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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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Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself + Codependent No More Workbook + The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Hazelden; 2nd Revised edition (September 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0894864025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0894864025
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (887 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Beattie was a struggling single parent of two children and freelance author and journalist cranking out stories for a small-town daily newspaper in 1986 when she came up with a book idea. She wanted to write a book about what happens to people when they love someone who is addicted to alcohol and other drugs."There were many books out there about how to help an addict or alcoholic. Nobody was talking about how an addict impacts the lives of the people around him or her, and how crazy you can become when you love someone who is addicted," Beattie said. "Even though I was sober, I didn't know how crazy I could get until it happened to me." Twenty publishers turned down Beattie's book proposal. "It's a good idea, but we don't think there's that many codependents out there," they wrote back.Hazelden, however, a treatment center and recovery publisher based in Minnesota, saw a need for the book. The publisher understood how families of alcoholics suffer and believed Beattie's book idea would help people. Beattie marched to the welfare department, asked for enough financial help to make it through the three months it would take her to write the book, then locked herself in a basement office and cranked out Codependent No More. Codependent No More has now sold 3.5 million copies. Beattie has since written nine more books, five for major publishing houses on the east and west coasts. She relocated from Minnesota to California, and she has long-since paid back the welfare department. Beattie has appeared in the pages of Newsweek and People and has been a regular guest on Geraldo and Oprah. Playing It By Heart is Beattie's first original book for Hazelden since 1990; the book is a return to her recovery roots that first brought her national recognition.

From AudioFile

For twenty years Melody Beattie has been writing lucidly about codependency--the pattern of trying to control or change someone who repeatedly makes trouble for themselves and others, and who usually is manipulating and controlling others as well. The problem is often part of an addictive or depressive syndrome or both (which the author understands well from her own experience); the solution she offers is to work extra hard at clarifying each person's boundaries, keeping everyone's responsibilities separated, and becoming obsessive about looking after one's own interests in the face of demands to do otherwise. Christina Moore's elegant diction stirs in a measure of attention-getting gravitas to this weighty mixture of classic relationship advice. T.W. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

Melody Beattie is one of America's most beloved self-help authors and a household name in addiction and recovery circles. Her international bestselling book, Codependent No More, introduced the world to the term "codependency" in 1986. Millions of readers have trusted Melody's words of wisdom and guidance because she knows firsthand what they're going through. In her lifetime, she has survived abandonment, kidnapping, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, and the death of a child. "Beattie understands being overboard, which helps her throw bestselling lifelines to those still adrift," said Time Magazine.

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.

Customer Reviews

This book has changed my life.
blair
If you are feeling crazy for the way you are feeling read this book and you will understand why you are feeling the way you are.
Heather E. McAndrews
This book is very well written & easy to understand.
Valushopper717

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

697 of 721 people found the following review helpful By Peter V. Cannice on February 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Instead of spending hours of your time, expressing how anxious and depressed I was, and for so many years, I'd share a few things that might tell my story of recovery in a more concise mode.

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.
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491 of 517 people found the following review helpful By Heather E. McAndrews on March 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is good for people who find themselves depressed and needing some insight on why they feel the way they do. After reading this book the other book by Melody Beattie "Beyond Codepedency" will help you fix the codependent problem. These books will help anyone who is dealing with an alcoholic relationship or any other dependent relationship. If you find yourself caretaking all the time, ie: thinking or feeling responsible for other people, feel it is your responsiblity to help other people solve their problems, feel needy people are always attracted to you, and feeling unappreciated or used; or you have weak boundaries with the people in your life; you have dependency issues; poor communication; and low self-worth- you are codependent. I didn't think I was, but this book laied my life out perfectly. If you are feeling crazy for the way you are feeling read this book and you will understand why you are feeling the way you are. It is normal it is just you are a codependent person and you need to fix that.
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320 of 337 people found the following review helpful By Brad Torgersen on December 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
So far as I can tell, very few people could ever read this book without taking something positive away from it. And you don't have to be the product of a broken home, child abuse, neglect, or other serious trauma to see how the machinery of so-called "codependency" tweaks your life; always for the worse.

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"?
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96 of 103 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book to help me to understand why I could not seem to fully separate myself from an extremely dysfunctional relationship that I had been in for almost 8 years. While Melody frequently uses alcoholics and drug addicts as her examples of co-dependents, that was not the case for me. I was in a relationship with a person that was/is clinically depressed (and not doing anything about it) and who would take their anger out on me. Our home life revolved around how he was feeling from day to day, as it does also with alcoholics. This book helped me realize how I had ended up essentially taking care of a grown man because he didn't want to do it himself. There were lots of other problems with the relathionship, but the main thing is after reading this book I finally woke up. I can honestly say that I have been able to detach from that person (not an easy task) and my life has been so much better for it. This new knowledge has also helped my other relationships with friends and family. I am learning how not to get over-involved and feel a need to 'fix' someone else's problems that they have created for themselves. This book definitely has set me on the right path and I hope to be able to continue to look out for ME.
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