I thought if I played by the rules and did everything the way THEY said I should like a good little Catholic girl, I’d feel safe. I’d grow up, get married and have lots of kids like my Mom and live happily ever after.

Why would I even think that since Mom wasn’t living happily ever after?

I swore I would never marry a guy like Daddy – a raging alcoholic. But I did.

Just like my Mom had done with Dad I took codependent behaviors such as taking charge of caring for my husband and became really good at it. I could talk him out of a bar fight, get his car keys while explaining to his friends it must be the medication he’s on. And then the next morning I’d call his boss and explain that he has the flu -- for the 3rd time this month.

I thought he would stop drinking if I could just love him enough. When that didn’t work, I divorced him a married another alcoholic just like him. But this one had been to rehab, so he was cured, right??

In the 80’s we actually thought rehab was the cure.
I went through many rehabs with my two husbands. I learned my part in this craziness and that I was codependent. I learned that a codependent constantly tries to please others. They feel safer giving than receiving. Their happiness depends on whether their husband, boss or even their children are happy with them.

Sounds miserable, doesn’t it?

It is. But I want to celebrate all the good things about codependents! We are loyal and make really great friends. Who else would be there in the middle of the night if you needed them? All of MY friends are codependents.

We are the best employees. We are over achievers and maybe even workaholics. We work for reasons other than the money. One of which is gaining self-esteem.

We are great at solving problems so we make great leaders. We are creative, always trying new solutions to problems. We have unlimited energy. Others may fold, but not us.

We try to control everything to the point of obsession, but we do persevere. We are givers, to the point of exhaustion sometimes but we definitely give.

And don’t forget what wonderful diplomats we can be. I’m sure you were able to talk your alcoholic out of the car keys a time or two.

So let’s appreciate us codependents for all the good things we do.

The downside to all of these wonderful traits is we have to live with ourselves. After all, being perfect and pleasing everyone is exhausting.

We were just doing what THEY said:

• It is better to give than receive. (We don’t even receive compliments well).

• Love your neighbor as yourself. (If only we treated ourselves as well as we treat others.

• The meek shall inherit the earth. (This made me a subservient doormat and what would I do if I did inherit the earth?)

• To whom much is given, much is expected. (I was smart and had lots of energy. Shouldn’t I take care of the less fortunate, like my idiot husbands?)

But there is help for us. Learning to let go is not easy, but it is the key. Stepping back and making others responsible for themselves? What if he loses his job, crashes the car or ends up in jail? Are you ever really able to control all of that anyway?

Can you control what he does every day at his job? Can you rescue the car keys from him every time he chooses to drive drunk? If he gets in a wreck or ends up in jail maybe that will be the rock bottom he needs to finally wake up.
So give yourself a break.

With all the free time you will have when you give up taking care of everyone and everything. What will you do? Wouldn’t that be fun to figure out?

© Copyright 2014

Author's Bio: 

Mary DeYon is a well-respected author, speaker, radio host and mentor to women who are in a relationship with an alcoholic or addict and are ready to regain their power and take back control of their lives.

Claim your FREE Digital Book "3 Secrets to Feeling Happier Every Day Even in the Midst of Chaos" at http://www.MaryDeYon.com