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have been in CoDA just over a year now and have worked harder on my recovery in the last year of my life than I ever have on anything else. I rarely miss a meeting because it has become my lifeline. We have a very strong group with amazing people who are supportive and caring. I don't know what I would have done if I had not found CODA.
 
 I grew up with an alcoholic father who expected perfection and a mother who denied he was an alcoholic. I was the youngest of 5 children and when I was 17, after Christmas, my parents climbed into their RV and left for Arizona, leaving me to fend for myself and finish high school on my own. I have blocked out most of it and I am only recently working through the traumatic abandonment. My parents are both gone so I cannot speak with them about it but do talk with my siblings.
 
 When I finished college, I married someone who wasn't an alcoholic but was an emotional and verbal abuser. We had a child within one year and three more after that. I found myself doing everything for everyone and nothing for myself.
 
 We lost our oldest son to suicide on May 4, 2010. I was at the height of my codependency and truly and honestly believe that this event was the start of my ability to feel my pain and do what I needed to do to get better—although it wasn't until my youngest was 18 and out of high school that I was able to find the strength to leave my abusive husband. I believe now that because of the abandonment I had experienced as a child, I was unable to "abandon" my children by leaving an unhealthy marriage.
 
 I found my way to CODA through a new friend I met. I believe it has saved my life, and I thank my Higher Power each and every day for leading me there. I am much better at setting boundaries and coping with things as they come up. No longer does everything have to be a crisis. I love the peace and calm that I feel.
 
Maureen R


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