This is a long, long overdue post.
I started my CoDA (CoDependents Anonymous) 14 Day program with my CoDA friend, AT, who agreed to be my sponsor. You may read about what the 14 Day program is and my decision to do the program here.
The CoDA 14 Day program
In short, the CoDA 14 Day program is for Codependents, such as myself. It’s a precursor to the 12 Step recovery program.
The CoDA 14 Day program, just like the 12 Step program, is a series of questions as a guide to self-discovery, recovery and healing.
But unlike in 12 Step—where you can take however long you need (some people take years)—14 Day questions are supposed to be answered in 14 days.
But so far, from what I understand, it doesn’t have to be strictly done in 14 days per se. This is in line with what I’ve learnt from CoDA: everyone has a different pace in their recovery; there is no right or wrong way in recovery. Though I can see the benefits of answering all 14 Day questions within 14 days, because it gives a great jump start to doing the 12 Step program. It’s like revving the engines for the “longer journey” ahead, since 12 Step will definitely take a longer time to complete.
CoDA 14 Day: Day 1
In any case, the beginning of my self-discovery began with work done for my Day 1 and Day 2.
After some time talking about myself, my problems, my past, my present, my feelings, etc (in therapy, in CoDA)… I thought I was well informed of myself and my state of well-being (or lack thereof), but it appears there is more to find out and discover about myself.
As AT put it, the CoDA 14 Day program is meant to be self-illuminating. I found this to be very true, with my Day 1 and Day 2 findings.
Day 1 Question:
Read the Coda Preamble & Welcome. In one colored pen underline any words or concepts that are unfamiliar to you. In another colored pen, underlines passages that are meaningful to you. Make notes of any thoughts or feelings you have in relation to this reading.
CoDA 14 Day: Day 2
Day 2 Question:
Reflect on the idea that isolation is commonly a part of co-dependent behaviour. Write about the possibility of 12 step recovery being a return from isolation.
Yes, I decided to hand write my responses instead of email, which I’ve heard some people do. Maybe, this is my attempt at journaling — one of the tools in recovery.
Do you see any recurring theme in my responses for Day 1 and 2?
What really stood out for me is my glaring lack of self-love. I don’t know how to love myself. At all.
That’s why self-care is so hard for me. I don’t know what it means to be of value, to be loved. I don’t know that I’m worth caring about. I don’t feel anyone CARES for me — my so-called friends in real life (those I’ve known for years, pre-recovery). They don’t seem to *care*… I feel like I care for them more than they care about me.
There is a saying: If you don’t know how to love yourself, you don’t know how to love others.
I’m not sure if this is true in my life?
Have I been using others for my own agenda all this while — to love me on my behalf, because I don’t know how to love myself?
I want to learn how to love myself.
Childhood and Parenting
I was never told I was loved by my parents. We just existed. Did what we had to do daily.
I was never made to FEEL love. Am I supposed to naturally KNOW I’m loved?
Using my brain/mind, I can fathom my parents love me, with what they’ve “done for me”, and said to me using all other words except “love”. After all, I am their child, right?
But the notion of loving oneself — where does that come from? Who teaches it or instills it in young minds and hearts? Whose responsibility is it?
An explanation for my low self-esteem
My inability to love myself explains my chronic low self-esteem. If I don’t know my worth, how does that create any sense of value in my being and my abilities?
Self-esteem reflects a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self.
Self-esteem is important because it shows ourselves how we view the way we are and the sense of our personal value. Thus, it affects the way we are and act in the world and the way we are related to everybody else.
The only way I see having a healthy relationship with myself and others is to learn to love myself.
And the way to do that is to re-parent myself. To undo what my parents did… or did not do. Definitely not the easiest thing. Especially since I haven’t really figured out “inner child” stuff yet.
I look forward to completing Day 3 and posting it here. I’ve actually already done Day 3, but I felt I did not go in depth enough, so wanted to work on it some more. Day 3 is about addressing one’s Codependent traits. I felt like I skimmed only the surface. So there has been a hiatus… I’m grateful to AT for patiently waiting on my replies and progress!
Are you also in CoDA or any other 12 Step group? Or can you relate to any of the above? Do let me know in the comments below. If you’d like to chat privately, you can email me or find me on Social. Details here. Share this post if you think it will help someone!