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Codependency/Trying to live a healthy life


QUESTION: Hi Cookie, I am in my 40's and have been married for 20 years with 2 children. I, as well as my spouse, grew up in very dysfunctional homes.I have read several books on codependency.
My question is how do I know I am not continuing in living a life of dysfunction as it is all around me. Are there signs/ways that will tell me what is a functional ,healthy life as I don't really have anything around that would model that for me (at least that I am aware of). thank you

ANSWER: Hello Mindy,
Thank-you for a great question! This is a question I ask myself on a regular basis as well.
Reading books and researching is a good way to gain knowledge and insight to apply to your life.
There are many areas of dysfunction and depending on the exact nature of your discomfort would more determine what would serve you well.
My advise would be to share more about the kind of  that you describe as "all around you", and the dysfuntional homes you grew up in. Sounds like your inner sense is already telling you what feels not healthy!
You are not alone if you are in a family and feel there are no healthy role models!This is sad and with-out some good support can bring you down very quickly.
I admire your strength and fortitude to go beyond the limitations for a more functional and healthy lifestyle for yourself and family.
Also, is your husband sharing your insight and interest for a more a healthy life together?
I advocate support groups for added support and on-hands approach to making a more lasting life change, again depending on where you would feel the most comfort.
Please feel free to discuss your thoughts and feelings with me further.

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QUESTION: hi Cookie, Yes my spouse shares in a desire to live healthy- diet ,exercise. financially ,emotionally . He grew up around neglect and alcohol in the home and I grew up with physical and emotional abuse/violence as well as some parental depression, and  too much prescription drug and possibly illegal drugs in the home.There was no dignity, respect, privacy and understanding of boundaries.
Currently, all siblings on my side as well as my husband's side have problems with alcohol and some with drugs. Funny thing is they don't see that the alcohol is a problem but I can't enjoy a visit without any of them drinking a glass/bottle one after the other. My spouse and I do not drink at all,never did. I find it difficult to relate to people who are drinking. I feel uncomfortable.
My big problem now is  with my mother. She does not respect my views(child rearing,life philosophy) and insists I agree with her and I will not. She wants respect but does not give it and there are major issues with not respecting my boundaries  , she thinks she doesn't have to.
This is all very draining. I do not find pleasure in visits and do not look forward to family members who are alcoholic ,negative and disrespectful.
Addiction never stops rearing it's ugly head. It is all around in so many forms.
What can I do if I don't choose to relate to people who drink? Life can be a bit lonely.
Thanks for your reply.

Hello Mindy,
I am sorry to hear your childhood was so troubled and unhealthy. You are very articulate with your description, so I am thinking you have been aware, and away from this kind of life for awhile. May I ask how you and your husband have managed to avoid the cycle of dysfunction that has from what I hear afflicted most other family members?
First of all you know you can not change them, and this can make us feel powerless and unhappy. The good news is that you can learn to let go of what other's choose to do with their life. You can find more happiness and peace with your life. Have you ever been to an Alonon meeting? This is a group that addresses co-dependency, and issues from being raised in an addiction environment.
I would like to recommend a book for you, "The Dance of Anger'.
Could it be you are still angry with your Mother? Have you ever worked through your pain of being that child with needs and wants, and feeling that no-one is able to give them? From my own experience this can be a life-long journey of discovery.
You have pretty much answered your question with "I do not choose to relate to people who drink".
Thank-you for your honesty and strength. Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings with me further.  


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My life has been been full and rewarding with a passion for education and knowledge. I have spent many fun and long days in the public library where I first became inspired to learn self-love and finding inner happiness. My education started with Social Work and Medical Assistant, Domestic Violence Advocate, and with 21 years of sobriety I was finally able to give back by Sponsoring fellow recovering alcoholics. Also worked in an women's clinic educating young women on empowering themselves with personal birth-control methods. Mother of four adult children and grand-mother of 4. I am working on my degree in Transformation Psychology as a Holistic Practitioner. This is a new and exciting time for moving forward and making lasting changes gor ourselves and each other.


I have been working with people in recovery and life coaching for over 25 years. Also I am certified as Life Coach working with woman in transition. Hypnotherapist and Spiritual Care Coach. I have my own online business and if you are looking for a more one on one personal support than notify me.

Associates in Social Work. Certified Life Coach. Registered Medical asst. Certified Domestic Violence advocate. Certified Hypnotherapist, Spiritual Care Coach.

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