Can this programme change your life?
I was drawn to the entrepreneur light like a moth to the flame. I had gotten so far in my business but I still felt limited, capped, stuck. Yes, there were periods when I had made a lot of money, but there were also had periods where I didn’t.
I spent a year abroad living the laptop lifestyle, but inside I felt like I was navigating towards a disaster, clinging aboard a ship called Hope.
Hope kept allowing me to buy into expensive programmes. Hope got me into debt. But I was extremely cheerful about it because I had goals, new business skills, and of course, Hope.
But it was never enough. I still felt stuck and I could feel the walls closing in . One great big wall was looming, as one celebrity coach helped me identify during a discovery call. We could both see it, but she didn’t have the integrity to really tell me what it really was. She just assured me that working together 1:1 was what I needed.
No action plan, no business strategy, no yoga pose, no candle, no herbal tea and no webinar was ever going to fix this until I could finally recognise it for what it was.
I was a codependent.
It feels shameful to write this. For years as a decent, ambitious, driven person, and latterly as an entrepreneur, I had no idea. I had my spirituality on, so I assumed I was good.
But that in itself is a tell tale sign. There is a direct correlation between spirituality and addiction — addiction is a like a cloak of crap around you, holding you from the truth.
Radical self love is a path to the truth, spiritual awakening, so necessarily radical self love is the cure for addiction. I was likely drawn to spirituality as a means to heal an addiction that I didn’t even know I was carrying. It was so ingrained.
Not that that made me feel any better of course. I literally went through the 5 stages of grief in one week where I read ‘Codependent No More’ by Melody Beattie.
I felt so broken, so shocked, so dysfunctional. But also finally free.
It was suddenly painfully obvious how my patterns were holding me in place, held back from everything I wanted, going round and round in a circle.
I had set up my whole life, all my relationships, and quite worryingly, my business, to keep the cycle going. And they kept playing over and over. Boom and bust. All in, and then all checked out. Whether it was showing up in cash flow or my adrenal system — the pattern was undeniable.
Codependency was my shadow.
This was a dark realisation. And a shameful one. I felt like a terrible person, like a victim, in spite of all the work I had done to be good, to be free, to be strong. To be Enlightened. (God help me).
But enlightenment is destructive. It’s not bliss, it’s not happiness, it’s a crumbling away of falsehoods.
And addiction and codependency are extremely significant, and common, falsehoods.
But every time I checked, I couldn’t get away from the cloak (of crap), no matter how much I paid.
Maybe you recognise it too:
- difficulty making decisions
- trouble setting boundaries
- people pleasing
- valuing the approval of others more than valuing yourself
- putting other peoples needs above your own
- lacking trust in yourself, low self esteem or self faith
- care taking of others
- giving unsolicited advice
- an unhealthy dependence on and/or controlling role in relationships
- taking on responsibility for the actions of others
- warped and unhealthy sense of responsibility
- feeling stuck, trapped or unable to take control
- perfectionism, procrastination, self sabotage
- issues with intimacy.
I basically ticked them all.
[ This checklist still stirs in me a burning, crushing shame. ]
All I wanted to do was help people. But this is sadly part of the victim story — and I was setting myself up (and those that I wanted to help ) to fail.
In a coaching relationship this can only be described as toxic. And I can clearly see now how not dealing with it head-on meant:
a) I could never actually reach my goals — without the cycle looping around and self sabotage kicking in
b) I would keep signing up for courses for the rest of my life; and
c) — this one is the worst — I could not help others professionally until I had healed myself.
Healing others is NOT the same as healing yourself.
But how do you even embark on that path when this is all you’ve known?
Curiously, I found myself already very familiar with the path. I intuitively knew it and was drawn to it, but I was swimming around in the shallow end.
I say the shallow end, the commercial end, because Self care became a buzz word recently, and I recoil in horror from that now.
It smacks of codependency unless we can be brutally honest about what it really means.
Self care is not nice smelling candles and an Instagram worthy picture of a beach. Or a day trip to the spa. It’s committing to a path of self love, leading towards the ultimate destination : self acceptance.
This story is about self acceptance, kids.
And that was where the old patterns and old demons began to go wild.
I had to drill down and really dig into the daily practices I had learned, dial them right up to the maximum strength for the next bit.
Because codependency or addiction as an illness — it doesn’t want you to accept yourself. If you accept yourself then the whole world around you breaks — what the F will happen when all your relationships are healthy, you feel courage to go out into the world and actually achieve your dream?
It will be a huge giant lethal blow to codependency.
You need to prepare for war.
So a warrior is what I became. I had to. It’s been a shitstorm — getting out of any addiction is.
But it is possible.
I closed the doors to the things that weren’t serving me (BOUNDARY ALERT) and I dialled up the things I wanted to see in my life. I sought the right support. And I put my head down, got my warrior stance on, and made it through to the other side.
It was no accident.
It was my calling.
Fear is a brutal thing, and this is how codependency can keep hold of the reins.
If you want to break through that door, if you are looking for the door — it is most likely labelled Fear. It will, most likely, be all the things that terrify you that you must overcome to complete this journey.
Is it worth it to see whats on the other side?
The difference is like night and day.
Its where I found true mental, emotional, physical, energetic and financial freedom that I was looking for.
It feels like creativity, ease, flow — like healthy momentum. As opposed to spinning all the plates, and propping up one debt with another in the name of entrepreneurship.
I think this is what any one of us is actually looking for. We can chase it down around the world, but at the end of the day, as Rachel Hollis says so spectacularly — happiness isn’t where you are, its who you are.
This is what they mean by You Do You.
Before, as a codependent, this was nightmarish advice. I felt it overwhelmingly confusing and worrying at the time — I threw money at this to fix it, to finally discover “who I was”.
It was all so unnecessary (and unnecessarily expensive) because the answer was right in front of me. I was even on the path. But sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees.
Now that the woods have cleared I know that when I spend the money on support I know its in the right place, not on blind hope and good sales training.
And caveat: I do need to do a reality check here.
No part of this has been easy. In fact this has been the most gruelling work I have done to date. They’ve been the darkest moments of my life.
But I have a support system, a community and a personal daily practice to keep me on track and I owe my life to it.
And emerging out in to the world — it is dazzling. I feel unrecognisable. I know there is still more work to do, there is a huge readjustment period.
But I am finally properly equipped for that.
On reflection, I think that the failures you perceive are there to show you a message.
For a while I chose to blindly look at the positives, which made life really enjoyable at some level, and sure — the practice of gratitude has been enormously important in this process.
But at some point I was always going to have to wake up from the pain and face the reality.
The tools of codependency are both sharp and stealthy from all those years of being in use.
Procrastination, laziness, addiction, mental health issues, physical ailments. Injury, accident, toxic relationships. Putting other people first. Being walked all over. Not being able to say no. Overachieving.
All of the things that women are brought up to be.
Rather than make excuses though, it’s time to state the truth.
If you’re not where you want to be, and you desire to be in a different place there is something that you are not taking responsibility for.
That is it.
It’s no one else’s fault, no one else’s job and no one else’s responsibility — no matter what.
The way out of codependency is to learn to take full, radical responsibility.
It is having the courage to see the truth — that you created the whole show.
So you take the responsibility first. It might hurt. It might feel sore.
But the more you practice, the better you’ll get.
Put a boundary around your commitment to yourself; don’t put it off and don’t put it on anyone else. This is your job.
You’ve got this.