Codependence Day

July 4, 2010

Declaration of Codependence

Declaration of Codependence

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”….

This weekend we celebrate Dependence Day, in remembrance of the time our forefathers* gathered to ratify the Declaration of Codependence. It’s a terribly stirring holiday for me: It’s so healing to have my codependent behavior affirmed by this noble document. It shows that even 200 years ago, some of the greatest minds in literature, government, philosophy and the law came to the same brilliant conclusions I have about how to manage the alcoholics in our lives.*

It may be hard to read the little tiny script, so I’ve transcribed the first few paragraphs—I consider them among the most spiritually moving of the entire Declaration:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one person to take over the management of a relationship which may have connected us with another, and for us to assume, among the powers of the earth, the superior station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle us, a grudging respect to the opinions of lesser men requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to this domination.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that while it may indeed be all our fault, we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Compulsive Self-Reliance, Manipulation, and the relentless pursuit of Control. — That to secure these rights, some of us are instituted among Men, deriving our just powers from the obvious haplessness of the afflicted, — That whenever any of their behaviors becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of Us to alter or to abolish their rights, and to institute new Management, either through passive-aggressive behavior, displays of temper, the use of The Silent Treatment, or whatever occurs to us at the time, thus laying the foundation of these principles and organizing our powers in such form, as to us shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness, nevermind how any of this leaves us feeling. After all—we’re fine.”

Amen! I hope you use this inspiration to handle the lives of others to the best of your abilities, always following the Codependent’s Credo:

Figure It Out,
Your Way is Best,
Don’t Bother God.

Happy trails!

* PS  By a quick and rough estimation consulting short biographies of the signers of the Declaration of Independence (the real one) and a list of the most significant “forefathers” of the United States of America, over half of these men (and yes, they were all men) were either alcoholic or had a serious problem with alcohol in their lives.

Control This

May 12, 2010

Control Chart

Control Chart

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

I’m a list-making type of guy. My to-do list covers things that involve family, health, work, spirit, learning, money, household, creativity, etc. It has colors. It has categories. It is attractive. I spend time on it. I fantasize about managing it. It’s so comprehensive, the only thing missing are check-marks.

This morning I made the mistake of actually looking at the list. There were 200+ tasks. I read somewhere that most people accomplish, on average, about three actual “to-do” list-type tasks per day. That means that, on average, the first thing I do in the morning is treat myself to 197 reminders why I don’t, why I won’t—why I can’t—measure up to my expectations. Ever.

So, I figured, why not rewrite out a list of all things I can actually control, and those I can’t? It turned out that list was a bit lopsided. So much so that it wasn’t even a list anymore—it had to be graphed. That worked! Now I’ve winnowed my to-do list down to the suggested number of items: three.*

To-do Today

1. Ask for the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
2. Ask for courage to change the things I can; and
3. Ask for wisdom to know the difference.

Happy trails!

Who’s In Charge

March 12, 2010

Who's In Charge?

Who's in Charge?

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” — Mario Andretti

I’ve been reading an interesting book* on spirituality, the theory of which is that spiritual change and recovery is, at the core, a control battle waged daily between each of us and our Higher Power.

My insistence on maintaining the illusion of control over my life manifests itself in cunning, baffling and powerful ways. Maybe I just want to help. Is that being “controlling?” If I don’t show up — how is that being bossy? I looked up “control” in a thesaurus — several, in fact. I thought I’d find two dozen or so synonyms (by the way, “to predict” is listed as a synonym for control). So far, I found 123…

administer, advise, arrange, ascertain, assure, be at the helm, be in charge of, be in the driver’s seat, be in the saddle, bind, boss, bottle up, bridle, bully, call the shots, cap, captain, care for, carry on, check, change, choke off, collect, come to grips with, command, conduct, constrain, contain, coordinate, corner, cow, curb, dampen, deal, deal with, direct, discipline, dispose, dominate, domineer, eliminate, ensure, exaggerate, exercise, exercise restraint over, fetter, get it together, govern, guide, handle, head, head up, hogtie, hold back, hold in, hold purse strings, hold sway, instruct, insure, juggle, keep, keep in check, keep in line, keep a lid on, lead, let go, lord over, limit, manage, manipulate, master, mind, minimize, mismanage, modify, monopolize, order, operate, organize, overlook, oversee, pilot, possess, predict, predominate, preside, prevent, process, push buttons, put the brakes on, quarterback, quell, regiment, regulate, reign, rein in, repress, requisition, restrain, restrict, rule, run, run the show, run things, see to, shackle, simmer down, smother, steer, subdue, subject, subjugate, superintend, supervise, suppress, take care of, tend, test, tether, transmogrify, verify, work,

and…

work it! Feel free to post more…

Happy Trails!

J.

*PS The book is Recovery: The Sacred Art by Rami Shapiro.