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Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself Paperback – September 1, 1986
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"Melody Beattie is an American phenomenon....She understands being overboard, which helps her throw best-selling lifelines to those still adrift."
About the Author
More About the Author
Melody was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1948. Her father left home when she was a toddler, and she was raised by her mother. She was abducted by a stranger at age four. Although she was rescued the same day, the incident set the tone for a childhood of abuse, and she was sexually abused by a neighbor throughout her youth. Her mother turned a blind eye, just as she had denied the occurrence of abuse in her own past.
"My mother was a classic codependent," Melody recalls. "If she had a migraine, she wouldn't take an aspirin because she didn't do drugs. She believed in suffering." Unlike her mother, Melody was determined to self-medicate her emotional pain. Beattie began drinking at age 12, was a full-blown alcoholic by age 13, and a junkie by 18, even as she graduated from high school with honors. She ran with a crowd called "The Minnesota Mafia" who robbed pharmacies to get drugs. After several arrests, a judge mandated that she had to "go to treatment for as long as it takes or go to jail."
Melody continued to score drugs in treatment until a spiritual epiphany transformed her. "I was on the lawn smoking dope when the world turned this purplish color. Everything looked connected--like a Monet painting. It wasn't a hallucination; it was what the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous calls 'a spiritual awakening.' Until then, I'd felt entitled to use drugs. I finally realized that if I put half as much energy into doing the right thing as I had into doing wrong, I could do anything," Beattie said.
After eight months of treatment, Melody left the hospital clean and sober, ready to take on new goals: helping others get sober, and getting married and having a family of her own. She married a former alcoholic who was also a prominent and respected counselor and had two children with him. Although she had stopped drinking and using drugs, she found herself sinking in despair. She discovered that her husband wasn't sober; he'd been drinking and lying about it since before their marriage.
During her work with the spouses of addicts at a treatment center, she realized the problems that had led to her alcoholism were still there. Her pain wasn't about her husband or his drinking; it was about her. There wasn't a word for codependency yet. While Melody didn't coin the term codependency, she became passionate about the subject. What was this thing we were doing to ourselves?
Driven into the ground financially by her husband's alcoholism, Melody turned a life-long passion for writing into a career in journalism, writing about the issues that had consumed her for years. Her 24-year writing career has produced fifteen books published in twenty languages and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. She has been a frequent guest on many national television shows, including Oprah. She and her books continue to be featured regularly in national publications including Time, People, and most major periodicals around the world.
Although it almost destroyed her when her twelve-year-old son Shane died in a ski accident in 1991, eventually Melody picked up the pieces of her life again. "I wanted to die, but I kept waking up alive," she says. She began skydiving, mountain-climbing, and teaching others what she'd learned about grief.
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Top Customer Reviews
I had everything but had nothing. I had been Senior Class President, Top 2% in the Country during College, successful in modeling and acting, selected as Volunteer of the Year for the State of Iowa and the list of "stuff" could go on an on. I was so empty inside myself that I didn't any longer know how I felt inside. I was losing any sense of who I was.
I'd become someone that functioned to serve, protect, nurture, encourage, forgive and love someone that couldn't love back. I was with the same person, in a marriage, for almost 5 years, and woke up one morning and realized that the person next to me was a stranger who didn't know the real me. The person that my life revolved around, the person that I chose to take care of and "cover" for, just liked having me around so I could pick up the pieces and paint a picture of a relationship and a family that was like "Ozzie and Harriet" so that others would think that everything was just fine. I can't stand the word "fine" anymore. Nothing in my life was fine and it wasn't until I hit bottom and read "Codependent No More:How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself", that my life began to change. The book answered all of my questions and caused me to look deeply at myself and my situation and evalute how sick I was. Yes, I was the sick one in the relationship too.
I thought that I was doing everything right or doing what was right for my relationship. But I didn't ever consider that my own personal cup was empty and the only person who could fill it with healthy things was me.Read more ›
I was talking to my father on the phone one day and I was explaining to him how I have no problem exercising and eating right when Otty is gone but I can't seem to keep it up when he is home. My father then asked me if I wanted to know what that was called...he told me it was called co-dependence and that I should start learning about this by reading a book called Co-dependent No More. I pretty much ran out right away and purchased the book.
Now, I have never been a big advocate for self-improvement books, but I have to say that this book was very enlightening. Co-dependency has a different definition for everyone. This book made me delve into my own retched thoughts and confront them head on.
This book made me realize that I have a voice and an opinion and both matter just as much as the next person. I realized that I can make decisions and not have to worry if my opinion is what other people may think or want. My opinion is exactly that...my opinion. It is okay to have an opinion that is different than someone else's.
I also learned that I need to detach myself from the people in my life that cause me harm...emotionally, physically, doesn't matter...
Though I may not struggle with an abusive alcoholic, I still struggle with the internal doubts and feelings of self worthlessness. I have learned that I do not need to immerse myself so deeply in someone else's life that I lose myself. I can keep my individuality while sharing my life with another. If we have conflicting views...that's alright.
When I first read this book, I figure that I would not post my feelings about it because they were too personal.Read more ›
Having read other peoples' reviews, I'm not sure where some of the negative "cult" comments and rancor come from. I recognized a lot of these behaviors in mysef and in my family, and I'm not from an abusive, alcoholic, or otherwise chemically shattered upbringing. I have good parents and I had a good childhood. Just the same, even good parents and a good childhood are no guarantee against developing unhealthy relationship habits, as well as damaging internal emotional processes.
If you're like me, you shy away from "self help" literature because it all seems way too touchy-feely. I don't see myself as a victim, and I refuse to adopt the victim mentality. But nobody gives parents a rule book on setting healthy emotional boundaries with their kids, and kids that grow up in a home without healthy emotional boundaries become adults without healthy emotional boundaries. This can really get you into trouble when you start trying to form a family of your own, and is the reason why I sought out this book with urgency.
Does it seem like your hapiness is too connected to how other people live their lives? Do you get really upset and depressed because those whom you love engage in behavior you see as risky or damaging? Feel powerless to stop your loved one from using or abusing mind altering substances? Tired of always feeling like "the bad guy" when you're just trying to get your partner to "be good"?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An eye opener for those with the courage to look at their life with honesty.Published 20 hours ago by kjs
This book is such a great read for anyone that struggles with codependent behavior. Melody writes like she is a friend holding your hand through the process, and explains things... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Kelly Kleine
Stopped reading/listening as soon as she started mentioning God left and right.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
This was an amazing book! I never knew that I was codependent until I read this book. It make so much sense as to why I have felt and behaved the only way that I have known. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Jennie