made in this area.  I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the miracles of manifestation that have flowed into my path.  The financial abundance that was needed came from a variety of sources.  The major ones have been in the form of people who invested in my book and work, and people who have gifted me with money over the years as a way of thanking me for the impact my work has had on their lives.

If you remember, in the news addendum to my last update, I was in a place of fear around survival – of having a place to live and work.  That adventure was seemingly not going well at all (in my view – perfectly in the Universe’s of course.)  I got to the point – as usually happens – where I surrendered completely to the Universes plan, letting go of living in the area I wanted – and accepting that everything would be OK even if I had to live in someplace that I definitely did not want to live.

The day after I took action to support my acceptance of that surrender, everything shifted.  The magic returned.  The Goddess strokes started coming in abundance.  A phone call with an offer of a financial gift was a message to me to focus on opening up to receive once more.  In alignment with having faith in that manifestation, I started looking at more expensive places in the area I wanted to return to – even though I had no discernible way of paying for such a place on an ongoing basis, though I now had enough to pay the move in cost.

I found a place, and another gift of a larger financial denomination manifested to secure it for me.  Now I have a comfortable place to live in the town I want to live in – and I know the rent is paid for the next couple of months.  An incredible luxury for me.

I still don’t have the money I need to pay off debts, to promote my book and web site in the ways I would like to, to get a car that doesn’t have 210,000 miles on it (one that had a major breakdown a week after I moved into my new place and claimed a big chunk of the most recent financial gift – such an exciting adventure this is ;-), I will go into details about all of this in my Journal where I am going to be focusing my writing energy for the coming future), or for other areas of luxury – like dental work.  But for me this is a place of great and luxurious abundance relative to my experience for the last few years.

The Universe has called my bluff.  This was enough financial abundance to take money off the table as an issue for now – and confront me with the need to surrender to being more Loving to my physical body vehicle.

I have been procrastinating and resisting.  The insight that I had the other day was that I was once again buying into destination thinking.  And that once again, the issues that I was focusing on, were symptoms and symbols.  Underneath, once more is my fear of intimacy.

When I get healthy and lose weight – then I will be available for a relationship.  I will be ready to be fully alive and available for Love when – sometime in the future, when I get there.  I had the same insight that I had in the chain of events leading up to my last encounter with a relationship (An Adventure in Romance) – that is, that I have thrown the romantic within me into a dark dungeon within and sentenced that part of me to remaining there until I feel completely safe and secure to take on the risk of opening up to Love again.

Feel completely safe and secure to opening up to getting my heartbroken again – Ha!   What fantasy world does that happen in?  Who is being dishonest with whom here?  The only way to feel completely safe and secure about taking that kind of risk is to be in denial.  (There is nothing wrong with enjoying the feeling of being in love – what gets us in trouble is buying into the romantic’s fantasy that happily-ever-after has arrived.   We want the fantasy so bad that we do not see reality clearly – and often cast the wrong person in the role of our princess/prince.  It is important to find balance in our relationship with the romantic within – so that we can allow this wonderful part of us out of jail, but not let it make choices based on belief in fantasy.)

I will be ready for an intimate relationship, and to let the romantic out, when I lose weight and get healthier.

What a great codependent set up to resist losing weight and getting healthier!   A perfect set up for the disease dynamic – the codependent three step:

“My father was trained that he was supposed to be perfect and that anger was the only permissible male emotion. As a result, that little boy that made mistakes and got yelled at felt like he was flawed and unlovable.

My mother told me how much she loved me, how important and valuable I was, and how I could be anything that I wanted to be. But my mother had no self-esteem and no boundaries so she emotionally incested me. I felt responsible for her emotional well-being and felt great shame that I couldn’t protect her from father’s raging or the pain of life. This was proof that I was so flawed that, though a woman might think I was lovable, eventually the truth of my unworthiness would be exposed by my inability to protect her and insure her happiness.

. . . Is it any wonder that at my core I felt unworthy and unlovable? Is it any wonder that as an adult I got trapped in a continual cycle of shame, blame, and self-abuse?

The pain of being unworthy and shameful was so great that I had to learn ways to go unconscious and disconnect from my feelings. The ways in which I learned to protect myself from that pain and nurture myself when I was hurting so badly were with things like drugs and alcohol, food and cigarettes, relationships and work, obsession and rumination.

The way it works in practice is like this: I am feeling fat; I judge myself for being fat; I shame myself for being fat; I beat myself for being fat; then I am hurting so badly that I have to relieve some of the pain; so to nurture myself I eat a pizza; then I judge myself for eating the pizza, etc. etc.

To the disease, this is a functional cycle. The shame begets the self-abuse which begets the shame which serves the purpose of the disease which is to keep us separate so the we don’t set ourselves up to fail by believing that we are worthy and lovable.” – A Dance of Suffering, Shame, and Self-abuse

Now, I certainly don’t shame and judge myself like I used to, nor do I beat myself up for my resistance so much.  I have been uncomfortable recently however because I have been out of balance in certain areas.  And it was only a couple of days ago that I realized that I was again facing what I describe in the Adventure in Romance as “that ferociously monstrous beast known as The Terror of Intimacy.”

In writing this Newsletter, I have gotten a brand new insight.  I have just become conscious of a truly monstrous terror that lurks under the ones that I had identified previously.  What I mean, is that though one of the earliest awareness that I had in my inner child healing was about the song I spoke of above – I have never looked at that insight’s relationship to my fear of intimacy issues in quite the way I am right now.  I am looking at it with a new perspective from a much higher level of consciousness.  I have just uncovered the monster that was hiding under the monsters that I had previously become aware of in my recovery.

I had a terror of abandonment and rejection which I had realized was the lesser of two evils for me.  I had discovered and been working on healing this.

“Through revisiting the eight year old who I was I get to understand on a new level why I have always been attracted to unavailable people – because the pain of feeling abandoned and betrayed is the lesser of two evils.  The worst possible thing, to my shame-based inner children, is to have revealed how unworthy and unlovable I am . . . . It is no wonder that at my core I am terrified of loving someone who is capable of loving me back.” – Grief, Love, & Fear of Intimacy

My fear of intimacy is only about abandonment and betrayal, about being revealed as unworthy and unlovable, on the surface.  Those are symptoms, which I had been seeing as the core.  The core is that I am terrified of fully embracing life and Love – of finding someone who I Love and who Loves me back – and then having her taken away by God.

Uncover, Discover, Recover

This is great!  In trying to explain the process, I just pealed another layer.  In uncovering and discovering another deeper level to my fear of intimacy issues, I have gained the power to start healing them at a deeper level.

The wounded parts of me, to use a simile I have used before, are like an abused puppy cringing in fear of being abused again.  The wounded part of me that so craves intimacy, romantic intimacy with a woman, has been deprived of touch, affection, and Love – wants desperately to be petted – but is terrified of trusting someone enough to open up to Love.  The only alternatives I had experienced were someone who didn’t know how to pet and was abusive (Dad) or someone whose petting carried with it the impossible task of being responsible for that persons emotional well being.

The defenses that my disease created to protect me from disclosing my unworthiness and shameful inability to insure a woman’s happiness (Mom) caused me to pick women who were abuse and emotionally unavailable (like Dad).  Such a sad, twisted dance.

My last relationship encounter (recounted in An Adventure in Romance) combined both of these themes in a way that allowed me to do a great amount of healing around these issues.  I got to feel Loved by a woman in a way I had never known before and open up completely to that Love – whereupon that person swung from being Loving and giving to being unavailable and abusive.  A situation which in the past would have caused me a great deal of shame over my unworthiness.  A great opportunity for growth.  I summarize some of the lessons at the end of that article:

“I have learned:

That when I know who I am and have my self-esteem rooted in my Spiritual connection then I have nothing to fear from intimacy.  I can be hurt for certain because I will be choosing to give some power away over my feelings – but hurt is part of life and well worth the adventure of Loving and Losing.

That it is Truly possible to do enough healing to be able to open my heart to someone and then not take it personally when the other person “rejects” me – because I Truly know in my gut that she is just reacting to her wounds not to some inherent flaw in my being.

That I can have my worst fear of abandonment and rejection appear to come true and not give it any power because I do not have to buy into the disease telling me that it is my fault – that I did something/said something/am something that is wrong/a loser/a mistake/unlovable/unworthy.  This is such a gift – to know that I can keep the critical parent shut up and out of the game is Truly an Amazing Miraculous reward for being willing to do my healing.” – An Adventure in Romance

I made a great leap in healing my fear of intimacy in that encounter.  So, it has been puzzling to me, in the time since then, why I still felt such a great deal of resistance to being open to relationship.  I had not – in the almost two years since that adventure began – really focused too much on my fear of intimacy issues because the money issues were providing such a distraction.  The recent events that took money out of the spotlight, put me back in a place where I needed to get honest with myself on a new level about those issues.

When I realized recently that my resistance to doing the physical healing and balancing was really about my fear of intimacy, I still wasn’t sure what that meant.  Now, in writing this page, I have uncovered and discovered why I still have so much resistance.

The fear that if I get into a Loving relationship with someone who can Love me back – that person will be taken away, probably through death.  If I open up to embracing life fully and with gusto, then – when I finally relax into enjoying being fully alive – I will be crushed in an unbearably painful way.

Since I did not have a parent die while I was a child (something that can cause a person to have this kind of issue), the cause must lie in past lives.  I know intuitively that I have lost my Loved one through death in past lives.  That was why that little boy resonated so much with that song – it spoke to him out of some past life experience, and mirrored his emotional reality in this one.

That stupid song that held so much power for me as a little boy, that was one of the first stimuli to trigger some deep grief work for me when I had been in recovery long enough to recognize what was going on, is the key to healing my resistance to opening up to receive.  Though I had been aware of it for many years, I have never seen it as I see it now.  Until I reached the level of healing I am at now, until I had raised my consciousness to the place it is at now – I could not understand the full implications of what that song had disclosed to me.

Here I am trying to explain how the process works – with it’s levels and layers of healing – and in doing so, I have pealed another level for myself.  Perfect!

What a wonderful discovery!  This is where the biblical quote “The Truth shall make you free.” resonates with such Truth.  (As well as the one about how “the little child shall lead them.”)

By uncovering another layer, I uncover a deeper wound – which then gives me the information I need to start disempowering the emotional wounds and programming that wound caused, and start removing the blocks it triggers.

I had no idea when I started to write this article that this is where I would end up.  Incredible!  First I will give you an insight into the kinds of things that I will start to do, to change and overcome this programming.  Then I will share just a bit about how powerful this is for me.

Changing the programming

I explain the inner child healing process throughout my site, so I am not going into a lot of detail here.  What I will share are the types of messages I will be using to help myself reprogram the intellectual paradigm that is dictating my relationship with being open to a romantic relationship.

“Some of the things that I keep telling others (because I teach best what I need most to learn) is that:

1. We need to know and tell ourselves that it is truly better to love and lose than never love at all.

2. That there are no mistakes only lessons.

3. That everything is unfolding perfectly and there is a Loving Higher Power who is guiding the process.

4. That the right people come into my life at the right time (this does not necessarily mean a wonderful relationship – sometimes it means the right person to teach us how to set boundaries or defend ourselves or know when to walk away.)

 5. That it is important to change our definition of a successful relationship – a successful relationship is not necessarily one that lasts for the rest of our lives, it is one that we learn and grow from.

It is a great risk to open up to and care about another person – and we will feel hurt at times because hurt is part of life – but it is a risk that is worth taking because if we never take the risk we can never be Truly alive.” – The Heart Break of Romantic Relationships – part 3

In addition to the messages that I list in that article, I will be adding one that I have spoken hundreds of times in working with other people – without ever realizing the personal importance that message carried for me.

“The reality of life is that we are born alone and that we die alone – and for most of the time in between we are alone.  Everyone in our life leaves us or we leave them sooner or later.  It is better to accept that reality and make the best of life, than to be a victim of life not being what we want it to be.”

Everyone dies.  Anytime we take the risk of Loving, we open ourselves up for the pain of losing.  It is better to Love and lose than to be the victim of our fear.  It hurts more to not open up to Love than it hurts to Love and lose.  This is the essence of the dysfunction that is codependence.  It does not work.  In trying to avoid getting hurt, we never Truly experience being alive.

Through doing our healing, we can stop reacting to the old tapes and old wounds.  We can learn to have internal boundaries that allow us to let the adult on a Spiritual Path make the choices – instead of the disease, instead of the desperately needy child, instead of the fear.

What I am going to start telling myself, start telling my inner children, is that even if I find a person that I can Truly have a Loving relationship with and that person dies – it will be better than not opening up to Love.  The reality that we all die, is all the more reason to live life to the fullest while we are here.

I have never really been afraid of death – because that will mean I get to go Home.  What I have been afraid of was getting too attached to this place and to a romantic relationship with another human, and having her go home before me.  That has been at the core of my terror of intimacy – of my fear of embracing life to the fullest.

Big Breakthrough for me

This is a huge breakthrough for me.  The intricate perfection of the process just blows me away. This is a Truly amazing process.

I did not know when I started this article off with the quote about the stupid song, where that was going to lead.  I did not know when I was guided to mention the encounter in August 1988 with a past life, that I was going to be focusing on that lifetime once more.  For it was that lifetime, that holds the key for me.

I have mentioned in my Trilogy, the terror that I feel when I think of that lifetime – and I felt that terror again today.  I have been stalled in my writing of the next two chapters of the narrative portion of my Trilogy, because I have been afraid of revisiting that lifetime.  I have been stalled in writing the last article in the series about 30 days in the desert because once I write that article I will then need to write the next article about the events of the summer of 1988 – which will include the Karmic recreation of that lifetime that I experienced.

I have known there was a reason for the resistance and procrastination, and also known that I would get to it when the time was right.  This is so directly connected to the message I am trying to share about not judging and shaming ourselves for our resistance and fear, as to be mind boggling.  Here is a quote from my book:

“What I have found is that in many instances even though the levels that I can see, that I am conscious of, are mostly dysfunctional – arising out of the false beliefs and fears of the disease of Codependence – on deeper levels there are “right on” reasons for behaviors for which I was judging myself.

As one simple example, I used to really judge myself and beat myself up because I had a very hard time meditating.  I could not get quiet enough inside to do meditation in the “right” way and I thought that that meant there was something wrong with me.  I thought that my resistance meant that I was somehow defective.  But what was revealed to me was that I had died in meditation in a past life, which made my resistance make sense in a whole new way.”

The lifetime in which I died in meditation was a Celtic lifetime.  I was Druid priest involved in an initiation rite which involved summoning up and facing my worst past life memory.  The pain and shock of it killed me.

The reasons that I am so drawn to Cambria – the place I feel at home, that the recent financial gifts allowed me to moved back to – is because of the powerful Celtic resonance I feel here.   I did not know that when I first moved here.  It is something that I have written about in my Journal – something that I have figured out over the years.  A powerful energetic connection that is about someplace else.

Now I am back here.  Now, I am going to get to face that lifetime again – because the lifetime where I lost my Love, is also the lifetime whose horror killed me as a Druid.

Things are starting to get really interesting here.

Thank you for being there to share in my process.  Thanks for helping to this new level of healing. – from Joy to You & Me & Joy2MeU Update Newsletter October 2000 Part 2

Sacred Spiral with tail pointing to the right signifying going toward.

I have over 50 Update Newsletters with millions of words of processing in them.  Anyone who wants to check them out can see the list on the lower part of my siteindex page. (Anyone who is curious about the spiral that I use in my writing and website, here is a page that explains the Sacred Spiral.)

Joy2MeU Journal Logo

The Joy2MeU Journal includes a personal journal of my recovery process as well as my personal story “The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul.”  In it I share the story of my recovery.   I have a page that includes special offers on lifetimes subscriptions to the password protected areas of my website Joy2MeU.com: Dancing in Light and the Joy2MeU Journal.  Millions of words of content not available on Joy2MeU.

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.

Book coverReading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls  (links to all of my books in hard copy, ebook, and audiobook format are on that page – or you can get Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon, or eBooks & books from Barnes & Noble  or eBooks thru Kobo ) 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: and also on this page on my mobile friendly site

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 now have a mobile friendly site index with listings of over 170 of my articles on Mobile Friendly sites,  There is a page on that site with special offers for the Holiday Season 2019.

“There are times when life events feel emotionally battering”

There are times however, when life events feel emotionally battering.  When the experience of life feels abusive.  When if feels as if my Higher Power is being sadistic and anything but Loving.  The tools still work at times like that – but they work in terms of giving me the patience to know that this too shall pass.  They work to help me be gentle and kind to myself at times when I am very uncomfortable emotionally.  If I try to force myself out of an emotionally uncomfortable place, then I am being judgmental and abusive to myself.  I need to be able to accept wherever I am at – no matter how uncomfortable.” – News of the Adventure, June & July 2000

In August 2011, I posted this Note on Facebook.  I ran across it on St. Patrick’s Day 2019 after answering a person who posted on my timeline about having chronic disease.  I decided to make a blog out of what I shared in this note 7 years ago.

Earlier in the Newsletter quoted is this paragraph.

It has just been so incredibly valuable for me to develop a level of consciousness from which I am observing myself.  This is really the essential technique that allows me to have internal boundaries so that I can own my power to make choices instead of setting myself up to create a very negative emotional space by buying into the belief that I am the victim.  Through having a detached observer within me, I can have a boundary between the emotional and the mental – between my feelings and my thoughts.  There are often going to be times in life when I feel like a victim.  The child within me, who was taught that life was about right and wrong – and if I was wrong I would be punished – reacts to life events not unfolding as I want, by feeling like I am being punished, like I am a bad boy.  The core place within me where I feel unworthy and unlovable, the inner child who was taught that if I did life right I would be rewarded by living happily ever after, reacts to life events and other people’s behavior out of the feeling that I am shamefully defective somehow.  It is reaction to the intense pain of feeling shameful and defective that I developed my codependent defense system of either blaming others or blaming myself and trying to kill the pain and shame with substances – it is the fear of that pain and shame that causes me to try to control life and other people.” – News of the Adventure, June & July 2000

Developing internal boundaries between the mental and emotional – so that we don’t allow how we feel to define our life for us (at the same time we are shutting up the critical parent voice) – is a vital part of gaining some freedom from letting the old wounds and old tapes define our experience of life.  It is the combination of learning to have internal boundaries along with integrating a Loving Spiritual Belief system into our inner process that makes the approach to inner healing – that I teach people in my workshop and in telephone counseling and in my books – work to greatly improve the quality of our life experience.  As I say in one of my articles:

Codependency recovery / inner child healing is a way of life. It is a way to live life that works. It works to help . . . gain some freedom from the past. It is a path for living that . . . creates the space . . . to be present in the moment and be happy to be alive – to connect with Joy – some of the time.  It is not something we do and then get on with our lives. It is something we do in order to Truly be alive.” – Recovery from Codependency / Inner Child Healing

So, I ended up saying all that as a prelude to sharing a quote from my book in which I talk about getting battered and bruised on our Spiritual Path – this quote is what came to mind for me this morning when thinking about feeling “battered” by life.  This is an example of the Spiritual Truth that it was invaluable for me to integrate into my relationship with life.

Book cover

The prologue to Richard Bach’s Illusions contains a story about a colony of creatures clinging to the bottom of a stream.  Here is a paraphrasing of that story.

One day one of those creatures became bored with the life of clinging and decided to see what would happen if he let go and got swept up into the stream.  He wanted to see where the stream would carry him.

All of the other creatures laughed at him and made fun of him. “You can’t let go of the rocks, you’ll just get battered and bruised!”   “It’s insane to let go of the rocks!”

This creature, though, wanted more out of life than just clinging to the rocks. He wanted to find out where the stream went.  So he let go of the rocks – and sure enough he got battered and bruised and had to grab ahold again.

All of the other creatures ridiculed and laughed at him.

But he said, “I am going to try again. I believe that the stream knows where it is going.  I want to see where the stream will take me.”  So he let go again – and he got battered and bruised again.   And then he let go again, and again, and again.

Each time he got a little less battered and bruised.  Each time he got a little closer to being swept up in the stream.

Then finally one day he had let go enough times that he did get swept up into the stream.  He was caught in the flow of the stream and swept forward.

He was flying!

As he flew along with his heart full of Joy and excitement he passed over another colony of clinging creatures that was downstream.

They looked up at him and cried, “Behold!  There is a creature like us and he is flying!  It must be the Messiah!”

He looked back at them and shouted as he was heading down stream, “No!  You don’t understand. You can fly, too, all you have to do is let go.   You are as much messiahs as I am.”

That is what this is all about!  The second coming has begun!  Not of “The Messiah,’ but of a whole bunch of messiahs.  The messiah – the liberator – is within us!  A liberating, Healing Transformational Movement has begun.  “The Savior’ does not exist outside of us – “The Savior” exists within.

We are the sons and daughters of God.   We, the old souls, who are involved in this Healing Movement, are the second coming of the message of Love.

We have entered what certain Native American prophecies call the Dawning of the Fifth World of Peace.  Through focusing on our own healing the planet will be healed.

We all have available to us – within – a direct channel to the Highest Vibrational Frequency Range within The Illusion.  That highest range involves consciousness of the Glory of ONENESS.  It is called Cosmic Consciousness.  It is called Christ Consciousness.

This is the energy that Jesus was tuned into, and he stated very plainly, ‘These things that I do, you can do also.” – by atoning, by tuning in.

We have access to the Christ Energy within.  We have begun the Second Coming of the message of Love.

The dawning of the Age of Healing and Joy is the dawning of the Fifth World of Peace when humans will learn to walk in balance and harmony.

Now that is some pretty wonderful news, wouldn’t you say?” – Text in this color is from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Letting go of the rocks – living outside the Matrix – can be terrifying and very painful at times.  What is important is to own the feelings without letting them define us.  We are here to do this healing so that we can own who we really are and integrate the Truth into our relationship with self and life.  Here are a couple of more quotes from my book.

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.

A “state of Grace” is the condition of being Loved unconditionally by our Creator without having to earn that Love.  We are Loved unconditionally by the Great Spirit.  What we need to do is to learn to accept that state of Grace.

The way we do that is to change the attitudes and beliefs within us that tell us that we are not Lovable.  And we cannot do that without going through the black hole.  The black hole that we need to surrender to traveling through is the black hole of our grief.  The journey within – through our feelings – is the journey to knowing that we are Loved, that we are Lovable.

It is through willingness and acceptance, through surrender, trust, and faith, that we can begin to own the state of Grace which is our True condition.

We are all beautiful swans who exist in a state of Grace, in a condition of being unconditionally Loved.  The dance of Recovery is a process of learning to accept and integrate the Truth of Grace into our lives.

The goal in this Age of Healing and Joy is integration and balance.  To integrate the Spiritual Truth into our physical experience so that we can fill the hole inside and find wholeness within.  As we integrate our True Spiritual nature into our relationship with our physical being we can begin to achieve some balance and harmony with and between all of the parts of our being. 

This age is a time for growing and learning, a time to become conscious of the True nature of the Source Energy, a time of Spiritual Awakening.  We have been given the wonder-full gift of having the ability and the tools to start integrating the Truth of a Loving Universal Force into our day-to-day experience of life.  We now have the knowledge and guidance that we need to start bringing some balance to our relationships – with ourselves and our God/Goddess, with other people and the planet – so that we can live in a way that allows us to experience some Peace and Love on our life path.

We can heal our wounded souls enough to change the dance of life from a dance of endurance and suffering to a dance that celebrates living.  We now have access to the power to transform the dance of Codependence to a dance of healing and Joy.”

Sacred Spiral with tail pointing to the right signifying going toward.

Originally published August 23, 2011 as a Note on Facebook.

I have a special Holiday 2018 Offer Page available until March 25th, with special offers on my books, MP3 audio downloads, Life Changing telephone / Skype counseling and Workshop.  I recently announced that I will be doing my Life Changing Workshop in Morro Bay California on March 24th.

x-illGrateful acknowledgment is made for permission to quote from: Illusions  “The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” by Richard Bach.  Copyright 1977 by Creature Enterprises, Inc.   Reprinted in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney by permission of Bantam Doubleday Dell, New York, NY.

Intellectual Discernment – shutting up the critical voice

The Dance

“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.”

(All quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls) 

It is vital in codependency recovery / inner child healing to start recognizing how many components there are in our own inner landscape.  In order to start discerning what we have the power to change and what we do not have power over, we have to first become more aware of our own internal dynamic.  It is so important to stop looking outside of our self for the problem / solution, for the rescuer / villain.  Then we can start to become aware that the problem is inside of us, and that it is not because we are shameful or defective – it is because we are wounded and programmed dysfunctionally.

We have our own perpetrator, victim, rescuer triangle going on within us.  The perpetrator is the critical parent voice, the victim feelings come from the wounded inner child places, and we try to rescue ourselves from the pain and shame with compulsive and addictive self defeating behaviors focused on some external source.  Those self defeating behaviors do not work to stop the pain within except to give us a temporary distraction, so that gives the critical parent voice more fuel to beat up on our own inner children, which causes more pain which drives the compulsive and addictive behavior.  A truly vicious self perpetuating cycle of self defeating behavior – or as I call it in an article on my web site, A Dance of Suffering, Shame, and Self-abuse – the codependent three step.

In the second of my two articles on obsessive thinking, Obsession part 2, I use a quote from my book where I say that I spent most of my life doing the Serenity Prayer backwards – trying to control things I can not control and taking no responsibility (except for shaming and blaming myself) for my own internal process which I can have some control over.  The shame and blame is part of the disease dynamic – and it is vital for us to stop empowering that shame and blame.

The “critical parent” voice in our head is a manifestation of our damaged ego programming. The ego is the part of our being whose responsibility it is to help us survive.  Because of the emotional trauma we suffered due to the reality that our parents were wounded in their childhoods – and the dysfunctional programming of the emotionally dishonest, Spiritual hostile cultures we grew up in – our egos got programmed very badly.  Our egos got programmed to relate to life from a perspective of fear and shame, lack and scarcity.

The critical parent voice developed to try to control our own emotions and behavior so that we could survive in the dysfunctional environments we were born into.  In that development, it adapted the same tools that were used on us:  fear, shame, and guilt.  In recovery, we are working on reprogramming that critical voice to stop reacting out of fear based upon shame so that we can start learning how to be more Loving to ourselves – and how to relate to life and other people in a way that is more functional in terms of allowing us to get our needs met and enjoy life.

It is vital in recovery to start learning how to tell that critical voice to “shut up!”  It has been the play by play announcer that has been defining our lives for us.  It is time to start learning how to have a more Loving, objective, and nurturing play by play announcer inside our own heads.

Like the emotionally wounded inner child places within us, the critical parent voice is just a part of us.  We can start learning how to have some control over that part of us.  We can start learning how to be discerning about what is going on in our minds so that we can see ourselves and life with more clarity and Truth.

When I say, in the quote from my book above, that the disease is always lying – I do not mean that there isn’t some truth in what it is saying.  However, because it is programmed to relate to life from a black and white / right and wrong perspective, and to believe that being human (making mistakes, not being perfect) is shameful, what it does often is take a grain of truth and blow it way out of proportion.  The reality that the inner child places within us are reacting out of life and death urgency causes the critical voice to magnify, twist and distort that grain of truth into a shaming, blaming, all encompassing indictment of our self.  The pain of being shamefully “wrong” / defective then causes us to want to blame it all on something / someone else because the only choices in a black and white perspective are to blame them or blame me.  To blame me throws me into that deep dark pit of pain and despair within where I feel inherently unlovable and unworthy.

In order to stop being the victim of our self and our wounding it is vital to start setting boundaries with that critical parent voice – to start learning how to stop the inner child abuse that is part of the disease dynamic.  Recognizing that it is not telling us the whole truth, that it is the result of faulty programming and polarized perspective, is the first step to starting to see that the critical parent voice is not an inherent part of our being.  It is not an integral component of who we are – it is a part of us that was created by programming and wounding, it is a part of us that we can have some control over, that we can change.

Then we can start practicing some discernment and use the magnificent tool that is our mind to start reprogramming the part of our mind that has been our own worst enemy.  Then we can start counteracting all the negative messages with positive messages.  Positive affirmations are a very important tool in this process.  The reality of our codependency is that we are programmed to negatively affirm ourselves hundreds of times a day – and that is on a good day, on a “bad” one we can get into the thousands.  We need to stop empowering the negative programming and start choosing to introduce positive programming into our own internal process.  This is one of the ways that we start relating to our self in a more Loving way. 

It is vital to start recognizing that any fear or shame based messages, any black and white messages, any “should”s, “have to”s, “must”s – are coming from the critical parent voice.  We can learn to start countering the shame based messages with Love based affirmations, the fear based messages with faith based messages, the “should”s and “have to”s by affirming that we do have choices, that we do have access to wisdom.

In learning to access that wisdom – the “small quiet voice”, the voice of our Spirit / True Self that never speaks with shame and judgment – we can start our own internal environmental clean up program.  We can learn to stop the toxic waste that is spewing out the critical parent voice from polluting our own internal landscape. 

We have choices.  We have access to the power and wisdom of the Spirit.  We can learn to be more Loving to our self by developing an internal defense attorney, an internal “knight in shining armor,” to defend and rescue our self and our inner children from the programming of our childhood.

Sacred Spiral with tail pointing to the right signifying going toward.

This article is part of a 9 part series of articles focused on the Serenity Prayer.  The first article in the series is Applying the Serenity Prayer – Wisdom through Discernment (mobile friendly version.)

I have a special Holiday 2018 Offer Page available until the end of February, with special offers on my books, MP3 audio downloads, Life Changing telephone / Skype counseling and Workshop.  I recently announced that I will be doing my Life Changing Workshop in Morro Bay California on March 24th.

Chapter 3: Emotional honesty

The Dance

“We learned about life as children and it is necessary to change the way we intellectually view life in order to stop being the victim of the old tapes.  By looking at, becoming conscious of, our attitudes, definitions, and perspectives, we can start discerning what works for us and what does not work.  We can then start making choices about whether our intellectual view of life is serving us – or if it is setting us up to be victims because we are expecting life to be something which it is not.” – (Text in this color is used for quotes from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)

In the course of writing this article – which seems to be turning into another online book – I realized that though I talk a lot about the importance of emotional honesty in my work, I probably do not give a lot of down to earth, easily understood examples of what the term means to me.  So, I decided to start this Chapter 3 with an example. 

It was focusing on the dynamic of expectations that was the key for me in starting to get emotionally honest with myself.  Starting to understand the cause and effect relationship between my emotional reactions and my expectations was essential for me to start understanding why my relationship with life was so dysfunctional.  I, of course, in my codependency, had swung between the extremes of feeling, and believing, that it was all my fault because of my shameful defective being – and being angry and resentful at other people, the system, something or someone external to my being. 

The twelve step recovery application of the disease model in the treatment of alcoholism – the concept that I had been powerless over my past behaviors because I had a disease – helped me to take enough shame out of my perspective of myself to start seeing my life with a little bit of objectivity.  The spiritual approach of the twelve step program – that there is a Power greater than myself that is on my side, The Force is with me – helped me to shift my intellectual paradigm enough to start to see life as something other than a test I could fail by doing it “wrong.”  The definition of insanity that I heard in my first days of recovery – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – caused me to start focusing on cause and effect. 

It was the concept of powerlessness that led me to start becoming empowered to take responsibility for my life.  Instead of viewing life through a perspective that was black and white – either I had to be perfect or I was shameful – I was able to start to see what my part had been in how painful and miserable my life experience had been.  How I had some responsibility – how I was creating cause in my life that had negative consequences – but that it did not mean that there was something inherently wrong with me.  I started seeing that my relationship with life was dysfunctional, was not working, and that I could take some action to change that relationship.

Insane Expectations – Road Rage

The specific area that opened me up to a new perspective on my insanity, was starting to understand what my part was in the road rage I was experiencing driving on the streets and freeways of Los Angeles.  Looking at the cause and effect relationship between my expectations and the rage I was feeling at all the stupid blankety blank drivers in Southern California greatly accelerated my process of becoming emotionally honest with myself – and opening up my mind to a Spiritual Awakening, a paradigm shift in consciousness.

“There is an old joke about the difference between a neurotic and a psychotic. The psychotic truly believes that 2 + 2 = 5.  The neurotic knows that it is 4 but can’t stand it.  That was the way I lived most of my life, I could see how life was but I couldn’t stand it.  I was always feeling like a victim because people and life were not acting in the way I believed they “should” act.

I expected life to be different than it is.  I thought if I was good and did it “right” then I would reach ‘happily ever after.’  I believed that if I was nice to people they would be nice to me.  Because I grew up in a society where people were taught that other people could control their feelings, and vise versa, I had spent most of my life trying to control the feelings of others and blaming them for my feelings.

By having expectations I was giving power away.  In order to become empowered I had to own that I had choices about how I viewed life, about my expectations.  I realized that no one can make me feel hurt or angry – that it is my expectations that cause me to generate feelings of hurt or anger.  In other words, the reason I feel hurt or anger is because other people, life, or God are not doing what I want them, expect them, to do.

I had to learn to be honest with myself about my expectations – so I could let go of the ones that were insane (like, everyone is going to drive the way I want them to), and own my choices – so I could take responsibility for how I was setting myself up to be a victim in order to change my patterns.  Accept the things I cannot change – change the things I can.” – Serenity and Expectations – intimately interrelated

Expecting other drivers to drive the way I think they “should” is absolutely, incredibly insane.  Talk about egotistical and arrogant.  I, being an excellent driver myself (how many people do you know that don’t think they are excellent drivers?), knew how people should drive – I was right and anyone who didn’t drive the way I thought they “should” was wrong.  I felt extremely, righteously justified in ranting and raving and cussing out other drivers – sometimes cutting them off and giving them the finger, while wishing I had a laser mounted on the roof of my car so that I could just vaporize them.  Luckily, this was in the days before people started shooting each other on the Freeways, or I may not have ever made it into recovery.  Actually, this was something I continued to do into my first few years of recovery.

Detaching enough to look with some objectivity at how I was relating to driving a car in L. A., allowed me to awaken to how insane it was to allow my emotions to be dictated by such a ridiculous expectation.  Then I was also able to look at my emotional reactions and get in touch with how dishonest I was being emotionally in relationship to other drivers.

What I came to understand about my emotional experience of driving, was that one of two things was happening.  One was, that other drivers were scaring me.  The way they were driving – either too slow or too fast, cutting me off, swerving back and forth between lanes, etc. – was causing an actual fear of survival reaction.  That kind of primal human emotional response that is generated by a sudden loud noise or any perception of a threat of physical harm.

When something scared me, and I reacted to the fear with anger – that was emotionally dishonest.  I wasn’t owning my true feelings.  In reaction to the jolt of fear energy that shot through me, I became the angry, self righteous victim of the other drivers “idiocy.”  The reality that this happened almost every time I drove on the freeway, just proved to me how many idiots there were out there – because I was relating to the experience from a victim perspective.  It was impossible for me to have any serenity because I was giving other drivers the power to throw me into anger – which often triggered the suppressed rage I was carrying at how unfair, unjust, and painful life was.

Once I started to look at what my part was in those emotional reactions, at how I was setting myself up with my expectations, then I could start to take responsibility for changing that which I have the power to change.  I learned to accept the thing I cannot change – other drivers – and change the thing I can, my attitude towards other drivers.  It was when I realized that this anger was emotionally dishonest, and what my part in empowering that emotional reaction was, that I was able to start taking back the power over my feelings that I was giving to those “idiots.”

After that, when something another driver did scared me, I would own the fear.  I would say out loud, “That scared me.”  Then I would say a prayer for the other driver.  I would ask that the other driver be helped to become happy, joyous, and free (knowing that the process of them opening up to that possibility would involve having their denial ripped away so they were not so unconscious – a prayer both Spiritually aligned and humanly selfish 😉 – and would offer up the incident as an amends for one of the thousands of times I had done something while driving that scared other drivers.

(During my years pursuing an acting career in Hollywood – the role of suffering artist being perfect for both my alcoholism / addiction and my codependent martyrdom – I lived out the romantic vision of the struggling actor by making my living by waiting tables and parking cars and driving a taxi.  Driving a cab for several years – often stoned – really built up the number of driving amends I owe.  Seeing those incidents as Karmic – what goes around comes around – also played a part in helping me to stop buying into the belief I was being unfairly victimized on the freeway.)

The second thing that I realized was happening, had to do with fear also.  This was the fear that caused me to try to control life.  That fear caused me to be very self obsessed.  I was getting angry because those people were getting in my way.  The immature, self centered perspective of life which was dictating my relationship with life, caused me to think and act as if I was the only person who was important.  I reacted out of an ego selfishness that told me these idiots should get out of my way because I had places to go and things to do that were much more important than anything they were doing.

This ego driven, self centered fear was directly related – both as cause and effect – to my unconsciousness, my inability to be present in the moment.  I was always caught up in the past or the future, and related to driving in traffic as a great inconvenience that was slowing me down. (Which, also, sometimes led to me driving too fast and cutting between lanes.)

The society I grew up in taught me that reaching the destination was what I should focus upon, was the thing that was vitally important.  I was always striving to reach the destination where I would be fixed, where I would be respected and loved.  When I reached that destination (college degree, fame and fortune, the right relationship, the Academy Award, etc.) then I would live “happily ever after.”

I was forever in pursuit – either of the illusive “happily ever after,” or for something to distract me from, or kill the pain of, feeling defective because I had not already reached the destination.  I was always bouncing between the extremes:  trying to figure out how to control my life, how to do the “right” things, to get “there” – or working on going unconscious (with alcohol, drugs, obsession, rumination, food, whatever) to escape the pain of being “here.”  Being “here,” being present in the moment in my own skin, was too painful because I had a dysfunctional relationship with my own emotions – and was carrying a ton of suppressed grief energy.

And it was so painful emotionally because the subconscious intellectual paradigm that was dictating my relationship with self and life, was insane, delusional, and dysfunctional.  I could never relax and enjoy life (without some chemical help, either from a substance or from an illusion/fantasy about love or success that would affect my brain chemistry) because wherever my life was at that point – according to the critical parent voice in my head – was not good enough and was my fault, or their fault.  I was always feeling like a victim. (Empowerment and Victimization – the power of choice)

I needed to start letting go of that destination programming and start learning how to be in the moment.  To actually be present and conscious while driving my car.  (What a concept!)  To start relating to driving as being a perfect part of my journey, a classroom – a wonderful arena for Spiritual growth.

When the rush hour traffic was disrupting my plans of getting someplace by a certain time, I would practice my Spiritual program.  I would take some deep breaths to get into, and conscious of, my body.  Then I would thank the Universe for this wonderful opportunity to practice patience and acceptance.  I would take some steps to let go of the urgency I felt – the inner child’s fear of doing it “wrong,” the feeling that the world would come to an end if things did not go the way I had planned them.  I would remind myself that life was a journey, and that this moment was a perfect part of that journey.  I would talk to my inner children and tell them it was okay – that if I was going to be late, that was a perfect part of God’s plan.  I would let go of my picture of how I thought things have to unfold for me to be okay.  I would affirm that I am Unconditionally Loved and am being guided on my journey.

I would look around me, to see if there was something the Goddess wanted me to see – and that perhaps, was the reason I was stuck in traffic.  I would remind myself that it was possible that this delay was really a wonderful gift.  That perhaps because I was being delayed:  I would not be in a traffic accident later that day:  or the timing would be perfect for me to run into someone I needed to see, that without the delay I would have missed;  or something to that effect.

I would remind myself that I am not in control of life, I am not writing the script, so:

I need to surrender the illusion that I am in control; 
remember that I have a Loving Higher Power who is in control; 
and be willing to accept reality as it was being presented to me, and take whatever action I could to make the best of the situation – to align with God’s will so I could flow with the Universal plan.  (Work steps 1, 2, & 3 – the dance of recovery.)

That action may just be to relax, be in the moment, and do some prayer and meditation (talk and listen to The Great Spirit – which can certainly include expressing my irritation for the delay.)  The action may be to figure out an alternate route, get off the freeway at the next opportunity and take surface streets – but not with that feeling of life and death urgency, rather with sense of adventure.  “This is an interesting twist, let’s see how this unfolds.”

I started to learn to take responsibility for my feelings – to own the things I have some control over.  Learning how to be emotionally honest with myself allowed me to start becoming empowered to take responsibility for my life and stop empowering insane expectations.  By focusing on letting go of the belief in victimization that was caused by my attitudes and perspectives – the mental level of my being – I could greatly decrease the feelings of victimization, the amount of emotional energy that was being generated on an emotional level.  I still had some feelings of being victimized, but I could be nurturing and Loving in relationship to those feelings – and set some Loving boundaries with my inner children who were reacting out of the immediate gratification urgency of a child.  (I am just going to die if I don’t get what I want!)

I learned to develop an observer self – a mature, recovering adult with a Spiritual perspective – that could tell the critical parent voice to shut up with all the shame and fear messages, and assure my inner children that everything was going to be okay because there is a Higher Power in charge of my life. (Learning to Love our self)

Twisted and Distorted is the Dance of the Emotional Cripple

“We are set up to be emotionally dysfunctional by our role models, both parental and societal.  We are taught to repress and distort our emotional process.  We are trained to be emotionally dishonest when we are children.”

Early in my recovery, it was vital for me to start realizing how emotionally crippled I had been by the role modeling and messages I had experienced growing up in an emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional culture.  I had to become conscious of how dysfunctional my relationship with my own emotions was, in order to start healing the dysfunction in my relationship with my self and life.

The single most important influence in the development of a person’s relationship with their own emotions is role modeling.  Mom and Dad were our primary role models for how a male emotional being and female emotional being behave, for how they relate to, and express, their emotions.  (As well as for how male and female relate to each other.)  The cultural role models that we were exposed to – through books, movies, television, etc., – play an important factor also, but our primary role models were our parents.

The direct messages we got – both verbal (big boys don’t cry, little ladies don’t get angry, there is nothing to be afraid of, etc.) and behavioral (punishment for expressing emotions) – and indirect messages (the ways we interpreted and internalized the behavior of other people – parents, teachers, peers, etc. – as being personal punishment, as being our fault) we got both from our parents and from society play a part in that development, but role modeling has the greatest impact.

“In order to find out who we are, we have to start being emotionally honest with ourselves.  And in order to be emotionally honest with ourselves, we have to start changing our perspective on our own emotional process.

As a child, I learned from the role modeling of my father that the only emotion that a man felt was anger.  From my mother, whose definition of love included the belief that you cannot be angry at someone you love, I learned that it was not okay to be angry at anyone I loved.  That left me with very little permission to feel anything.  That did not mean that I did not have feelings – it meant that I was at war with my own emotions, that I could not be honest with myself about having them.  As long as I could not be honest with myself emotionally there was no way I could know who I was.  Until I started owning the grief and rage from my childhood, the sadness and hurt and fear that I had denied all of my life, I was incapable of being honest with myself, incapable of knowing who I Truly was.”

I remember very distinctly the thoughts I had in one of my first AA meetings when several people at a podium spoke of being afraid.  My thought was, “Who are these people – talking so much about being afraid.  I was never afraid.  They stuck guns in my face and it didn’t scare me.”

I did not have permission from my self to acknowledge that I felt fear, because I had learned growing up that real men do not feel fear.  I was emotionally crippled because I did not have permission to own my fear – or my pain or sadness.  I had no permission to be emotionally vulnerable – “weak.”  So, like the manly man I was trained to be, instead of owning that I was afraid or hurt, I got angry.

The Truth, as I soon came to understand it, is that I had really been scared of everyone and everything.  I was scared because I knew I was not perfect, and I was sure that other people would discover what a shameful loser I was.  Scared that I would fail the life test – that I would never reach “happily ever after.”  Afraid that I would never find someone to Love me.  The little boy inside of me was scared that god would punish me for being unworthy – scared of being condemned to burn in hell forever.

While pursuing an acting career, I would pontificate to other actors, sharing my wisdom about the key to building a true character – which was to understand the characters gut level fears.  I maintained that all people were driven by their gut levels fears, and that any other levels of motivation were in reaction to that level of fear.  I was a very good actor.  I could really make characters come alive because of my insights into the human emotional process.  However, I personally was not afraid of anything.

Talk about emotional dishonesty.  The power of denial is truly awesome.  I could see other people with some degree of clarity, but I did not have a clear perspective of my my self.

What is so insidious about codependency, is that it is entrenched in our core relationship with self and life.  The intellectual paradigm that determines our perspective of our self – and therefore how we behave in relationship to life and other people – is subconscious until we get into recovery and start becoming conscious enough to stop being the victim of false beliefs, of delusional and insane expectations.  Until we start becoming conscious, we are powerless over our behavior because we cannot see our self with any objectivity.  Since the only choices in the polarized perspective of life (that was imposed upon me in childhood) were right or wrong – and wrong was shameful – my ego tried to protect me from the toxic shame I felt at the core of my being with denial and rationalization.

To own the incredible pain and shame I felt at the core of my being, the self hatred I felt towards myself for being imperfect and unlovable, felt like a threat to my survival.  So, my ego kept me in denial of any feelings which were not acceptable to the perspective of being a man I learned in childhood.

The subconscious beliefs that were dictating my relationship with self, told me that fear was not an acceptable emotion for a man – so I had to deny that I had any fear.  My subconscious intellectual paradigm, the beliefs that were defining my relationship with my own gender and emotions, severely limited my perspective of myself.

As long as I had a distorted and twisted perspective of my own emotions it was impossible to see my self with any clarity.  I was powerless to understand my self and my behaviors until I started to get emotionally honest with my self.  It is not possible for a person to be honest in relationships until they start getting emotionally honest in their relationship with self.

Control and fear – thinking to avoid feeling

Attempts to control are a reaction to fear.  I attempted to control life because I was so afraid.  As I explain in my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, human beings have been doing life backwards due to a condition of reversity in the planetary energy field of Collective Human Emotional Consciousness.  One of the effects of this condition, is living life focused externally – trying to control things over which we have no control – while simultaneously judging and shaming ourselves because the way we are living life is not working.

“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.  It was very important for me to start learning how to recognize the boundaries of where I ended and other people began, and to start realizing that I can have some control over my internal process in ways that are not shaming and judgmental – that I can stop being the victim of myself.”

I had to deny any emotions that were not acceptable to my subconscious programming in order to feel that I had some control of my life.  Since the only acceptable emotion to the definition of being a man I had learned growing up was anger – and even anger was only acceptable to feel in relationship to other men – I had to deny almost all of my feelings.

As a child I had to learn to disassociate, to not be present in the moment in my own skin, because the emotional pain was too great.  The primary way I learned to be unconscious early on was to be in my head to avoid the feelings.  Later on, I would use drugs and alcohol to escape being present “here” – in my body in the moment – but even then being in my head was my primary defense against feeling my feelings.

I would fantasize, intellectualize, and analyze.  I would focus on something or someone outside of myself – and was always caught up in the past or future.  I was not capable of being present in my own skin in the moment because it was not okay to feel my feelings.  Because I was living in so much fear – at the same time I could not acknowledge that I felt any fear – I had to put a great deal of energy into denying that fear.

I would escape from my emotional reality by thinking about the future – creating grandiose fantasies of a positive nature (rehearsing my Academy Award acceptance speech, or fantasizing about the unavailable woman I was currently obsessing about) or of a negative nature (worry, impending doom, financial insecurity) – or ruminating on the past, either beating myself up for something “stupid” I said or did, or wallowing in resentment and self pity about how someone had victimized me.  This is very dysfunctional because it generates more emotional energy.

“Worry is negative fantasizing.  It is a fantasy that is being created in reaction to feeling fear.  It is not real – it is something that is being created because my mind has slipped into the old familiar rut of right and wrong thinking.  Worry is not a feeling – it is a reaction, an negative emotional state, that is created by the perspectives of a belief system that empowers illusions like failure.  The sooner that we can pull ourselves out of that rut and start seeing the situation as part of a learning process – shift back into a recovery perspective – the less negative emotional response we will generate in relationship to the situation.

Emotions do not have value in and of themselves – they just are.  What gives emotions value is how we react to them.  We were programmed to react negatively to emotions and adapted defenses to try to keep from feeling emotional energy.  Being in our head worrying about the past or the future, is a defense against being in our own skin and feeling our feelings.  But it is dysfunctional – it does not work.  Reacting negatively to our feelings generates more feelings.   The more we worry, the more fear we generate. . . . . . .

When I catch myself worrying then I know that I am not being emotionally honest with myself.  Worry is a symptom that tells me I am avoiding some feelings.” – Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 2

In order to start getting emotionally honest with myself, I had to start becoming aware of the ways in which I was avoiding my feelings.  I learned to observe myself so that I could be conscious enough to catch myself when I was thinking to try to avoid feeling.

I realized that any time I was worrying about “what if,” or fantasizing about “if only,” or obsessing about a woman or the outcome of a situation, it was sign that I was being dishonest with myself emotionally.  I started to become aware of all the ways I had been taught by society to keep my feelings at bay.  The ways I talked and thought that helped me stay in denial of my feelings.

“Emotions are energy.  Actual physical energy that is manifested in our bodies.  Emotions are not thoughts – they do not exist in our mind.  Our mental attitudes, definitions, and expectations can create emotional reactions, can cause us to get stuck in emotional states – but thoughts are not emotions.  The intellectual and emotional are two distinctly separate though intimately interconnected parts of our being.  In order to find some balance, peace, and sanity in recovery it is vitally important to start separating the emotional from the intellectual and to start setting boundaries with, and between, the emotional and mental parts of our self. . . . . .

. . . . . . . I had to become aware that there were such things as emotions that lived in my body and then I had to start learning how to recognize and sort them out.  I had to become aware of all the ways that I was trained to distance myself from my feelings.  I am going to mention a few of them here to help any of you reading this in your process of becoming emotionally honest.

Speaking in the third person.  One of the defenses many of us have against feeling our feelings is to speak of ourselves in the third person.  “You just kind of feel hurt when that happens” is not a personal statement and does not carry the power of speaking in the first person.  “I felt hurt when that happened” is personal, is owning the feeling.  Listen to yourself and to others and become aware of how often you hear others and yourself refer to self in the third person.

Avoiding using primary feeling words.  There are only a handful of primary feelings that all humans feel.  There is some dispute about just how many there are primary but for our purpose here I am going to use seven.  Those are: angry, sad, hurt, afraid, lonely, ashamed, and happy.  It is important to start using the primary names of these feelings in order to own them and to stop distancing ourselves from the feelings.  To say “I am anxious” or “concerned” or “apprehensive” is not the same as saying “I am afraid.”  Fear is at the root of all those other expressions but we don’t have to be so aware of our fear if we use a word that distances us from fear.  Expressions like “confused,”  “irritated,” “upset,” “tense,” “disturbed,” “melancholy,” “blue,” “good,” or “bad” are not primary feeling words.

Emotions are energy that is meant to flow: E – motion = energy in motion.  Until we own it, feel it and release it, it cannot flow.  By blocking and repressing our emotions we are damming up our internal energy and that will eventually result in some physical or mental manifestation such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease or whatever.” – The Journey to the Emotional Frontier Within

Someone could ask me if I was afraid, and I would respond, “No, I’m not afraid.  A little concerned perhaps, but certainly not afraid.”  Saying, “I am feeling some fear.” is a quite different energetic experience from saying, “I am a bit apprehensive.”  Naming and claiming the feeling is an important part of emotional honesty.  There is power in the way we express ourselves.  It is very important to start becoming aware of the emotional energy in our bodies.  In order to be present in our own skins in the moment, it is necessary to be consciously in touch with our feelings.

There was no way that I could start changing the way I was relating to life until I started to own my fear.  Fear is not a bad thing – just as sadness, pain, and anger are not negative or bad in and of themselves.  Emotions are a vital part of our being that need to be owned, honored, and respected.  Denial and repression of emotions is what leads to negative consequences.

“Emotions have a purpose, a very good reason to be – even those emotions that feel uncomfortable.  Fear is a warning, anger is for protection, tears are for cleansing and releasing.  These are not negative emotional responses!  We were taught to react negatively to them.  It is our reaction that is dysfunctional and negative, not the emotion.”

Human beings have a fear of the unknown for a reason.  It is part of our survival programming.  Because I did not have permission to own my fear, I was very out of balance emotionally.  It was impossible for me to own that I had fear and still feel that I had worth as a man, so the only options I had – according to the subconscious programming of my childhood – were to deny my fear or feel that I was defective as a man.

“Fear is an emotion that exists to serve us.  It provides a warning system to help us be aware of potential danger.  It is appropriate and healthy to be aware when we are driving.  To be conscious of potential threats.  It is important for us to be in touch with our fear so that we can pay attention to it when it sends us a message.

What is not functional is to completely empower fear or to deny it.  The 1 or 10 extremes of the disease.

Emotions are an incredibly powerful and important part of this experience we are having of being human.  Emotions are a vital part of our being – and dictate the quality of our life experience.

“Emotions have two vitally important purposes for human beings.  Emotions are a form of communication.  Our feelings are one of the means by which we define ourselves.  The interaction of our intellect and our emotions determines how we relate to ourselves.

Our emotional energy is also the fuel that propels us down the pathways of our life journey.  E-motions are the orchestra that provide the music for our individual dances – that dictate the rhythmic flow and movement of our human dance.  Our feelings help us to define ourselves and then provide the combustible fuel that dictates the speed and direction of our motion – rather we are flowing with it or damming it up within ourselves. . . . . . .

 . . . . there are two primary transformers from which emotional energy is generated.  Our ego self and our Spiritual Self.  Our ego was traumatized in childhood and programmed very dysfunctionally. The ego is the seat of the disease of codependence.” – Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 2

The ego is the part of us that composed the score and conducts the music for our dance of codependence.  It composed that score based upon the definitions, attitudes and beliefs it adapted in early childhood due to what our emotional experience of being a human child felt like.” – Newsletter part 2 May 2001 Update

Denying my fear was dysfunctional and emotionally dishonest.  Focusing on fear, giving it a great deal of power, is also dysfunctional – and can be immobilizing.  The extremes of the disease of codependency.

In writing the May 2001 Joy2MeU Update just quoted, I shared how I caught myself making a statement that set off alarm bells in my codependency control center – my observer self.  Observing and listening to myself made me aware that my fear of intimacy issues were up to be looked at again.  I subsequently did 3 Newsletter web pages of processing about those issues (and another 3 pages in my journal pages of the Joy2MeU Journal) in which I uncovered a level where I was being emotionally dishonest with myself – and was empowering some black and white thinking.

Recovery is on an ongoing process of uncovering, discovering, and recovering.  We have layer upon layer of wounding – which means layer upon layer of denial, emotional dishonesty, and rationalized perspectives.  We keep peeling another layer of the onion and getting to a deeper level of honesty – both intellectually and emotionally.

June 3rd will mark the 16th anniversary of my codependency recovery.  (I write this some time ago – my anniversary is June 3rd 1986: The Story of Joy to You & Me)  There are still times when I find the process irritating.  But the benefits have been incredible.  It is through healing my relationship with my self that I have found an incredible inner peace.  That I have learned to be present in the moment – and have some moments of Joy – every day.   Recovery works.

Focusing on the future or the past, blaming them or blaming me, underreacting or overreacting (stuffing my feelings until they exploded forth in ways that made me feel crazy and ashamed,) feeling triumphant over “winning” or wanting to die because I was such a loser, were the rhythms of my dance of codependency.  As long as I was in denial and unconsciously reacting to life I was doomed to “keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.”  Unconsciousness doomed me to ride on a merry go round of cause and effect – never getting anywhere different emotionally.  As long as I was incapable of being emotionally honest with myself, I was doomed to keep repeating the patterns that dictated my emotional reality.

Codependency recovery is the path to finding enough freedom from the past to find happiness and Joy in being alive today.  I highly recommend it. 😉 – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2:  A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life  Chapter 4: False Self Image

Sacred Spiral

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life is available in a subscription area of the Joy2MeU website entitled: Dancing in Light

A special offer for that subscription (as well as for the Joy2MeU Journal) is available on this special offers page.

The first two chapter of this online book is available through my regular website: The codependency movement is NOT ruining marriages!

I have published some other chapters of this work as blogs including: Chapter 8 Codependents as Emotional Vampires,  Chapter 13: Changing the Music: Love instead of fear and shame, and Chapter 4false self image.

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life is the third book of what I think of as the Wounded Souls Trilogy along with Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls A Cosmic Perspective on Codependence and the Human Condition and Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing. (This is different from The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 – “In The Beginning . . .” which is a Magical, Mystical Adult Spiritual Fable that was in fact the first book I wrote – but have never finished.)

The True Nature of Love – part 4, Energetic Clarity

“The key to healing our wounded souls is to get clear and honest in our emotional process.  Until we can get clear and honest with our human emotional responses – until we change the twisted, distorted, negative perspectives and reactions to our human emotions that are a result of having been born into, and grown up in, a dysfunctional, emotionally repressive, Spiritually hostile environment – we cannot get clearly in touch with the level of emotional energy that is Truth.  We cannot get clearly in touch with and reconnected to our Spiritual Self.

We, each and every one of us, has an inner channel to Truth, an inner channel to the Great Spirit.  But that inner channel is blocked up with repressed emotional energy, and with twisted, distorted attitudes and false beliefs.”

(All quotations in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)

“It can be relatively easy to access Love and Joy in relationship with nature.  It is in our relationships with other people that it gets messy.  That is because we learned how to relate to other people in childhood from wounded people who learned how to relate to other people in their childhood.  In our core relationship with ourselves we don’t feel Lovable.  That can make it very difficult to connect with other people in a clean and energetically clear way that helps us to access Love from the Source instead of viewing the other person as the source.  We are so defended, because of the pain we have experienced, that we are not open to connecting with others.  If we haven’t done the grief work from the past we are not open to feeling our feelings in the moment.  As long as we are blocking the pain and anger and fear, we are also blocking the Love and Joy.  The more we heal our emotional wounds and change our intellectual programming the more capacity we have to be in the moment and tune into the Love within. 

I will discuss further in the next column in this series, how to differentiate between looking outside for the source and combining our energy with some outside influence to help us access the Source within.” – The True Nature of Love-part 3, Love as a Vibrational Frequency

(If you have not already read part 3 you may wish to do so before reading part 4 – all internal links in this column/web page/blog will open in a new browser window so that you can read them and then be back at this column when you collapse the window.)

As I say in the quote above from the last column in this series, relating to nature is easy – relating to other people is messy.  That is because we did not learn how to have a healthy relationship with ourselves in early childhood.  We have to clear up our relationship with our self in order to see our self clearly before we can start to see our relationship to other humans clearly.

And I want to make a point right at the beginning of this article that this is a gradual process of finding a sense of balance – not an absolute destination.  The language I have to use to describe this multi-leveled, multi-faceted growth process is very limiting. 

“Unfortunately, in sharing this information I am forced to use language that is polarized – that is black and white.

When I say that you cannot Truly Love others unless you Love yourself – that does not mean that you have to completely Love yourself first before you can start to Love others.  The way the process works is that every time we learn to Love and accept ourselves a little tiny bit more, we also gain the capacity to Love and accept others a little tiny bit more.

When I say that you cannot start to access intuitive Truth until you clear out your inner channel – I am not saying that you have to complete your healing process before you can start getting messages. You can start getting messages as soon as you are willing to start listening.  The more you heal the clearer the messages become.”

So, with that qualification about the limitations of language, I am now going to try to communicate as clearly as possible how clearing our relationship with ourselves can help us to be energetically clear in our relationship with other people and with life.

Giving power away

Many of the expressions that are in common usage in the language of human interrelationship are incredibly accurate on multiple levels.  One such expression is ‘giving your power away.’  If we are not clear in our relationship with self, if we are reacting to the definitions of self that we learned in childhood, then we are giving power away both literally and figuratively on multiple levels.

The level that most people are not aware of, and that is important for the focus of this column, is energetically.  When we give power away to other people because our relationship with self is dysfunctional, we actually allow cords of energy to tie us to those people.  These cords (ribbons, cables, tethers, threads, strands) of energy exist on the Etheric plane – which is where the Life Force energy runs through the chakra system.

We can literally be drained of our Life Force by these dysfunctional connections to other people.   All of us learned to allow ourselves to both be drained of Life Force by others as well as to steal Life Force energy from others to survive.

We need to steal Life Force energy from others because we are blocked from clearly accessing our own Life Force energy by our dysfunctional relationship with self.  Because our inner channel is not clear.  In clearing up our inner channel to tune into the higher vibrational emotional energy of Light, Love, Joy, and Truth, we are also accessing our own Life Force energy.  (The Life Force energy and the vibrational range of Light, Love, Joy, Truth, and Beauty are not the same thing but they are intimately interrelated.)

So, when I talk about giving our power away on an energetic level, it is an actual drain of energy, of power. Our codependence/ego defense system is set up to help us survive by trying to keep us from being drained of power at the same time it tries to steal energy from outside sources.  Since we cannot clearly access the Source energy we have available to us to within, we look externally for sources of power and energy.

Codependency is outer or external dependence.  We are dependent on outer or external sources to feed us the energy we need to survive.  We make people, places, and things and/or money, property and prestige the Higher Power that we look to as the source of our energy, our power.

We are attached to those things literally on an energetic level by the cords of energy that are created on the Etheric plane due to the relationship between the bodies of our being that exist on that plane – which includes our mental and emotional bodies.

(I am now going to use a quote from my Trilogy, and again a little later in this column a continuation of this quote as well as a quote from another article, that are part of my Joy2MeU Journal and are only available to subscribers of that Journal.  I apologize for that to all of you that are not subscribers.  This is not an attempt to get you to subscribe – although it would certainly be OK if you decided to do that – it is just the best way I can find to facilitate communicating what I am attempting to communicate here.  For those of you who are not subscribers, there is plenty of material on this web site to focus on that will help you clear up your relationship with your self without having to understand the more metaphysical aspects of this life experience.  In fact, many people focus on the metaphysical aspects as a way of avoiding doing the emotional healing – so sometimes it is best not to get too caught up in the metaphysical.)

“The holographic illusion which is the Physical plane is composed of multiple levels of illusions.  The most basic illusion within the Physical plane is that substance and separation exist.  They do not.  Everything in the physical universe is composed of energy.  This energy interacts to form energy fields.  These energy fields interact according to energy patterns to form other energy fields, which in turn interact according to energy patterns to form other energy fields, which in turn interact….etc., etc.  The interaction of the One energy produces energy fields on the sub-subatomic level.  These energy fields interact to produce subatomic energy fields, which in turn combine/interact to produce the energy field that we call the atom.  (Remember energy fields are formed by energy vortex interaction, and atoms are are little bundles of swirling energy.)  These atoms interact/combine to form the energy field that is the molecule.  Molecular energy fields interact to form every type of substance/matter which humans perceive.

All energy fields are temporary effects of energy vortex interaction.  (Temporary is a relative term.  Physicists measure the lifetime of some subatomic particles/energy fields in quintillionths of a seconds, while the planet Earth has existed for billions of years – both are temporary.)  The energy patterns which govern these interactions are also energy fields in and of themselves.  For example – the individual human mind is an energy field, but it is also an energy pattern that governs the flow of communications between a humans’ Spiritual being and physical being, and within the seven bodies which make up the humans’ being.  (The seven bodies and the mind will be discussed later.  Note that attitudes in the mind can block the flow of communication from the Soul because the mind is an energy pattern.)

Each energy field vibrates at certain frequencies, and is interrelated and interdependent with all other energy fields.  Each letter in this sentence is an energy field composed of energy fields vibrating at certain frequencies, each combination of letters that forms a word, each combination of words that forms a sentence, etc., etc., etc.  (Millions of atoms can go into making up a single letter – aren’t you glad you asked.)  Each word, each concept, each idea, is an energy field interacting according to energy patterns that are energy fields.

(Get the point?  The bottom line is that nothing is what it appears to be.  You are made up of the same subatomic, atomic, and molecular energy as the chair you are sitting in and the air you are breathing.  Just bring to consciousness for a moment the fact that your physical body vehicle is composed of an uncountable number of energy fields interacting according to energy patterns.  Just to imagine the number of energy fields interacting within your physical body at this moment is overwhelming.  Now think of the number of energy fields and energy patterns that come into play when dealing with something outside of yourself, and then of course there is your emotional body and your mental body, etc. – and you wonder why relationships are so hard.)” – The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 – “In The Beginning . . .”  History of the Universe Part V

The fact that the mind is an energy field that is also an energy pattern of interaction is very important to realize.  Communication from within (both internally between different parts of our being and from our spirit/Soul/Higher Power) and without – stimulation from our environment and everything/everyone in it – flows through the energy field that is the mind to our being.

Our experiential reality is determined by the interpretations of our mind – by the intellectual paradigm which we are using to define / determine / translate / explain our reality.  The attitudes, definitions, and belief systems which we hold mentally dictate our emotional reactions.  Attitudes, definitions, and beliefs determine perspective and expectation – which in turn dictates our relationships.  Our relationships to our self, to life, to other people, to The God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit.  Our relationships to our own emotions, bodies, gender, etc., are dictated by the attitudes, definitions, and beliefs that we are holding mentally / intellectually.  And we acquired those mental constructs / ideas / concepts in early childhood from the emotional experiences, intellectual teachings, and role modeling of the beings around us.  If we have not done our emotional healing so that we can get in touch with our subconscious intellectual programming then we are still reacting to that early childhood programming / intellectual paradigm even though we may not be aware of it consciously.

“The Truth is that the intellectual value systems, the attitudes, that we use in deciding what’s right and wrong were not ours in the first place.  We accepted on a subconscious and emotional level the values that were imposed on us as children.  Even if we throw out those attitudes and beliefs intellectually as adults, they still dictate our emotional reactions.  Even if, especially if, we live our lives rebelling against them. By going to either extreme – accepting them without question or rejecting them without consideration – we are giving power away.”

“It was impossible to start Loving myself and trusting myself, impossible to start finding some peace within, until I started to change my perspective of, and my definitions of, who I was and what emotions it was okay for me to feel.

Enlarging my perspective means changing my definitions, the definitions that were imposed on me as a child about who I am and how to do this life business.  In Recovery it has been necessary to change my definitions of, and my perspective of, almost everything.  That was the only way that it was possible to start learning how to Love myself.

I spent most of my life feeling like I was being punished because I was taught that God was punishing and that I was unworthy and deserved to be punished.  I had thrown out those beliefs about God and life on a conscious, intellectual level in my late teens – but in Recovery I was horrified to discover that I was still reacting to life emotionally based on those beliefs.

I realized that my perspective of life was being determined by beliefs that I had been taught as a child even though they were not what I believed as an adult.”

“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.” – Joy2MeU Journal Premier issue The Story of “Joy to You & Me”

We cannot get clearly in touch with the subconscious programming without doing the grief work.  The subconscious intellectual programming is tied to the emotional wounds we suffered and many years of suppressing those feelings has also buried the attitudes, definitions, and beliefs that are connected to those emotional wounds.  It is possible to get intellectually aware of some of them through such tools as hypnosis, or having a therapist or psychic or energy healer tell us they are there – but we cannot really understand how much power they carry without feeling the emotional context – and cannot change them without reducing the emotional charge / releasing the emotional energy tied to them.  Knowing they are there will not make them go away.

A good example of how this works is a man that I worked with some years ago.  He came to me in emotional agony because his wife was leaving him.  He was adamant that he did not want a divorce and kept saying how much he loved his wife and how he could not stand to lose his family (he had a daughter about 4.)  I told him the first day he came in that the pain he was suffering did not really have that much to do with his wife and present situation – but was rooted in some attitude from his childhood.  But that did not mean anything to him on a practical level, on a level of being able to let go of the attitude that was causing him so much pain.  It was only while doing his childhood grief work that he got in touch with the pain of his parents divorce when he was 10 years old.  In the midst of doing that grief work the memory of promising himself that he would never get a divorce, and cause his child the kind of pain he was experiencing, surfaced.  Once he had gotten in touch with, and released, the emotional charge connected to the idea of divorce, he was able to look at his present situation more clearly.  Then he could see that the marriage had never been a good one – that he had sacrificed himself and his own needs from the beginning to comply with his dream / concept of what a marriage should be.  He could then see that staying in the marriage was not serving him or his daughter.  Once he got past the promise he made to himself in childhood, he was able to let go of his wife and start building a solid relationship with his daughter based on the reality of today instead of the grief of the past.

It was the idea / concept of his wife, of marriage, that he had been unable to let go of – not the actual person.  By changing his intellectual concept / belief, he was able to get clear on what the reality of the situation was and sever the emotional energy chains / cords that bound him to the situation and to his wife.  He was then able to let go of giving away power over his self-esteem (part of his self-esteem was based on keeping his promise to himself) to a situation / person that he could not control.  He gained the wisdom / clarity to discern the difference between what he had some power to change and what he needed to accept.  He could not change his wife’s determination to get a divorce but he could change his attitude toward that divorce – once he changed the subconscious emotional programming connected to the concept.

Falling in love with a dream

It is letting go of the dream, the idea / concept, of the relationship that causes the most grief in every relationship break up that I have ever worked with.  We give power and energy to the mental construct of what we want the relationship to be and cannot even begin to see the situation and the other person clearly.

Far too often – because of the concept of toxic / addictive love we are taught in this society – it is the idea of the other person that we fall in love with, not the actual person.  It is so important to us to cast someone in the role of Prince or Princess that we focus on who we want them to be – not on who they really are. In our relationship with our self, we attach so much importance to getting the relationship that we are dishonest with ourselves – and with the other person – in order to manifest the dream / concept of relationship that will fix us / make our life worthwhile.  Then we end up feeling like a victim when the other person does not turn out to be the person we wanted.

“A white knight is not going to come charging up to rescue us from the dragon.  A princess is not going to kiss us and turn us from a frog into a prince.  The Prince and the Princess and the Dragon are all within us.  It is not about someone outside of us rescuing us.  It is also not about some dragon outside of us blocking our path.  As long as we are looking outside to become whole we are setting ourselves up to be victims.  As long as we are looking outside for the villain we are buying into the belief that we are the victim.

As little kids we were victims and we need to heal those wounds.  But as adults we are volunteers – victims only of our disease.  The people in our lives are actors and actresses whom we cast in the roles that would recreate the childhood dynamics of abuse and abandonment, betrayal and deprivation.”

The attitude / dream / concept that has all the power is internal – it is not really about the other person.  All of our emotional responses to life are based upon an internal relationship with our own intellectual paradigm / belief system / definitions.  Other people are actually actors that we cast in the roles of the movie that we are projecting from our own mind.  The foundation for what kind of movie we are making was laid in childhood due to our emotional wounds.  If we want to change the quality of the movie, we need to get to the subconscious attitudes by grieving / clearing the emotional energy.  Then we can change the music we are dancing to in our relationship with life and with other people.

Now, you have probably noticed that I have shifted from the metaphysical level back down to the practical level here – I am sorry if this is confusing. It can be difficult to speak about multiple levels simultaneously, but I find it necessary because it is so important to actually do the healing and not just get caught up in the intellectual gymnastics of trying to figure it all out.

The real point that I am trying to make here is that the healing process is an inside job.  No one outside of you can drain you of energy, or exert power over you, unless it fits into the intellectual paradigm that your emotional wounds have set you up for.  The cords / chains / threads of energy that connect us to other people connect us because of our beliefs.  By changing the beliefs we can disconnect from the unhealthy linkage we have to other people.  We can then learn how to connect energetically in ways that are healthy and Loving – We can learn the difference between healthy interdependence (which involves giving some power away over our feelings) and codependence.

“Codependence and interdependence are two very different dynamics.

Codependence is about giving away power over our self-esteem. . . . Interdependence is about making allies, forming partnerships. It is about forming connections with other beings. Interdependence means that we give someone else some power over our welfare and our feelings.

Anytime we care about somebody or something we give away some power over our feelings. It is impossible to Love without giving away some power. When we choose to Love someone (or thing – a pet, a car, anything) we are giving them the power to make us happy – we cannot do that without also giving them the power to hurt us or cause us to feel angry or scared.

In order to live we need to be interdependent. We cannot participate in life without giving away some power over our feelings and our welfare. I am not talking here just about people. If we put money in a bank we are giving some power over our feelings and welfare to that bank. If we have a car we have a dependence on it and will have feelings if it something happens to it. If we live in society we have to be interdependent to some extent and give some power away. The key is to be conscious in our choices and own responsibility for the consequences.

The way to healthy interdependence is to be able to see things clearly – to see people, situations, life dynamics and most of all ourselves clearly. If we are not working on healing our childhood wounds and changing our childhood programming then we cannot begin to see ourselves clearly let alone anything else in life. ” – Codependence vs. Interdependence

We can have healthy ties / threads / cords of energy connecting us to other people but only by learning to see ourselves clearly.  As long as our self definition is enmeshed with other people’s attitudes and behaviors, we are incapable of making True choices about our own best interests.  Until we start seeing ourselves clearly, we will continue to be energetically drawn to people who will recreate our childhood emotional wounds.

“3.  Our emotions tell us who we are – our Soul communicates with us through emotional energy vibrations.  Truth is an emotional energy vibrational communication from our Soul on the Spiritual Plane to our being/spirit/soul on this physical plane – it is something that we feel in our heart/our gut, something that resonates within us.

Our problem has been that because of our unhealed childhood wounds it has been very difficult to tell the difference between an intuitive emotional Truth and the emotional truth that comes from our childhood wounds.  When one of our buttons is pushed and we react out of the insecure, scared little kid inside of us (or the angry/rage filled kid, or the powerless/helpless kid, etc.) then we are reacting to what our emotional truth was when we were 5 or 9 or 14 – not to what is happening now.  Since we have been doing that all of our lives, we learned not to trust our emotional reactions (and got the message not to trust them in a variety of ways when we were kids.)

 4. We are attracted to people that feel familiar on an energetic level – which means (until we start clearing our emotional process) people that emotionally / vibrationally feel like our parents did when we were very little kids.  At a certain point in my process I realized that if I met a woman who felt like my soul mate, that the chances were pretty huge that she was one more unavailable woman that fit my pattern of being attracted to someone who would reinforce the message that I wasn’t good enough, that I was unlovable.  Until we start releasing the hurt, sadness, rage, shame, terror – the emotional grief energy – from our childhoods we will keep having dysfunctional relationships.” – Feeling the Feelings

It does not make any difference what our conscious intellectual beliefs are as long as we are reacting energetically to old programming.  That is why it is so vital to do the emotional healing.  In order to clear our emotional body of the repressed emotional energy so that we can change the intellectual paradigm that is embedded in our mental body / mind, it is necessary to do the emotional healing.  All of the intellectual knowledge of Spiritual Truth and healthy relationship behavior that we can acquire will not significantly transform the behavioral patterns that are being driven by the subconscious programming.  We cannot heal our fear of intimacy so that we can open up to receiving Love without feeling the feelings.

“This grieving is not an intellectual process.  Changing our false and dysfunctional attitudes is vital to the process; enlarging our intellectual perspective is absolutely necessary to the process, but doing these things does not release the energy – it does not heal the wounds.

Learning what healthy behavior is will allow us to be healthier in the relationships that do not mean much to us; intellectually knowing Spiritual Truth will allow us to be more Loving some of the time; but in the relationships that mean the most to us, with the people we care the most about, when our “buttons are pushed” we will watch ourselves saying things we don’t want to say and reacting in ways that we don’t want to react – because we are powerless to change the behavior patterns without dealing with the emotional wounds.

We cannot integrate Spiritual Truth or intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into our experience of life in a substantial way without honoring and respecting the emotions.  We cannot consistently incorporate healthy behavior into day to day life without being emotionally honest with ourselves.  We cannot get rid of our shame and overcome our fear of emotional intimacy without going through the feelings.

Walking around saying “We are all one,” and “God is Love,” and “I forgive them all,” does not release the energy.  Using crystals, or white light, or being born again does not heal the wounds, and does not fundamentally alter the behaviors.

We are all ONE and God is LOVE; crystals do have power and white light is a very valuable tool, but we need to not confuse the intellectual with the emotional (forgiving someone intellectually does not make the energy of anger and pain disappear) – and to not kid ourselves that using the tools allows us to avoid the process.

There is no quick fix!  Understanding the process does not replace going through it!  There is no magic pill, there is no magic book, there is no guru or channeled entity that can make it possible to avoid the journey within, the journey through the feelings.

No one outside of Self (True, Spiritual Self) is going to magically heal us.

There is not going to be some alien E.T. landing in a spaceship singing, “Turn on your heart light,” who is going to magically heal us all.

The only one who can turn on your heart light is you.”

And, of course, the way we turn on our heart light is to tune into the energy, the power, of the Transcendent emotional energy of Love, Light, Joy, Truth, and Beauty.  We need to open up to receiving Love – and we cannot do that without changing our relationship with the child who we were.

“It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are. And the only way to do that is to own that child’s experiences, honor that child’s feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around.”

“A “state of Grace” is the condition of being Loved unconditionally by our Creator without having to earn that Love.  We are Loved unconditionally by the Great Spirit.  What we need to do is to learn to accept that state of Grace.

The way we do that is to change the attitudes and beliefs within us that tell us that we are not Lovable.  And we cannot do that without going through the black hole.  The black hole that we need to surrender to traveling through is the black hole of our grief.  The journey within – through our feelings – is the journey to knowing that we are Loved, that we are Lovable.”

The healing process is an inside job.

The relationship I need to heal is between me and me.  Everything in my lesson plan / life experience is there for me to learn from so that I can heal my relationship with me. All the people who play a significant role in my life are teachers reflecting back to me some aspect of my relationship with my self – with my humanity, with my emotions, with my sexuality, with whatever – that needs healing. Through healing my relationship with me I am owning and honoring my connection to everything.

There is nothing wrong with who we are – it is our relationship to our self that is so messed up.  We are all Spiritual Beings having a human experience.  We all have Divine worth as children of The Source.  We are all perfect parts of The Source.  In our relationship with ourselves on this level we need to learn to open up to receiving the Love that is our True state of being – that is why we are here.  To heal so that we can reconnect with Love.

I am going to have to put off talking about the details of energetic clarity in relationship and “how to differentiate between looking outside for the source and combining our energy with some outside influence to help us access the Source within” until my next column (this one is getting too long) in order to to make one point very clearly here.  It was impossible for me to start to get clear energetically in my relationships with others and life until I started to have boundaries that told me where I ended and other people began.  As long as I believed that I was responsible for other people’s feelings and behavior I could not start seeing myself clearly.  As long as I was looking to other people for the juice / energy / power to feel OK about myself, I was set up to be a victim and recreate the old patterns.

This is The big paradigm shift.  Shifting our intellectual paradigm – our attitudes, definitions, and beliefs – is necessary in order to raise our consciousness and open up to consciously accessing the Transcendent vibrational energy of Love, Light, Joy, and Truth.  I had to stop looking outside for the answers and start accessing the Truth within.  Only when I started to open up to the idea that perhaps, maybe, I was Lovable and worthy in a way that was not dependent on outside or external conditions, could I start to let go of defining myself in reaction to other people and other peoples belief systems.

In order to get clear on how to connect to others in a healthy way we must first realize and define how we are separate from others.  On the level of our physical being, our ego-self, we are separate and need to own that before we can open up to consciously experiencing how we are connected to everyone and everything.  We need to see our relationship with ourselves clearly in order to see our relationships to others clearly.

One of the things that I had to get clear on in order to start learning who I am was selfishness.  I had been taught that it was bad to be selfish and that I should do things for others.  I learned to steal energy from others through what I was telling myself were unselfish acts.  I was just being a “nice guy” and did not expect anything in return – Bull.  I always had expectations – I just was not being honest with myself about them – because I had been trained and conditioned in childhood to be dishonest with myself emotionally and intellectually.

I had to come to a realization that there is no such thing as an unselfish act.  If I rescue a stranger from a burning car wreck, it does not have anything to do with the stranger – it has to do with my relationship with myself.  I believe that every thing a human being does has a pay off – and it was a very important part of my growth process to start looking for those pay offs.  I had to learn to get honest with myself and stop buying into the illusion that anything I did was for some one else.  I had to stop looking outside for the energy boost I got from doing something nice so that I could own that the energy boost came internally.

The power / energy / juice that we need comes from within – not from outside.  People, places, and things can sometimes help us to access the power that is within us – but they are not the source of that power.  The source is within!

It has always come from within – we were just trained to look outside for it because of the reversity of the planets energy field of emotional consciousness has caused human beings to do human backwards.  Codependence is a disease of reversed focus – looking externally for that which is available within us.

“Codependence is also a disease of reversed focus – it is about focusing outside of ourselves for self-definition and self-worth.  That sets us up to be a victim.  We have worth because we are Spiritual Beings not because of how much money or success we have – or how we look or how smart we are.  When self-worth is determined by looking outside it means we have to look down on someone else to feel good about ourselves – this is the cause of bigotry, racism, class structure, and Jerry Springer.

The goal is to focus on who we really are – get in touch with the Light and Love within us and then radiate that outward.  I think that is what  Mother Theresa did – I can’t know for sure because I never met her and it can be difficult to tell looking from the outside where a persons focus is – Mother Theresa could have been a raging codependent who was doing good on the outside in order to feel good about herself – or she could have been being True to her Self by accessing the Love and Light within and reflecting outward.  Either way the effect was that she did some great things – the difference would have been how she felt about herself at the deepest levels of her being – because it does not make any real difference how much validation we get from outside if we are not Loving ourselves.  If I did not start working on knowing that I had worth as a Spiritual Being – that there is a Higher Power that Loves me – it would never have made any real difference how many people told me I was wonderful.” – Question & Answer Page 2

The relationship I need to heal is between me and me.  Everything in my lesson plan / life experience is there for me to learn from so that I can heal my relationship with me (which will heal the Karma I need to settle.)  All the people who play a significant role in my life are teachers reflecting back to me some aspect of my relationship with my self – with my humanity, with my emotions, with my sexuality, with whatever – that needs healing. Through healing my relationship with me I am owning and honoring my connection to everything.

There is nothing wrong with who we are – it is our relationship to our self that is messed up.  We are all Spiritual Beings having a human experience.  We all have Divine worth as children of The Source.  We are all perfect parts of The Source.  In our relationship with ourselves on this level we need to learn to open up to receiving / accessing the Love that is our True state of being – that is why we are here.  To heal so that we can reconnect with Love.

We can have healthy ties / threads / cords of energy connecting us to other people but only by learning to see ourselves clearly.  As long as our self definition is enmeshed with other people’s attitudes and behaviors, we are incapable of making True choices about our own best interests.  Until we start seeing ourselves clearly, we will continue to be energetically drawn to people who will recreate our childhood emotional wounds.

“Both the classic codependent patterns and the classic counterdependent patterns are behavioral defenses, strategies, design to protect us from the devastating pain and debilitating shame of being abandoned because we are flawed, because we are not good enough, not worthy and lovable.  One tries to protect against abandonment by avoiding confrontation and pleasing the other – while the second tries to avoid abandonment by pretending we don’t need anyone else.  Both are dysfunctional and dishonest.”  – Codependent Relationships Dynamics – Codependent & Counterdependent Behavior

On an energetic level, abandonment means getting unplugged from our energy source.  Abandonment feels life-threatening because the cords that bind us to other people, and feed us Life Force energy, gets unplugged and we do not know how to access that energy for ourselves.  That is why it is so important to learn to plug in internally, access the Transcendent emotional energy of Love, Light, Joy, and Truth that is available to us within.

It is very important for us to learn to let go of our unhealthy attachments to other people and outside sources so that we can access the power from the Source that is available within.  Learning how to define ourselves as separate, how to have boundaries that tell us who we are as individuals, is a vital step in starting to see ourselves with more clarity so that we can see others and life with more clarity.

And once again here, I want to make the point that clarity with our self is not an absolute destination.  This healing is a gradual process of finding a sense of balance – a sense of what clarity feels like, so that we can look for and recognize when we have it and when we do not.   In order to do that it is vital to learn how to be emotionally honest with ourselves so that we can be discerning in our relationship with our own mental and emotional process. Through that honesty we will achieve some energetic clarity as well.

Through that energetic clarity we will be able to access Love from the Source – and we will learn to Love and trust our Self to guide our self through this boarding school that is life as a human.

Sacred Spiral with tail pointing to the right signifying going toward.

Robert Burney is a pioneer in the area of codependency recovery / inner child healing. His first book Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls has been called “one of the truly transformational works of our time.”  It combines Twelve Step Recovery Principles, Metaphysical Truth, and Native American Spirituality with quantum physics and molecular biology in a Cosmic Perspective of Codependence & The Human Condition.  It is possible to get personally autographed copies of his books from his main website Joy2MeU.com or from a Mobile friendly site.  You can also get Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon:  Books or eBooks from Barnes & Noble or eBooks thru Kobo    Here is a page with special offers for his books. 

His website Joy2MeU.com offers over 200 pages of free original content  on codependency recovery, inner child healing, relationship dynamics, alcoholism/addiction, fear of intimacy, Twelve Step Spirituality, New Age Metaphysics, emotional abuse, setting boundaries, grief process, and much more.  The Joy2MeU website is designed in an ancient design program which is not mobile friendly.  A new site – joy2meu2.com – is a redesign of joy2meu.com in a mobile friendly format. The Joy2MeU2 siteindex page that will help you to access most of his articles on mobile friendly sites (around 170.)

The True Nature of Love – Part 1, what Love is not, The True Nature of Love – Part 2, Love as Freedom, and The True Nature of Love – Part 3, Love as a Vibrational Frequency have previously been published here on WordPress.  This is Part 4, and articles 5 and 6 of this series are now exclusively available in the Dancing in Light pay to view component of Joy2MeU.com There are special offers for Dancing in Light and Joy2MeU Journal (where the Trilogy quoted can be accessed) subscription areas of Joy2MeU.  The Dance of The Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 “In The Beginning . . .” (is never going to be finished – the first book is not, let along the other two.  Writing it was a process that helped me make a paradigm shift, not a project that was ever meant to be finished.  The story of publishing Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls is told on this page:  The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul Leap of Faith ~ Publishing The Dance

Chapter 21 – Uncover, Discover, Recover

BookCover3This is a chapter from my book  Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth

“Learning discernment is vital – not just in terms of the choices we make about who to trust, but also in terms of our perspective, our attitudes. 

The Dance

We learned about life as children and it is necessary to change the way we intellectually view life in order to stop being the victim of the old tapes.  By looking at, becoming conscious of, our attitudes, definitions, and perspectives, we can start discerning what works for us and what does not work.  We can then start making choices about whether our intellectual view of life is serving us – or if it is setting us up to be victims because we are expecting life to be something which it is not.” – Quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

I spoke in the Author’s Foreword to this book about how “We were set up to feel like failures in romantic relationships by the dysfunctional perspectives and expectations of love and romance we learned growing up.”  And as I mentioned while referring to the three blind men describing the elephant joke quote from my book at the beginning of the Author’s Foreword, in order to change our relationship with anything we need to change our perspective of it.  That means getting conscious of what perspectives we are reacting out of and starting to ask “Is my intellectual view of love and romance working for me?”

What is so important is to stop blaming your self – or the people you have been involved with – for the problems you have had in relationships.  You were truly set up – as were the people you were involved with.  It is not your fault!  You were brainwashed and conditioned to have an intellectual perspective of love and romance that is dysfunctional, that doesn’t work because it is based upon fairy tale thinking.  And it is vital to realize that the programming from your childhood is still in your subconscious dictating how you are reacting to life even if you have consciously discarded that thinking as an adult.

It is not your fault!!  That is a huge thing to realize.  That is great news!!  And you have the power to change it!  More great news!!!  You can change it by getting into codependency recovery / inner child healing, doing the the work I talk about on my website Joy2MeU.com and in my book: Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing.

There is nothing wrong with who we are – it is our relationship with our self and romance that got messed up in childhood.  We have the power to change that programming in order to change how we are relating to our self – this is really great news!

“Inner child work is in one way detective work.  We have a mystery to solve.  Why have I have I been attracted to the the type of people that I have been in relationship with in my life?  Why do I react in certain ways in certain situations?  Where did my behavior patterns come from?  Why do I sometimes feel so: helpless; lonely; desperate; scared; angry; suicidal; etc.

Just starting to ask these types of questions, is the first step in the healing process.  It is healthy to start wondering about the cause and effect dynamics in our life.

In our codependence, we reacted to life out of a black and white, right and wrong, belief paradigm that taught us that is was shameful and bad to be wrong, to make mistakes, to be imperfect – to be human.  We formed our core relationship with our self and with life in early childhood based on the messages we got, the emotional trauma we suffered, and the role modeling of the adults around us.  As we grew up, we built our relationship with self, other people, and life on the foundation we formed in early childhood.

When we were 5, we were already reacting to life out of the emotional trauma of earlier ages.  We adapted defenses to try to protect ourselves and to get our survival needs met.  The defenses adapted at 5 due to the trauma suffered at earlier ages led to further trauma when we were 7 that then caused us to adjust our defenses, that led to wounding at 9, etc., etc., etc.

Toxic shame is the belief that there is something inherently wrong with who we are, with our being.  Guilt is “I made a mistake, I did something wrong.”  Toxic shame is:  “I am a mistake. There is something wrong with me.”

It is very important to start awakening to the Truth that there is nothing inherently wrong with our being – it is our relationship with our self and with life that is dysfunctional.  And that relationship was formed in early childhood.

The way that one begins inner child healing is simply to become aware.

To become aware that the governing principle in life is cause and effect.

To become aware that our relationship with our self is dysfunctional.

To become aware that we have the power to change our relationship with our self.

To become aware that we were programmed with false beliefs about the purpose and nature of life in early childhood – and that we can change that programming.

To become aware that we have emotional wounds from childhood that it is possible to get in touch with and heal enough to stop them from dictating how we are living our life today.

That is the purpose of inner child healing – to stop letting our experiences of the past dictate how we respond to life today.  It cannot be done without revisiting our childhood.

We need to become aware, to raise our consciousness.  To create a new level of consciousness for ourselves that allows us to observe ourselves.

It is vitally important to start observing ourselves – our reactions, our feelings, our thoughts – from a detached witness place that is not shaming.

We all have an inner critic, a critical parent voice, that beats us up with shame, judgment, and fear.  The critical parent voice developed to try to control our emotions and our behaviors because we got the message there was something wrong with us and that our survival would be threatened if we did, said, or felt the “wrong” things.

It is vital to start learning how to not give power to that critical shaming voice.  We need to start observing ourselves with compassion.  This is almost impossible at the beginning of the inner child healing process – having compassion for our self, being Loving to our self, is the hardest thing for us to do.

So, we need to start observing ourselves from at least a more neutral perspective.  Become a scientific observer, a detective – the Sherlock Holmes of your own inner process as it were.

We need to start being that detective, observing ourselves and asking ourselves where that reaction / thought / feeling is coming from.  Why am I feeling this way?  What does this remind me of from my past?  How old do I feel right now?  How old did I act when that happened?” – Inner Child Healing – How to begin

Recognition, awareness, is the first step in healing.  Becoming aware is the beginning of getting to know our self – so that we can start getting honest with ourselves.   As long as we are reacting unconsciously out of old tapes and old wounds, we are not capable of seeing ourselves clearly – which means we can’t see other people clearly either.  As long as we are reacting to life out of toxic shame and the fear of being wrong – we are not capable of seeing our self with any compassion or objectivity.

Growing up in codependent cultures we learned that self worth was a competitive issue because we were taught to have ego strength through comparison – better grades than, prettier than, better athlete than, nicer person than, etc.  We don’t love our neighbor as our self because we did not get taught to love our self – and because we are comparing out self to our neighbor, trying to feel good about our self by feeling better than them.

We need to learn to stop buying into the dynamics of codependency – outer or external focus, competitive comparison, destination thinking, keeping up appearances, looking good (or at least not looking bad), worrying about what other people think of us, trying to avoid being wrong, trying to always be right. trying to overcome the shame of being an imperfect human being – in order to start understanding our self and why we have lived our life the way we have.  It is necessary to start learning how to have compassion for our self – and learn to accept that we are lovable and worthy – in order to become available to be loved.

We need to become – as I said in the quote from my inner child healing article above – the Sherlock Holmes of our own inner process so that we can start changing the programming – stop having perspectives and expectations of romance and love that are dysfunctional.  We need to start becoming more conscious and owning our power to change how we are relating to love and romance – change our relationship with our self, life, and other people into ones that work better to help us find some Joy and Love in life.

“The only way that we can be in recovery from codependency is to start changing the way we are looking at, and relating to, our self.   We have to get more conscious of what is going on inside of us in order to change how we are relating to our self – so that we can change the way we relate to life and other people.

In other words, we need to start taking responsibility for our own lives.  We need to start owning our power to change our relationship with self.   We need to start learning how to make choices instead of just react.  We can have the ability to respond – response ability – to life differently once we start becoming more conscious.

And the key to becoming more conscious is to start learning how to process what is going on in our lives in a way that will give us more clarity.

“The process of processing is a dynamic that in many ways is easier to demonstrate over time than it is to explain.  Explaining it on an intellectual level is complicated and difficult because the process itself involves being able to look at multiple levels.  The recovery process is spiritual, emotional, and mental.  These levels are separate but intimately interrelated.

In learning how to achieve some emotional balance in our lives, it is necessary to be able to look at our self, our own inner process, and the life dynamic itself, from different perspectives.  It is this looking at different levels that is the process of processing.  Processing is a matter of looking at, filtering, discerning, getting clear about what is happening at any given moment in our relationship with life, with ourselves, with everything that is stimulating us.” – The Recovery Process for inner child healing 1: Sharing my experience, strength, and hope

Consciousness involves being actively conscious of how different parts of us are reacting to whatever is happening in our lives at any particular moment.  I learned that I needed to observe / keep scanning / paying attention to / taking inventory of, what was happening in my internal dynamic and in my external environment continually in order to be on guard so that I wasn’t allowing the old tapes and wounds from the past to define and dictate my experience of life today.

“It is in relationship to learning how to set internal boundaries that the process of processing is so important.  Processing involves observing our own internal dynamic.  Observing our thoughts and feelings.  It is very important to raise our consciousness, to become more conscious, of our own process.

When we start observing our internal process then we can start discerning between the different levels involved – we can start separating out the codependent, dysfunctional messages from the information that is useful and informative.  Then we can start setting internal boundaries within the mental, between the mental and emotional, and within the emotional levels of our being.” – The Recovery Process for inner child healing 4 – the process of processing – internal boundaries

Codependency is not an issue we deal with and then get on with our lives.  Recovery is a way of life.  It is necessary to move through our life with consciousness in order to stop the childhood programming from running our lives.  The more we recover, the less power the old tapes and old wounds have – but they do not go away.

“It is through healing our inner child, our inner children, by grieving the wounds that we suffered, that we can change our behavior patterns and clear our emotional process.  We can release the grief with its pent-up rage, shame, terror, and pain from those feeling places which exist within us.

That does not mean that the wound will ever be completely healed.  There will always be a tender spot, a painful place within us due to the experiences that we have had.  What it does mean is that we can take the power away from those wounds.   By bringing them out of the darkness into the Light, by releasing the energy, we can heal them enough so that they do not have the power to dictate how we live our lives today.  We can heal them enough to change the quality of our lives dramatically.  We can heal them enough to Truly be happy, Joyous and free in the moment most of the time.”

In recovery we are developing a sense of balance, a feeling for what balance feels like, so that we can catch ourselves when we are swinging out of balance.  We are here to experience being human and to do this healing.  If we are not in recovery, then we can not be consciously present in the moment to enjoy our journey.  I did not title my book the “dance” of wounded souls just out of poetic whimsy – life is a dance.

“Emotional balance is not a destination.  It is a constantly changing dance.  In doing our reprogramming intellectually, and our emotional and Spiritual healing – we are changing the music of our dance.  We are choosing to have the opportunity to dance with Love and Joy, to dance in Light and Truth – instead of in darkness and disharmony.  In order to have the capacity to dance with Love and Joy, we must first be willing to dance with our anger and fear, with the pain and sadness.  Through owning our wounded inner children, we get to uncover and release the spontaneous, playful, Joyous Spiritual child within that is the one who will lead us home to LOVE.

Balance in dancing is about having a feeling for equilibrium, moving in harmony, adjusting, balancing, rebalancing.  Likewise our inner dance of finding balance is an ongoing process – ever changing, fluctuating, oscillating in tune with the vibrational rhythms.  Once we learn to have a sense of balance, a feeling for emotional clarity, then we are able to adjust and rebalance more quickly when some external (life event, other people’s behavior) or internal (wounded child reaction, old tape kicking in) stimuli throws us out of balance.” – The Recovery Process for inner child healing  4 – the process of processing – internal boundaries

The more conscious we become, the more we can relax and enjoy the journey.

“The healthier we get, the more emotional healing we do, the less extreme our emotional reaction / response spectrum grows.  The growth process works kind of like a pendulum swinging.  The less we buy into the toxic shame and judgment, the less extreme the swings of the pendulum become.  The arc of our emotional pendulum becomes gentler, and we can return to emotional balance much quicker and easier.  But we don’t get to stay in the balance position.  Life is always rocking our boat – setting our emotional pendulum to swinging.  By not taking life events and other peoples behavior so seriously and personally, by observing our process with some degree of detachment instead of getting so hooked into the trauma drama soap opera victimology that is a reaction to our childhood wounds, we learn to not give so much power over our emotions to outside influences and events.

I have choices today in regard to how I am relating to myself, to other people, to life.  I am able to accept the things I cannot change much more quickly, and change the primary thing which I have the power to change – that is, my attitude toward the things I cannot change – so that I do not get caught up in a victim perspective.  By not buying into the illusion that I am a victim – of myself, of other people, of life – my emotional swings stay on a much evener keel and I experience a much gentler emotional spectrum in my day to day relationship with life.” – Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 1

In my recovery I realized that about 90% of the stress in my life before codependency recovery was caused by the attitudes and beliefs I was empowering.  Once I got aware of how my perspectives and expectations (which were reactions to my childhood programming and emotional wounds and therefore something I was powerless over until I got conscious of them) were setting me up to be a victim, then I could start owning the power to change my emotional experience of life .  Then I could start to take responsibility for my life and eliminate the stress that I was creating in reaction to dysfunctional programming.” – Joy2MeU Update August 2002

As I have mentioned in the quote above, there are multiple levels and facets to the process of recovery.

“The individual human being is a fully contained system involving multiple interrelationships within multiple levels.  This is easy to see, and understand, when looking at the physical level.  The interrelationship of the organs to each other, to the blood, to the skin, to the nervous system, etc. – is a dance of grand, and compelling, complexity.

Just as grand, and compelling, is the complexity of the dance of interrelationship between the mental, emotional, and spiritual components/levels that dynamically interact to form the make up of the individual being – the persona, personality, consciousness, of the self.  The more awareness is acquired about the different levels of the self, and the interrelationships between those levels, the easier it becomes to diagnose the dysfunctional interaction dynamics.” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Author’s Foreword

One of the levels of codependency recovery is intellectual – becoming aware of the conscious and subconscious intellectual programming so that we can start changing the programming that is not working for us.  Another level is the emotional.  We have a dysfunctional relationship with our own emotions because grew up in emotionally dishonest, dysfunctional cultures.

“We were trained to be dishonest.  We also got taught to be emotionally dishonest.  We got told not to feel our feelings with messages like, don’t cry, don’t be afraid – at the same time we saw how our parents lived life out of fear.  We got messages that it was not okay to be too happy when our exuberance was embarrassing to our parents.  Many of us grew up in environments where it was not okay to be curious, or adventurous, or playful.  It was not okay to be a child.

In any society where:

emotional dishonesty is not just the standard but the goal (keep up appearances, don’t show vulnerability);

as children we learned that we had power over other people’s feelings (you make me angry, you hurt my feelings, etc.);

being emotional is considered negative (falling apart, loosing it, coming unglued, etc.);

gender stereotypes set twisted, unhealthy models for acceptable emotional behavior (real men don’t cry or get scared, it is not ladylike to get angry);

parents without healthy self esteem see their children as extensions of self that can be either assets or deficits in their own quest for self worth;

families are isolated from any true reality of community or tribal support;

shame, manipulation, verbal and emotional abuse are considered standard tools for behavior modification in a loving relationship;

long embedded societal attitudes support the belief that it is shameful to be human (make mistakes, not be perfect, to be selfish, etc.);

any human being is denigrated and held to be less worthy for any inherent characteristic (gender, race, looks, etc.);

results in a very emotionally unhealthy society.

We were set up to be codependent.  We were trained and programmed in childhood to be dishonest with ourselves and others.  We were taught false, dysfunctional concepts of success, romance, love, life.  We could not have lived our lives differently because there was no one to teach us how to be healthy.  We were doing the best we knew how with the tools, beliefs, and definitions we had – just as our parents were doing the best they knew how.

We have new tools now.  We have information and knowledge that was not available until recently.  We can change the way we live our lives.  It is important to stop shaming ourselves for living life the way we were programmed to live, in order to start learning how to live in a way that is more functional – in a way that works to help us have some peace and happiness in our lives.  The only way to be free of the past is to start seeing it more clearly – without shame and judgment – so that we can take advantage of this wonderful time of healing that has begun.

Codependency has been the human condition.  We now have the knowledge and power to change our relationship with ourselves.  That is how we can change the human condition.” – The Condition of Codependency

One of the reasons communication is so hard between people is because we were never taught how to understand our own internal communication.  We were taught to focus externally and to have a dysfunctional relationship with our own emotions.

“Emotions have two vitally important purposes for human beings.  Emotions are a form of communication.  Our feelings are one of the means by which we define ourselves.  The interaction of our intellect and our emotions determines how we relate to ourselves.

Our emotional energy is also the fuel that propels us down the pathways of our life journey.  E-motions are the orchestra that provide the music for our individual dances – that dictate the rhythmic flow and movement of our human dance.  Our feelings help us to define ourselves and then provide the combustible fuel that dictates the speed and direction of our motion – rather we are flowing with it or damming it up within ourselves.” – Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 2

All human beings feel the same basic emotions.   All human beings have the same basic emotional dynamics – and the same fundamental internal dynamics in terms of the interrelationship of the mental and emotional components of our beings.  Codependency can look very different on the outside – but the internal dynamics are the same.  I sometimes compare codependency to Baskin & Robins (an ice cream franchise that advertised that they had 64 flavors) saying, there may be 64 flavors but it is all still ice cream.  My codependence may look very different from yours on the outside, but the internal dynamics are basic and the same for all humans.

It is so important to learn to become more conscious of our own internal dynamics – and learn to intervene to set internal boundaries so that we don’t let the old tapes / programming cause us to shame and judge ourselves for being imperfect human beings.  If we don’t start stopping the shame and judgment internally, we will not ever be available to be in a relationship that is loving.

“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.”

I had to become more aware of my own internal process to start recognizing when I was reacting to old tapes and old wounds.  As long as I was not aware, then I was doomed to keep repeating my patterns of reacting to extremes – I was powerless.  By becoming more aware I could start owning the power to make choices – to be discerning – about what I allow to run my life, what attitudes and feelings I am allowing to define my self and my life experience.  Then I could start setting internal boundaries so that I could take power away from the old tapes and the old wounds.

“I needed to learn how to set boundaries within, both emotionally and mentally by integrating Spiritual Truth into my process. Because “I feel feel like a failure” does not mean that is the Truth. The Spiritual Truth is that “failure” is an opportunity for growth. I can set a boundary with my emotions by not buying into the illusion that what I am feeling is who I am. I can set a boundary intellectually by telling that part of my mind that is judging and shaming me to shut up, because that is my disease lying to me. I can feel and release the emotional pain energy at the same time I am telling myself the Truth by not buying into the shame and judgment.

If I am feeling like a “failure” and giving power to the “critical parent” voice within that is telling me that I am a failure – then I can get stuck in a very painful place where I am shaming myself for being me. In this dynamic I am being the victim of myself and also being my own perpetrator – and the next step is to rescue myself by using one of the old tools to go unconscious (food, alcohol, sex, etc.) Thus the disease has me running around in a squirrel cage of suffering and shame, a dance of pain, blame, and self-abuse.

By learning to set a boundary with and between our emotional truth, what we feel, and our mental perspective, what we believe – in alignment with the Spiritual Truth we have integrated into the process – we can honor and release the feelings without buying into the false beliefs.

The more we can learn intellectual discernment within, so that we are not giving power to false beliefs, the clearer we can become in seeing and accepting our own personal path. The more honest and balanced we become in our emotional process, the clearer we can become in following our own personal Truth.”

What we are doing in recovery is learning to live life by the rules that life actually works by – in alignment with metaphysical law – instead of the rules we learned as children which do not work at all.  Trying to do things “right” / perfect or find the “right” person to help us get to “happily-ever-after” doesn’t work.

“One of the reasons for the human dilemma, for the confusion that humans have felt about the meaning and purpose of life, is that more than one level of reality comes into play in the experience of being human.  Trying to apply the Truth of one level to the experience of another has caused humans to become very confused and twisted in our perspective of the human experience.  It is kind of like the difference between playing the one-dimensional chess that we are familiar with, and the three-dimensional chess played by the characters of Star Trek – they are two completely different games.

That is the human dilemma – we have been playing the game with the wrong set of rules.  With rules that do not work.  With rules that are dysfunctional.”Author’s Foreword from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

The rules we learned for romantic relationships are even more dysfunctional than the rules we learned for doing life in general.  It is vital to get more awareness so that we can practice discernment and own our power to change our relationship with self, with life, with other people – especially with another person in a romantic relationship.

The articles in this section of the book will hopefully help you in your understanding:  of how you were programmed and brainwashed with dysfunctional perspectives – and that you can change that programming;  of how you were taught to have a dysfunctional relationship with your own emotions so that you don’t know how to be emotionally honest and intimate with your self – let alone with another person;  of how to have a perspective of metaphysics that is balanced enough to help you be healthier in your relationships with your self and life now.  I will also be sharing how I was able to heal my fear of intimacy enough to go from having a relationship phobia to being in a successful relationship for many years now.  I hope you find this information helpful. – Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter 21 – Uncover, Discover, Recover  Consciousness / Awareness + Discernment can help us find balance

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Cover of book on romantic relationshipsI have special offers for Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth on this page. (which includes offers for my other books also.)

When you purchase Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth  Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com, Amazon.UK, or Barnes & Noble.

The Greatest Arena is also available as two ebooks (each only $9.95) eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior (the first 20 chapters of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon, on Amazon UK, on Barnes & Noble, or in Kobo format.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 2: Deeper Within (emotionally) & Further Out (metaphysically) From Fear of Intimacy to Twin Souls (chapters 21 through 40 of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and Amazon UK, on Barnes & Noble, or in Kobo format.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior now also available as an audio book on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

My Sobriety Date: January 3rd, 1984

On January 1st, 2020 I am updating and doing some editing to this blog post that I put together 2 years ago using excerpts from different places in my writing where I talk about getting sober.  On Friday January 3rd, 2020, I will be 36 years clean and sober.

“I feel that my life Truly began on January 3rd, 1984.  That was the day I entered a chemical dependency treatment center (aptly called the Independence Center) and started to learn how to live life clean and sober.  One of the reasons I was able to stay clean and sober was because I had a considerable amount of ego strength.  I had some strengths and talents that caused me to think that I was better than other people.  That ego strength was my defense against the shame I felt at the core of my relationship with myself.  I had a capacity for denial and rationalization that had helped me buy into the lie that other people were to blame for the failed wreckage my life had become.

I used that ego strength – and the false pride that told me I was better than other people – to help me stay sober.  One of the ways I did that was to make my sobriety date very important to me.  If I drank again, I would lose my sobriety date – and there was no way I wanted people who had less sobriety than me to get ahead of me.  My twisted, distorted codependent thinking allowed me to turn sobriety into some kind of race that I was winning over some people.

My ego strength helped me to stay sober in the beginning of my recovery.  It helped me to stay sober long enough to get into recovery from my codependency.  My recovery from codependency led me into starting to dismantle my ego defenses.  Breaking through my denial and rationalizations helped me to start getting emotionally honest with myself.  Emotional honesty forced me to start owning the incredible reservoirs of grief and rage I was carrying.  By the spring of 1988, my ego defenses had been weakened enough that the dam broke and my feelings started pouring forth.  That was when I got the gift of entering another treatment center where I started learning how to deal with that grief and rage.

In that treatment center in Tucson Arizona I met one of the people who was going to turn out to be a true angel on my path.  A person who would come to my rescue in the summer of 1988 after an unimaginable experience had revealed to me my Karmic mission in this lifetime.  He offered me the use of his cabin in Taos New Mexico.  It was in Taos that I started writing.

I later got to watch this “friend indeed” – whose name was also Robert – die because his codependency would not allow him to stay clean and sober.

“As a young child Robert got the message that he wasn’t lovable but that if he was successful enough and made enough money he might earn the right to be loved. He was successful and made lots of money but it did not work to convince him that he was good enough. 

My friend had no permission from himself to receive love. When I published my book I listed him among people who had touched my life on the Acknowledgments Page. When he saw his name listed there he cursed me (his generation, and mine, were taught to relate to other men that way, to say ‘I love you’ by calling each other names) and cried briefly (which he felt was very shameful) and then he drank. In his relationship with himself Robert was too shame-based to believe that he was lovable. 

I believe that the great majority of Alcoholics are born with a genetic, hereditary predisposition that is physiological. Environment does not cause Alcoholism. Robert was not an Alcoholic because he was shame-based – it was because of his shame that he could not stay sober. He had a blustery, ‘hail-fellow-well-met’, in your face kind of ego-strength that was very fragile. As soon as he got sober his ego defenses would fracture and the shame underneath would cause him to sabotage his sobriety. 

That doesn’t mean that people who can stay sober don’t have shame. Some of us just have more ego defenses that buries the shame deeper. That is good news in early sobriety because it helps one to stay sober. It can be bad news later on because it can cause us to resist growth and to not have the humility to be teachable.  The reason that I am alive today is because I was able to go to treatment for Codependence in my fifth year of recovery while working as a therapist in a treatment center. I had sworn that I would kill myself before I drank again and the feelings which were surfacing had me close to it when I went to Sierra Tucson. That was where I met Robert.” – The Death of an Alcoholic – codependency kills alcoholic

One of the cornerstone principles of the twelve step process is humility.  Humility is required for growth to occur.  On one level what humility means is to be teachable – to be open to growing and learning. ” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Chapter 6: ego strength and self worth 

Sacred Spiral

On January 2nd, 2018 I am putting this blog post together using excerpts from different places in my writing where I talk about getting sober.  Tomorrow I will be 34 years clean and sober.  An unbelievable miracle that I have achieved one day at a time – sometimes an hour at a time, sometimes 5 minutes at a time.  I have immense gratitude for the gift of sobriety – as I say in the quote above, I feel like my life began on January 3rd, 1984.

“When I first came to 12 step recovery I was appalled to think that I had to admit that I was powerless.  Then when they told me that I had a disease I was relieved to think that all those years of insane behavior were not my fault.  I still had problems with powerlessness and surrender however.  To surrender meant to be a loser in my mind.  What helped me was when someone told me that surrender didn’t mean I was a loser, it just meant that I was smart enough to join the winning side.

One thing I sometimes say in AA meetings is that I was a ‘Frank Sinatra’ type of alcoholic.  I used to sit in bars and get teary eyed when they played My Way – because I was doing it ‘my way,’ I thought.  One of the first things I had to surrender to, was realizing that my way wasn’t working very good.  One of the next things I had to surrender was my subconscious belief that it was not possible to live life without drugs and alcohol.” – The Miracle of The Twelve Step Recovery Process: The first three steps

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“Twelve step recovery is a program of empowerment.  Many people erroneously assume that the fact that first step involves admitting powerlessness means that 12 step recovery disempowers people. The Truth is exactly the opposite.

It was only when I admitted that I was powerless to control my drinking that I gained the power to stop drinking.  As long as I was trying to control my drinking out of ego and will power, I was powerless to stop drinking alcoholically.  It was when I opened up to getting help from a power greater than myself that I gained the power to transform my life.  (There are some people – alcoholics – who can stop drinking using will power.  They are what is referred to in the program as dry drunks.  They are some of the most miserable, resentful, angry people on the face of the planet – because they have no spiritual belief system that is Loving.)

In the beginning for me, that power greater than myself was just the group – the people I met at AA meetings.  Those people shared their stories, their thoughts and feelings, in a way that I identified with.  Previously I had thought I was the only one who thought those kind of insane thoughts and had those kind of feelings of utter despair and hopelessness.  When I first got to AA, I realized that I was not alone – I felt a connection to these people, felt a part of something larger than myself.

I however, had a real problem with the talk of God that I heard at meetings.  I was raised in a shaming religion that taught me I was born sinful and shameful.  I was emotionally and spiritually abused as a young child by being taught that God loved me but might send me to burn in eternal damnation in hell.  I was taught that being human was shameful and sinful. (In one of my articles in my series on sexuality, gender, and relationships, I explained that it is not necessary for a person to be raised in a shaming religion to get the message that it is shameful to be human: Sexuality Abuse – the legacy of shame based culture.)

So, I had a real problem with even using the word God.  And this was not just because of my personal experience, but also because of what I had learned about the history of the planet.  I saw that throughout history “God” had been used as an justification for genocide, torture, plunder, and rape.  I saw that a civilization based upon the “command” to go forth to subdue and conquer, not only destroyed peoples and cultures that were much kinder and more Loving than the conquerors – but was an integral part of going a long way towards destroying the planet we live on.

In my younger days I had been involved in activism with Native Americans – whom I could clearly see had been victimized by subdue, conquer, and slaughter mentality of the dominant culture.  I found much beauty and harmony in the respect for nature and natural laws that was involved in the Native American concept a Higher Power – The Great Spirit.  In the beginning of my book, I state some reasons that I wrote it – which included the following sentence. 

“This is my way of standing up for my Truth, and of honoring “All My Relations,” which is a Native American term that refers to the Great Spirit whose essence is present in everyone and everything.  We are all related to everyone and everything.”

(Quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)

If I had been told in January 1984, at the beginning of my recovery from alcoholism, that the only way I could quit killing myself with alcohol was to accept the standard version of “God” – I would never have gotten sober.  I would have been dead long ago.  But what I was told, was that I needed to find a concept of a Higher Power that worked for me – a Higher Power of my own understanding.   That was what saved my life – the revolutionary concept that I could develop my own idea of a Higher Power, and develop a personal relationship with that Higher Power that did not have to conform to what anyone else believed.

So, in the beginning of my recovery, I allowed the fact that people in meetings – whom I identified with – seemed to have found a way to live life that worked for them, to help me stay sober one day at a time.  I used the group as a power greater than myself, while I worked on trying to find a concept of a Higher Power that would work for me.

In those early days, I would call that Higher Power:  The Great Spirit – or The Force.  I remembered clearly that when the Star Wars movies first came out, I strongly resonated with the idea that “The Force is with you.”

It was when I was about 3 months sober that a book came into my life that altered my life, and my perspective of a Higher Power, immeasurably.  The miracle of the “coincidence” of discovering that book – a book that reached out and grabbed my attention from the paperback rack in a grocery store – is something that still reduces me to tears of Joy and Gratitude 20 years later.  I quoted that book several times in my book – and in this article I am going to use a quote from an online book I wrote that includes a quote from my book within it.  That online book is the one that I wrote about the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. . . . .

“One of the first things I was guided to, when I was only about 3 months sober, was a mind boggling, paradigm smashing book called Illusions by Richard Bach.  It presented me with concepts that it took me years to understand intellectually.  But I knew instantly that the book was full of Truth.

In order to become aligned with Truth so that we can stop the war within and change life into an easier, more enjoyable experience, it is vitally important to become clear in our emotional process and to change the reversed attitudes that we had to adopt to survive.  Those reversed attitudes are what cause our dysfunctional perspectives – which in turn, have caused us to have a lousy relationship with life. 

I am going to quote from a book now, and again a little later, that is my own personal favorite book of Truth.  I feel a great deal of Truth in this book.  It has guided me and helped me to remember my Truth and to become conscious of my path.  It was a very important part of my personal process of enlarging my perspective – of being able to see this life business in a larger context. 

It is a book called Illusions by Richard Bach.  This is one of my favorite quotations from that book. 

The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. 

What a caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.

The “depth of your belief” is about perspective.  If we are reacting to life emotionally out of the belief systems we had imposed on us as children we will then see change as tragedy and feel that being forced to grow is shameful.  As we change our attitudes toward this life experience, when we can start viewing it as a process, a journey, then we can begin to see that what we used to perceive as problems are really opportunities for growth.  Then we can begin to realize that even though our experiences in childhood have caused to think of ourselves as, and feel like, lowly caterpillars – we are in Truth butterflies who are meant to fly. 

We are all butterflies.  We are all Spiritual Beings.

I used to use the caterpillar – butterfly quote a lot when I spoke.  I would usually say something like “a measure of your Spiritual Awakening” instead of “mark of your ignorance” in order to soften it a bit.  We codependents are such experts in beating ourselves up and shaming ourselves, that we tend to see the word ignorance as being something that is our fault.  In fact, the word ignorance refers to a lack of knowledge, of not being informed.  The reason we didn’t know how to set boundaries, or have healthy relationships, was because of ignorance caused by not having anyone to teach us – no healthy role models, no resources for learning how to be healthy.  We not only did not have resources to teach us how to relate to life and other people in a healthy way – we were taught the very opposite of healthy behavior in most cases.” – Attack on America – A Spiritual Healing Perspective

The caterpillar and butterfly quote was incredibly powerful to me.  I saw quitting drinking as a great tragedy – as the end of life as I knew it.  And gratefully it was the end of life as I knew it, and the beginning of life as an adventure in learning to Love.

It was the concept that I could develop a belief in a Higher Power of my own understanding that helped to empower me to realize that I had a choice in the beliefs and definitions about “God” that I was allowing to dictate my relationship with life.  It was this revolutionary concept that started me on the path to realizing that I was Lovable – that I could reconnect with, and access, an Unconditionally Loving Universal Force in a way that would help me remember that I am a beautiful butterfly that can Fly.” – A Higher Power of my own understanding 2 – the beginning of empowerment

Sacred Spiral

“I am what researchers are now calling a “Type A” alcoholic.  That means that my genetic predisposition to alcoholism was so strong that the only way I could have avoided being an alcoholic was to never have taken a drink.  I got drunk the very first time that I had the opportunity to get drunk.  I also had a blackout the first time I got drunk.  A black out is when someone loses consciousness even though they are still walking and talking and appearing to be somewhat normal.  There is a gap in the memory (What did I do last night?) because of the effect of the alcohol on the brain.  I would wake up the next day not remembering anything after a certain point in time.  I wouldn’t know how I had gotten home, where my car was parked, and sometimes I wouldn’t know who I was with.  I had blackouts – with increasing regularity – starting with the first time I got drunk and continuing for the 17 years that I drank.

Alcohol saved my life.  I think that I would have killed myself if I had not discovered alcohol.  I was so terrified of life and people and felt so inadequate to cope with life.  Alcohol (and later drugs of various types) gave me permission to be human – which the environment I grew up in had not.  With alcohol I could loosen up and interact with other people.

At the end of my drinking days – which had been hell for a number of years – the Universe led me through many applications of the Cosmic stick to go home to Nebraska for the Holidays in December of 1983.  While there my parents – who had learned about alcoholism because a cousin of mine had gotten sober – did an intervention on me.  They asked me to go into a 30 day treatment program.

I can remember sitting with them in the office of the person who did the intake evaluations and feeling completely trapped.  By this time I had no money and no car, and I had been counting on them to be good enablers and loan me the money to get me going again.  The thing that really got me though was when my father said to the intake person “We want to get help for him because we love him a lot.”

I had never before heard my father use the term love in reference to me.  [He still to this day has never been able to tell me that he loves me. (My father died in May 2005.  On his death bed I told him I loved him – and the best he could say in return was “Same here.”)]  I can remember thinking at that moment, “Oh crap, now I have to do this.”  As if his using the word love was some sort of currency that obligated me to do whatever he wanted.

So I went into a treatment program in Lincoln Nebraska.  For the first two weeks I really resisted being there.  I thought the people were weird and I certainly didn’t need any of this religious God crap that they were talking about.  I called friends back in LA and complained about how I was locked in this horrible place.  (No doors were locked.)

The turning point came for me when some druggy friends back in LA offered to buy me a plane ticket back to the coast.  That was the point where I had to admit to myself that I had a choice.  I had spent my whole life being the victim because I didn’t believe I had choices – now I had a choice.

So I had to take a good look at myself and my life and see if I wanted to return to the way I had been living.  When I looked at how messed up –

(God, what an understatement.  As I wrote that last sentence, I started crying remembering what a hell I had been living in.  At some point in treatment I realized that the song that described what my life had been like was Desperado – “Your prison is walking through life all alone.”  “You’d better get down off you fence and let someone love you before it is too late.”  After I got sober I swore to myself that I would kill myself before I would ever take another drink.)

When I took a realistic view of what hell my life had been, I had to admit to myself that I didn’t ever want to live that way again.  So I turned down the plane ticket and surrendered to trying to learn the things that those weird people were trying to teach me.” – The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul The Awakening Begins in the Joy2MeU Journal

Sacred Spiral

“12/24/11 ~ As my 28th sobriety birthday approaches in 10 days or so, I have been reflecting back on what an incredible miracle my life has been since January 3rd, 1984.  This page was originally just an article in a series of articles on “A Higher Power of my own understanding” – an article in which I talk about how the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life.  Two years ago, on my 26th sobriety birthday I added some quotes below the article from some of my writing in which I talk about my drinking and early sobriety.  This year it was very appropriate for reasons that shall be obvious, that I share something I have shared in AA meetings on many occasions – including I am sure in many of my birthday meetings – but I don’t think I have ever written about.  (It possible I have, since I have written so much – but oh well.)

When I first got sober in a 30 day treatment program in Lincoln Nebraska, I got very afraid as it came time to leave treatment.  I felt like I had been in a safe haven for almost 30 days, and I wasn’t sure how I would fare back out in the world again.  (This was when I learned a very important lesson about working the third step when I went to see my counselor right before I was to get out.)

I couldn’t conceive of staying clean and sober for a year.  I couldn’t remember the last time I had gone for more than 3 days without something – drugs or alcohol – to take the edge off.  The one exception to that was one time about 2 years before I got sober when I quit drinking for 30 days to see if I wanted to die as much when I wasn’t drinking as when I was.  It wasn’t much of a test however, as I was still smoking some dope occasionally – plus I was starring in a play and having an affair with a married woman who was in the play with me, so had plenty of distractions to help me in my dry period.  At the cast party for the play I had a beer and just kind of forgot about ever thinking that drinking was a problem.  I was back to drinking alone to black out within a couple of weeks after that.

Anyway, I couldn’t imagine a year sober – and at the same time, I saw people who made it to a year and then drank again.  I was afraid of making it a goal to get to a year – because it was such a long time away, and also because I didn’t want to set myself up to feel like if I got there I had it made.  So, I decided to make my goal to reach 100 days – which was an impossibly long period for me at that point.  And then once I got to 100 days, I made my next goal 1000 days.  I would mention when I took my birthday cake after I reached 1000 days that my next goal was 10,000 days.  It seemed like an unfathomably distant goal.  Well, some time this year – in May I think – I passed 10,000 days clean and sober.  Mind boggling!  Talk about a miracle!!

As you can see from the comments I added two years ago after the article – I am Truly a miracle.  Among those comments below above is a quote from an article in my Joy2MeU Journal entitled: The Awakening Begins.  I decided to add an excerpt from the next article in that series – entitled: The Emotional Awakening Begins – to this page to commemorate my 28th sobriety anniversary and to be reminded of how far I have come since 1984.

“When I first came to recovery I knew a lot about emotions and had almost no permission to feel them personally.  I had no permission to feel them personally because my emotional programming from the role modeling of my parents in childhood taught me that men have only one emotion – anger – and that it wasn’t OK to be angry at women – since my mother’s definition of love included the belief that you can’t be angry at someone you love, meaning it was not OK for me to be angry at her.  My emotional palette, in terms of my personal unconscious relationship with my emotions, consisted of one color – anger – that was only truly acceptable to feel towards men.  Consciously, in my personal view of my self, I believed I was a very emotional person with a full palette.

I also knew quite a lot about emotions because I had spent many years in Hollywood pursuing an acting career.  I understood the human emotional process enough to see clearly that all humans had the same basic emotions – no matter how different their outside circumstances, or the details of their stories may have been.  When I had the right role I could play an audience like a emotional musical instrument. 

In retrospect, I believe that my acting was one of the reasons I was still alive.  I got much needed emotional release through the characters I played.  It was the type of emotional release that did not do anything for me personally in terms of healing (it is very important to own our feelings, crying for someone else is emotionally dishonest – the reason someone else’s pain affects us is because it triggers our own) – it just allowed me to vent some emotional energy, which kept me from exploding or imploding.  (The other major reason that I was still alive is that I had alcohol and drugs to help me keep the pain at bay.  Without alcohol I do think I would have killed myself before I was 21 because I was so emotionally isolated and had so much pain and rage stuffed inside – in fact I made a bet with a friend my freshman year in college that I wouldn’t live to graduate, the bet was a case of beer.)

Whenever I started working on a new character, the first thing I would try to decide was what the characters ‘gut level fears’ were.  I would pontificate to other actors about how people were driven by their gut level fears – and feel very proud of my ability to create real living breathing character studies based on my methods.  (I specialized in very intense characters who were very wounded – alcoholics, addicts, loners, crazy people, etc. – like “duh” I wonder why.  I even once for an on camera personalization exercise did Hamlet’s soliloquy ‘To be or not to be’ where he is contemplating suicide, using a drink instead of a dagger as the prop.  My acting teacher was convinced I was suicidal – I thought it just showed how brilliant I was that I was able to ‘act’ suicidal.  Denial is an amazing thing!)

So, my focus as an actor was on what fears drove my characters – but I personally had no fear.  When I first went into the Chemical Dependence Treatment Center where I got sober I heard people at meetings or in lectures mention being afraid.  I have a very clear memory of sitting in one of my first AA meetings where someone talked about being afraid and thinking “Who are these people!  So afraid.  I’ve never been afraid – they stuck guns in my face and I wasn’t afraid.  These people are wimps!”

I had no permission in my subconscious programming, in the definition of what I learned men feel from my male role model, to have fear.  I was incapable of consciously acknowledging fear in my personal process because it was unacceptable.

My self image on a conscious level was of being Mr. Nice Guy.  I would do anything for you, and I was always pleasant and entertaining.  My self image on an emotional level – my protective armor that I wore unconsciously – was of the ‘man in black.’ The strong quiet type that you didn’t want to mess with because you could see in my eyes that messing with me would be very unpleasant.  (This was a defense I developed when I was being a revolutionary and carrying a gun – I was in some pretty hairy situations and the defense served to keep me alive.)  I had a force field that I put up around myself to protect myself.  I knew how to put off vibes that said very clearly ‘stay away.’

One of the important breakthroughs I had during my 30 days in treatment came in my third week there.  My counselor was not sure how to handle me because of my intensity and the fact – which, since it was where I derived much of my ego strength, I made very clear – that I was a ‘Hollywood Actor.’ (The treatment center was in Nebraska – a long way from Hollywood.)  So, in consultation with the other counselors they decided to keep me off balance by switching me between therapy groups – and giving each of the male counselors a shot at me. 

There were three primary groups for men and usually a person was in one group the whole time they were in treatment.  In my third week, I showed up for group and was told that I had to go to a different group.  They refused to tell me why this was happening.  In about the middle of the week, I was in a group where for the first time I got to experience a full-on mirroring of myself.  The previous week in my primary group I had been confronted about putting up a barrier to scare people away – and I had responded by denying it and tearfully saying how I loved people and would never try to scare them away.  Well, in that other group I got to sit and watch another man get confronted about the same thing and deny it just as I had done – and I saw myself in him so clearly that I had to immediately point out that I could see he was not being honest because watching him I realized that I had not been honest.

At the end of this week of switching back and forth between the three groups, I was in a group with a grizzled old counselor who had been around for many years.  He asked me if I had learned anything from all the switching around and then sat and listened patiently while I expounded on all that I had learned. 

    When I was done, he asked quietly and quizzically “And you didn’t know why we were doing that, did you?”

    “No,” I said “I had no idea.”

    Then he sweetly smiled and drove home the point, “Well, maybe it is not important for you to know why something is happening then.”

    Shot the heck out of some of my control issues right there.

This treatment center worked with what was called the ‘Minnesota model’ in dealing with emotional issues.  What that meant was that they identified 6 primary feelings and forced us patients to identify our feelings only using those words.   The 6 were mad, sad, glad, hurt, afraid, ashamed.  That drove me crazy.  One of the defenses that I used to distance myself from my feelings was not naming them.  They forced me to start naming my feelings.  I couldn’t say “I was confused,” or “irritated” or “apprehensive” or “annoyed” etc.  I had to name a feeling.  It really drove me crazy since I did not know on a personal level what feelings really were, let alone what I was feeling.

I was forced to start trying to figure out what I was feeling – and to stop being in my head all of the time.  One of my primary defenses against feeling my feelings was to be in my head.  In my early recovery I had to start paying attention to what was happening in my body from the neck down – because that is where emotions manifest.

Since I was so out of touch with my feelings, I had to come up with clues for myself.  Things that I could notice that would be a clue to me that feelings were going on.

By the time I got done with the 30 day program I was really in touch with my fear.  I realized that rather than never having been afraid – the truth was that I had been afraid of everybody and everything since I was a kid.  I was absolutely terrified of leaving the treatment center because I was so scared that I would drink again.  I could see clearly what a hell my life had been and I did not ever want to go back to living the way I had been.  I swore to myself that I would kill myself before I took another drink.

So wanting a drink became my most important early clue to tell me that I had some feelings going on that I needed to deal with.  When I caught myself, while watching TV, really watching the beer commercials, I would have to stop and say, “whoa, that beer really looks good – I must be feeling something.”  Or when I was driving down the street and noticing every cocktail sign and liquor billboard –  that would be a clue that I needed to do a little emotional inventory.

One of the classic moments came because of a friend who was a musician.  He was having trouble staying sober while he was playing – so a few of us would go to an AA meeting on Friday or Saturday night and then go to whatever Lounge he was playing at.  It was a very good opportunity for me to be around drinking with a bunch of safe people and get used to not drinking in a social setting.  But there was one night when I realized that I had some feelings going on that made it unsafe for me to be in a bar.  My clue came when I started tearing up while my friend played what to me was a very sad ballad.  It was real progress for me to recognize that I was emotionally vulnerable and needed to get out of there.  Pretty funny in retrospect.  The sad ballad was “Jose Cuervo, he was a good friend of mine.””  – The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul The Emotional Awakening Begins in the Joy2MeU Journal

A very valuable lesson – I don’t have to know why something is happening in order to accept that it is part of the Divine Plan somehow.  Things often haven’t gone the way I wanted them in the last 28 years – and over and over again I have been grateful when I looked back and saw the perfection of my Higher Power’s plan for me. (Something I talked about in the comments I added to my working the third step page (next excerpt) in commemoration of this birthday.)  Onward and upward for the next 10,000 days.  Happy Birthday to me!!!!!!!!”  – Joy to You & Me and Joy2MeU Update February 2012

Sacred Spiral

“I celebrated my 17th sobriety birthday on January 3rd.  17 years is pretty much incomprehensible for someone who couldn’t go for 3 days without a drink or a drug.  It doesn’t seem like it went fast though – rather it seems like I have lived 7 or 8 lifetimes since 1984.  It is important for me to remember where I came from, and how far the Spirit has lead me on this journey.  As they say, the qualities of my problems has greatly improved. 😉

It is especially important for me to remember that right now, because I have been going through one of those difficult times in recovery.  There are times when everything is flowing fast and furious, with miracles popping up every time I turn around.  Then there are other times when it seems dark and murky – like I am trying to move through quick sand and not making any progress.

When I am in one of the difficult times, it is so important to observe myself so that I can catch myself when I start going into shame and judgment.  This disease is so insidious and powerful.  It puts up huge resistance to change and then turns around and tells me that I am not changing fast enough – that I am not doing enough, not doing it “right.”

As I say many times on my web site, the challenge for us is to have compassion for ourselves, and to accept wherever we are at as being a perfect part of the process, rather than punishment for being bad.  My critical parent voice wants to beat up on that wounded little boy in me whose father raged at him, who couldn’t protect his mother, and who was taught that god was judgmental and punishing.

I have to call on the defense attorney within to stand up to the prosecuting critical parent and the judge who wants to sentence me to suffering.  Sometimes it is easier than others.  Sometimes it is important just to accept that I am feeling overwhelmed, alone, and worn out – and to let myself indulge a little.  A few days ago, I let myself just kind of wallow in the part of me that feels like a wounded animal who wants to crawl into my cave and lick my wounds.

Accepting and embracing that part of me for a few hours – allowing myself to crawl into bed with a book and some chocolate – allows me to get through it and come out on the other side in a way that fighting it never does.  The disease wants to tell me that when I am feeling bad it will last forever.  That is a lie.  Accepting where I am at without shame and judgment and reminding myself that this too shall pass is an important part of maintaining some sense of balance today.

I think part of what I have been going through is a planetary thing – the process has cycles and this seems to be a murky one.  Part of it is the changes I am making in my life that I spoke about in my last newsletter.  Being in transition is always a difficult time.  I sometimes think about how it must feel to be a caterpillar in the cocoon – being torn apart and put back together as a butterfly.  That is kind of what happens in recovery – except we get to be conscious of the tearing apart process in a way that I am sure caterpillars are not.  A dubious gift if you ask me.

I also, have just gotten aware in the last couple of days that I may have had some denial going over the holidays.  I thought I had sailed through the holidays without hitting any of those pot holes of grief over being alone – the pot holes that used to be huge abysses (is that a word?).  I even congratulated myself on how I had succeeded in taking all of the emotional charge out the holidays – when I used to really feel lonely and have great sadness over being alone.

It seems I may have some of that grief and loneliness after all.  It is natural in my process that, sometimes when I am consciously choosing to focus on the part of the glass that is full, I overshoot a little and indulge in a little denial about the part that is still empty.  Oh well.  Got caught being human again.” – Joy to You & Me and Joy2MeU Update January 2001  
Sacred Spiral “On January 3, 2002 I will celebrate 18 years of being clean and sober.  I have actually been clean and sober now for longer than I drank and used.  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 on my page 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.” – Co-Creation: Owning your Power to Manifest Love

I have often said that Gratitude is not nearly a big enough word to describe how grateful I am and how blessed I feel to be in recovery.   January 3rd 2018 2020  is my 34th 36th sobriety birthday and I am profoundly, deeply, everlastingly grateful for the gift of recovery in my life.

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

Sacred Spiral

1-1-2020: I have a page with special offers for this Holiday Season if anyone is interested.  And also wanted to mention my Mobile Friendly site that I launched in June 2018.

Joy2MeU Journal Logo

There are probably 5 or 6 million words in the two subscription areas of my site that I quote from in this entry.  I have a page with special offers on lifetimes subscriptions to those password protected areas: Dancing in Light and the Joy2MeU Journal.  Millions of words of content not available on Joy2MeU.

Codependency book-Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert BurneyIt is possible to get personally autographed copies of my books from my website Joy2MeU  or You can get my Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon,  Books or eBooks through Barnes & Noble, or eBooks through Kobo.

x-illGrateful acknowledgment is made for permission to quote from: Illusions  “The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” by Richard Bach.  Copyright 1977 by Creature Enterprises, Inc.   Reprinted in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney by permission of Bantam Doubleday Dell, New York, NY.

“I am inserting a note here for anyone who feels offended by what they see as a violation of the Eleventh Tradition of AA’s Twelve Traditions.  The 11th Tradition of AA is:

Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.

I routinely break my own anonymity in regard to the fact that I am a recovering alcoholic / addict and codependent because I do not believe I would be alive today if Betty Ford had not broken her anonymity in the late 1970s and brought the subject of alcoholism out of the closet into public view.  She is one of the people I dedicated my book to because I believe that I personally owe her a debt of gratitude for her courage and honesty.  Breaking my own anonymity is one way that I carry the message of hope that saved my life.  Anyone whose black and white thinking is causing them to rigidly interpret the Twelve Steps and Traditions enough to be offended, desperately needs to get into codependency recovery in my opinion.” – Robert Burney 2/10/04