I recognized at about 52 years of age that I was a people pleaser, approval seeker, 
always thought I was nice, helpful, giving... Good, right? No! Now I know the truth! I was 
becoming a doormat! Nothing attractive about that!! So I realized it, but what did I do 
about it? I started attending CODA meetings, and now at 55 years of age, I am reading 
and listening to all of the quality information I can find. Because now I'm finding out why. 
One can only put on a Band-Aid, take a pill, drink a drink in an attempt to remedy 
problems, but getting to the core issue, the cause, is, I believe so important! Seeking 
validation as a child, and not receiving it, I grew up to be an adult people pleaser, still 
seeking validation. I became addicted to alcohol. I became a codependent. How do I get 
out of this cycle? Now alcohol free for over two years, I am learning the importance of 
loving myself unconditionally. I am starting there, because it is only when I can love 
myself that I can allow others to love me, and I can begin to love others without 
conditions. Oh I so desire that! I believe it is what we are created and gifted to do. 
Without that ability, it's like having a talent to write, but not having paper or pen. Painful, 
unfair, devastating!

I have learned the importance of awareness and becoming educated about my issues. 
Writing is my outlet, my source of strength to sort out, figure out, what I can do to 
change, what I can do for the better, to break free of the mold I have been formed in, 
the codependent mold! To learn how to love myself, which I never learned to do. I 
thought that was selfish! I was raised Catholic, learned the Commandments, one of 
which is to love your neighbor as yourself. Now, in my 50s, I'm realizing just what that means, And I am grateful to learn, better now than never! I'm looking forward to, once I learn to love myself without conditions, to loving others without conditions. What does that look like for me? Loving myself without conditions, I become "enough"! I start looking within for validation, I stop craving validation from others, I become lighter, no more heavy heart filled with resentment because others are not meeting my expectations.
I no longer care what others think of me or if they like me or not. I care 
about what my Higher Power thinks of me and what I think about myself. I no longer want to give myself away, overcommit. I take time for myself daily, to pray, read, reflect, journal, meditate, listen to music. I am aware of how time spent with others affects me. 

Do I feel energized? Or drained? I will modify as needed. Do I feel peace, joy? or 
anxiety, sadness? I am less judgmental of myself and others, catch myself when I am, 
and modify. I will not have expectations or make assumptions. I will use positive self 
talk, affirmations, meditation. I will refuse to be or play victim. I will not wilt when faced 
with disapproval or disappointment from others. I will set emotional boundaries so I don't 
allow others' moods to affect me. I will count my many blessings often, looking forward, 
not back! I will visualize myself as loving unconditionally! I will start here....I will exercise 
physically every day, eat healthy, receive massage, enjoy quality time with loved ones. 
My life is balanced, I live in the now, I own my power, smile easily, laugh more......I am 
free to be me!!

Jeannie S. 12/2/15

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