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Codependent No More - Book Study: Chap. 12 - Learn the Art of Acceptance

Old 04-03-2010, 09:08 AM
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Arrow Codependent No More - Book Study: Chap. 12 - Learn the Art of Acceptance

Link to Previous Chapters: http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...ml#post2556525

Codependent No More:

How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself


By Melodie Beattie


Book Study

CHAPTER 12 - Learn the Art of Acceptance


Chapter 13 will go up Tuesday Morning
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:09 AM
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Synopsis:

This chapter asks us to accept reality. Acceptance will ultimately lead to our peace.As codependents, she explains, we never know what to expect from the alcoholics in our lives. We have unexpected issues/problems hurled at us frequently. We lose ourselves and often respect for both ourselves and those we love. She quotes the following from the booklet A Guide for the Family of the Alcoholic: "Love cannot exist without the dimension of justice. Love must also have compassion which means to bear with or to suffer with a person. Compassion does not mean to suffer because of the injustice of a person. Yet injustice is often suffered repeatedly by family of alcoholics".

As codependents, the loss of our dreams and expectations for the future is what tends to hurt the most. Our plans did not include any of this. There's nothing we can seemingly do or say to lessen this pain. "Nothing dies more slower of more painfully than a dream". So, we need to accept reality to get past and move on. Which is hard for us because our lives evolve around lies, lies others tell us and lies we tell ourselves.

Accepting reality does not mean to adapt to it. It's not meant for us to wallow in sorrow over the truth of our lives. It means seeing our current circumstances for how they really are. After we do this, we can properly asses, evaluate, and implement change. Just as Alcoholics need to accept powerlessness over alcohol. "We cannot change who we are until we accept ourselves the way we are".

She goes on to explain that we have to accept circumstances before our Higher Power can be listened to. Our Higher Power needs us to accept what he/it has already given us. Our acceptance must be sincere. So, how do we go about lifting the veil from our eyes? One way is to look at the five stages of death - Or, the grief process:

Stage 1: Denial - Denial is a protective measure. It comes first. Described as a state of shock, numbness, and panic. We refuse to see reality or the importance of a loss (of our dreams). Melodie believes this is the stage where we act out on most of our codependent issues such as obsession, controlling, repressing our feelings. Denial is much like sleeping we are not aware of our actions.

Stage 2: Anger - When we stop denying our loss, we then get angry. Our anger may be justified, or not. We may irrationally vent our anger at everyone around us. We need to be careful to avoid major confrontations in this stage. We want to take the reigns and force others to remove their masks and face the truth. - This is destructive. She quoted John Powell from Why am I afraid to tell you who I am? " He cannot live with some realization. In one way or another, he keeps his psychological pieces intact by some form of self-deception... If the psychological pieces become unglued, who will pick them up and put poor Humpty Dumpty back together again?" We'll need to get professional help if we plan an intervention, she says.

Stage 3: Bargaining - After we calm, we begin to barter with ourselves, God (or HP), or another person. We need to look at this phase carefully as some barters are reasonable and productive while others are absurd.

Stage 4: Depression - When bargaining doesn't work, we find ourselves exhausted and depressed. This is our mourning, what we have tried to avoid at all costs. This is when we humbly surrender.

Stage 5: Acceptance - The end of our struggle. The acceptance stage is not usually happy. "It's almost void of feelings". We accept what is and we are free to stay or go. We are aquainted with reality and start implementing needed change. We can see that we have been benefitted in the end from all the grief. This is when our God or HP can begin doing real work in our lives.

These stages can be done in seconds regarding something small, and a lifetime of monumental losses. Each stage is necessary. We must deal with them all. We must be gentle with ourselves while going through them. The serenity prayer can help us here:

God Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The Power to Change the Things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference

Melodie closes this chapter with: "Learn the art of acceptance, it's a lot of grief".

Activities (paraphrased):

1.) Are you or someone cloe to you going through the five grief stages? If so, what stage are you or them in?

2.) Review the major losses in your life and recall how the stages of grief played out for each. Write about your feelings while going through them.

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Old 04-04-2010, 09:14 AM
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Slackers! ;-)
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Alizerin View Post
Stage 5: Acceptance - The end of our struggle. The acceptance stage is not usually happy. "It's almost void of feelings". We accept what is and we are free to stay or go. We are aquainted with reality and start implementing needed change. We can see that we have been benefitted in the end from all the grief. This is when our God or HP can begin doing real work in our lives.
I am in this stage. Was glad to read here that what I am feeling - almost void of feelings - is normal. I thought it was due to Zoloft. After all the tears (rivers I cried) of depression , I could not wait to finally start to accept. And now I just feel like ok so this is it! I was married to an alcoholic and I didnt look after myself and children as I should have. I am not in the happy zone yet.Now is the time that God can start doing real work in my life! Glad to see that it is normal

About anger. My therapist had to talk me into anger!! Now I see why. Anger is needed to move forward. I just felt pity for him. Still today more pity than anger!
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:39 PM
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I am in the depression stage..I really wish i could take the first step and admit I am powerless but its tough for me..I think I cycle in and out of some of these stages..but definitely in depression. I oftenwonder what would happen if i did fall apart..no one to put me back together!

I have to accept that my A wont talk to me anymore,,I have to accept all the cruel stuff he did to me and I have to accept I filed for a divorce and nothing can change that. My miracle isnt coming for my marriage so I have to redirect my life now..I have to accept where I am going...
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:59 AM
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I think I'm here:
Stage 5: Acceptance - The end of our struggle. The acceptance stage is not usually happy. "It's almost void of feelings". We accept what is and we are free to stay or go. We are aquainted with reality and start implementing needed change. We can see that we have been benefitted in the end from all the grief. This is when our God or HP can begin doing real work in our lives.

I feel like anything could happen and I'm going to be ok no matter what. I'm ready to let go and focus on me. I think I'll still have moments where I flash back to stages 2 and 4 though.
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:19 AM
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I think I'm stuck at stage 4 - either that or my clinical depression is muddying the waters for me. I can't seem to move on from this. Some days are worse than others and I do think I've got myself into a habit of 'depressed thinking'.

I accept my marriage is over. I accept that it is for the best that XAH is an X. I was 'better' at acceptance, more comfortable in my life, when I was separated, before selling our house. I wonder if, now that I'm in my own place, I can now relax and process all the feelings I kept a leash on. I can sometimes skip through the stages in a day!

I'm impatient with myself. Intellectually, I know this is for the best, why can't my feelings keep up! I have trouble linking my depression to the divorce in my head. I don't think I've given myself permission to feel sad about it - he was horrible, abusive and cheated on me, I should be glad he's gone! Why should I feel sad it's over? I cried at the time, I should be done!

This is an ah-hah moment for me guys. I'm crying right now. I think I need to go and sit through this and think about what I've lost and acknowledge that it is a loss, even if I wanted it to end.
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Old 04-05-2010, 05:25 AM
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(((bookworm)))

It is a severe loss on many levels! The biggest losses that I cried for days on end about was the loss of my youth , the loss of my innocence, the loss of my trust in all that is good,the loss of life as I knew it. I had to let go of all my truths to get to learn other truths.Letting go of the control over other people was scary. Taking responsibility for myself was scary. In a marriage with an addict you lose focus on yourself. To take that focus back to oneself is not all that easy for everybody.

The addict stops to mature at the age that they start using. In similar fashion I learnt in therapy that emotional trauma causes the same to happen to us. So in a way we also have to grow up fast in recovery.

Maybe this was a bit off topic - but is is my story of grief and getting to acceptance

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Old 04-05-2010, 07:39 AM
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So this is the club I didn't want to join and this is also the class I will never graduate from: The Grieving Group

To quote Melody near the end of this chapter:
"We may simply feel like we have gone crazy.
We haven't.
Become familiar with this process. The entire process may take place in thirty seconds for a minor loss; it may last years or a lifetime when the loss is significant. Because this is a model, we may not go through the stages exactly as I have outlined them. We may travel back and forth; from anger to denial, from denial to bargaining, from bargaining back to denial. Regardless of the speed and route we travel through these stages, we must travel through them. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross says it is not only a normal process, it is a necessary process, and each stage is necessary.
We must ward off the blows of life with denial until we are better prepared to deal with them.
We must feel anger and blame until we have gotten them out of our system.
We must try to negotiate, and we must cry.
We don't necessarily have to let the stages dictate our behaviors, but each of us, for our well-being and ultimate acceptance, needs to spend individually appropriate time in each stage. Judi Hollis quoted Fritz Peris, the father of Gestalt therapy, in this manner: "[B]The only way out is through[/B
]". "

Why will I not graduate from this class? As long as I am living, I will experience loss. I will need to grieve each loss - the small and the mighty.

I forgot the 5 stages of grief were even in this book. Why? I have read this book several times. Maybe.....maybe I read the beginning chapters several times. Maybe those chapters help me recognize my patterns of codie behavior and I can identify with those patterns. I can also see how my living with an alcoholic allowed me to keep repeating those unhealthy patterns because it was the only way I knew how to react. I re-read the book and realized that I was repeating those unhealthy patterns as I reacted to my family of origin. I recognized those unhealthy patterns as I reacted to co-workers. I believe it was easier to read the early chapters and see that I was reacting to life codependently and to say: I do this because of your behavior. I have been blame-shifting.

I react codependently because of your behavior.

I think I am ready to stop denying. My reactions are my own unhealthy behavior.
I think I am ready to stop being angry at others and get angry with myself for my reactions.
I think I am ready to stop trying to prevent the inevitable. Life happens without my control.
I think I am ready to feel sadness without the guilt for not being 100% sunshine. I am not always strong and positive. I feel sad and vulnerable too.
I think I am ready to accept my life - warts and all. It is what it is. It is not all sunshine and roses. It is progress, not perfection.

I need to keep this 5 step process in my tool belt. When I feel the crazy train coming, I need to pullout the steps and see which station my train is passing. It may be my crazy train has just passed through the valley of grief and I should find my seat and accept the ride.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:00 AM
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1.) Are you or someone close to you going through the five grief stages? If so, what stage are you or them in?

This chapter helped me figure out why I'm fairly devoid of emotion regarding the end of my marriage. I'm at stage 5, acceptance. Soon to be moving right on out of the stages all together. Maybe I'll be pulled back into the stages when the divorce is final, maybe not. A long time ago I pitched a tent at Stage 1 (denial) and promptly made it my home. After working with codependency here in SR, the other four stages flew by. I wasn't aware I was in denial, let alone how to move out of it. With proper guidance from experienced persons, here I am.


2.) Review the major losses in your life and recall how the stages of grief played out for each. Write about your feelings while going through them.

Well, I'll go with one experience as it's pretty monumental. I've gone discussed it with various therapists but I swear all I remember is them asking me things like "And how did you feel about that?" As if that'll make it all better? Bizarre, really I don't remember anyone giving me a formula to work with or anything.

When I was 12, my alcoholic mother married a man 10 years her junior. He was a sadistic nut. My mother was abused during this period. Behind her bedroom door. Not daily, but it was happening. At one point twords the end, she hadn't come out of the room for a while, I cut myself on the arm so she could come out and tend to it. Which she did. At another point he came out carrying her and she was in and out of conciousness. We piled into the car the whole while me yelling "What did you do to her". My mother, coming in and out of conciousness, said he didn't do anything. She went home the next day. I of course have no idea what actually happened or what the hospital said. Now, growing up my mother was a chronic alcoholic. So her staying in her room alone was normal. Hence I really wasn't sure what was going on at that age. I just knew it was bad.

So, came the day when this man asked me if I wanted to make some money, I said yes. He said "Take off your shorts" I said "No". He said "okay". and I went out to play. I was old enough and had already been abused that way. - I knew what was up. Anyway, I ran to a friends house and told. My mother was told that day and so she made him leave. Two weeks or so later, we came home from school and she never came home from work. We walked to her work late that night and learned she never showed up. So, went back to that friends house. Two days later, the police were called. We then became a ward of the state. The woman became our foster mother. No word from my mother for six months.

Here's the kicker - That man, became a serial rapist with three victims. One of which was a 14 year old girl. He was put away for rape, sexual battery, and spousal battery

LUCK!!!!!!

How my mother decided to let us know was to mail the newspaper clipping about the investigation and his arrest to a relative. They wanted to protect us so it was another six months before they gave us the letter and clipping.

Okay, so we were abondoned by our mother in the most literal sense. How did the five stages play out?

Stage 1 Denial: I did not accept the hard cold reality that she left us for a man who wanted to have sex with her daughter. It was a good year until THAT horrid fact was driven home.

Stage 2 Anger: Ahhh, I was in this stage probably until my mid-twenties. I was shipped around a bit growing up because I was completely uncontrollable.

Stage 3 Bargaining: Yep, until she died at the hands of a different LOSER. I kept contact and tried to keep her in my life. I tried to overlook everything. She died when I was 25.

Stage 4 Depression - This is an overlapping stage. It seemed to go hand in hand with the anger. After she died, when I was 25 - I stopped drinking in front of people and became a closet drunk. I knew I was an alcoholic and did not want others to know.

Stage 5 Acceptance - It took 22 years. Until I got sober at 34 to see I did get here. By default, by simply: time almost. Working the AA steps and the wider gap of years. If my mother was still alive, I probably wouldn't be here. I read stories in the ACOA forum sometimes and think "Thank goodness I do not have to deal with her now".

Whew, that was weird to get out.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:23 AM
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I think I am between stage 4 and 5. I go through the depression and start experiencing acceptance and then go back to depression. I think it is when I begin to accept what is that I go back into depression for awhile.

only last week did I connect up the loss of my father with my current dilemma. I have experienced many losses in my life (I would think I was an expert at grief work by now) but there may be more work to do. After the loss of my father, my mother lost it and went into hiding - she was either absent and lost in her addictions or abusive for lack of any ability to parent and cope with life. My brother and I misunderstood her stubbornness and refusal to accept life events and move forward for strength. Somewhere along the way I lost my brother as well and didn't know that until a few months ago when I found out my SIL died and he didn't let me know - I found out on the internet. It was a real shock to realize that I have no family - but worse that I never did. I used to make jokes about being the child the community raised and now realize that it is no joke.

which brings me to today, separated from my RAH, separated b/c I was missing the natural give and take of a relationship and he was always wanting his needs to take priority. I thought it would give him time to think and yet it turns out that all he can think about is him - he wants out and he wants me to make it happen - how passive-aggressive can one get.

I have tried to sort out why I stay. So many reason come to mind all of which I can argue either way. But I do keep coming back to acceptance - acknowledging that which is in front of me - I can give him all kinds of excuses and myself - but the fact is plain and simple - he would rather be apart from me. That is hurtful but the reality. Whether it is a game or something else doesn't matter which is what I am coming to terms with in the past week.

I think I learned in childhood that things can be taken away from you and you have no control. As an adult I think the learning here can be at least to understand that I can make decisions over how I will react, how I will let it change my life and to what extent. I can linger over things and feel bad or I can grieve them and slowly move forward. I working on getting there.

thanks for letting me share. I should have been here earlier.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:27 AM
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I really believe the saying "I'm right where I'm supposed to be".
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:37 AM
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When my children left Friday afternoon to spend the weekend with their dad, I cried. I told my friend that I don't want to be divorced. I believe in the sanctity of marriage; I want to have a husband; a man; a date; a partner. I want my kids to have a dad in the house with them. I want help. I want the income I have lost. I want to be able to run an errand without dragging 3 children along or waiting til they go with their dad to take care of my business. I want a lover and a soulmate and a best friend. i want someone to talk to at night after the children have gone to bed. I want someone to help me get them into bed. I want to share their accomplishments with someone who loves them as much as I do and I want help when it comes to discipline.

What I am accepting is that I have none of that. And it became clear in the last year of our marriage that I din't have it then - even though to the outside world it appeared that I did.

So I don't think I'm in denial. I must be going through some anger because it just really is not fair.

I guess it could also be depression.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:53 AM
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^
Don't forget that at LEAST you're moving right along through 'em! That's really something.
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