Attaching ourselves to the emotional state of some one else prevents peace of mind. . .

I was at an Al-Anon meeting at noon today and even though the subject being discussed wasn’t specifically “attachment,” it did come up.  Letting the behavior of others, their moods, their actions, their opinions and comments control how we feel in the moment is common to us “codependents.”  I still remember the first time I heard the term “codependent” and at the time I was in so much denial about my own codependency, that I didn’t recognize how clearly the syndrome described me.

I didn’t want to be that person so I insisted I wasn’t.  However, since childhood, what ever any one else said or did tipped the already precarious balance of my life.  I went from happiness to confusion to sadness or anger in a nano second.  It wasn’t until my thirties that I saw my behavior described in a book I was reading, but I was not capable of shifting how I saw the world around me. Not yet.  But then in 1974 I was introduced to Al-Anon and the shift in my perception was initiated. It wasn’t a full-blown shift.  It happened in stages, but the beginning was underway.

Now many years later I marvel at the changes in my life.  Whenever there is a newcomer at a meeting we usually tell him or her a bit about “what it had been like for us, what happened and then what it is like now.”  It’s such a good reminder to each of us that change is possible.  Guaranteed, in fact.  I came into the rooms of Al-Anon and then AA terrified, certain that the subtle nuances of the program could never be understood.  I was also doubly certain that I’d never be able to “detach” from the behavior of others, whether they were drinking or not.

It had never been the drinking behavior of others that had upset me so much but the fact that they didn’t put me in the center of their lives.  I simply couldn’t rest easily if some one I was obsessed with wasn’t also obsessed with me.  It’s embarrassing to admit this.  Even more embarrassing to write it for all to read, but I want to provide a measuring stick for myself, one that might help you to measure your health and wholeness too.

Not having any one at the center of my life is freedom.  Not being at the center of some one else’s is another level of freedom.  Having a life of one’s own is why we are alive.  We each have a specific “job” to perform.  Our “jobs” may complement one another but they can’t substitute for one another.  Isn’t that a wonderful tapestry we are weaving.

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