Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $1.91 (13%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Fast Shipping - Safe and Secure Bubble Mailer!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Codependents' Guide to the Twelve Steps Paperback – April 9, 1992


See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.09
$5.74 $0.01


Frequently Bought Together

Codependents' Guide to the Twelve Steps + Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself + The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series
Price for all three: $32.90

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1 edition (April 9, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671762273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671762278
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Melody Beattie, one of the seminal figures in the recovery movement, is the author of the international bestseller Codependent No More, which has sold over eight million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages. An expert on codependency, Beattie has written fifteen books, including include Beyond Codependency, The Language of Letting Go, and The Grief Club, and lectures worldwide. She lives in Southern California. For more information visit her website at www.melodybeattie.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

"Surrender happens of its own accord. It just dawns on me.

Then, peace of mind settles in, and my life starts to get more manageable."


Bob T.

STEP ONE

"WE ADMITTED WE WERE POWERLESS OVER OTHERS-THAT OUR LIVES HAD BECOME UNMANAGEABLE."

Step One of CoDA

The first time I heard this Step, I didn't get it. I didn't understand. It felt dark, scary, and untrue.

Powerless over others? My life -- unmanageable?

I thought I was in complete control of myself and others. I thought there was no circumstance too overwhelming, no feeling so great that I couldn't handle it by sheer force of willpower. I thought being in control was expected of me. It was my job. That's how I got through life!

And I thought my life looked so much more manageable than the lives of those around me -- until I started looking within. That's when I found the undercurrent of fear, anger, pain, loneliness, emptiness, and unmet needs that had controlled me most of my life.

That's when I took my eyes off the other person long enough to take a look at the state of affairs in my life.

That's when I began to find a life and come alive.

"I didn't know about power and powerlessness," said Mary, talking about the First Step. "Being a victim and being in control was how I was in power. If I was powerless, then someone else was in control."

Now we are learning a better way to own our power than being victims and being controlling. It begins by admitting and accepting the truth about ourselves and our relationships.

We are powerless over others. When we try to exert power where we have none, our lives at some level may become unmanageable. Let's take a look at some ways unmanageability can present itself in our lives, and where our ideas about controlling others -- or allowing them to control us -- began.

MY STORY

I can still remember the scene vividly, even though it happened more than a decade ago. Someone I cared about a lot was drinking. He was an alcoholic. And he wouldn't stop. I had done everything I could to make him stop. Nothing worked.

Nothing.

Neither was I able to stop my efforts to control his drinking. After yet another round of promises, forgiveness, then broken promises, I settled on the ultimate plan to make him stop drinking. I would show him how it felt to love someone who was using chemicals. I would make it look like I had returned to drug usage. That would get his attention. That would show him how much I hurt. Then he would stop.

Carefully, I set the stage. Although I had been clean of drugs for years, I laid out the paraphernalia of a user: a small packet with white powder in it (I used sugar); a spoon, burnt on one side; a piece of cotton in the spoon. Then I lay down on the couch to make it look like I was under the influence of narcotics.

A short time later, the person who was the focus (at that time) of my control efforts entered the room. He looked around, saw the spoon, saw me, and started to react. I jumped off the couch and started lecturing.

"See!" I screamed. "See how it feels to love someone and see them using chemicals! See how much it hurts! See what you've been doing to me for these years!"

His reaction was not nearly as important as my neighbor's reaction later that evening. "What you're doing is really crazy," she said, "and you need to go to Al-Anon."

It took me months to learn the truth: I didn't need to prove to the alcoholic how much I hurt. I needed to become aware of how much pain I was in. I needed to take care of myself.

That's only one of many incidents that shows the lengths I went to to control people. I was so good at seeing the behaviors, especially the out-of-control behaviors, of another. Yet I couldn't see unmanageability in my own life. I couldn't see myself. And I was trapped, locked into the victim role. People didn't just do things. They did things to me. No matter what happened, each event felt like a pointed attempt to do me in.

My ability to separate myself from others -- to separate my issues, my business, my affairs, and my responsibilities from the issues, business, affairs, and responsibilities of others -- was nonexistent, I blended into the rest of the world like an amoeba.

If someone needed something, I considered that need my personal and private responsibility, even if I was just guessing about what he or she needed. If someone had a feeling, it was my responsibility to work through it for him or her. If someone had a problem, it was mine to solve.

I didn't know how to say no. I didn't have a life of my own. I had a backlog of feelings from childhood, and chances were great that whatever I was reacting to today was probably a patterned reaction from childhood. Two weeks after I got married, I raced home from work, flung open the closet doors, and checked to see if my husband's clothes were still in the closet. I was certain I was going to be abandoned, left. I felt totally unlovable. And I didn't have the foggiest idea what it meant to own my power.

The base I operated from was fear, coupled with low self-esteem. I spent most of my time reacting to other people, trying to control them, allowing them to control me, and feeling confused by it all.

I thought I was doing everything right. Aren't people supposed to be perfect? Aren't people supposed to be stoic? Shouldn't we keep pushing forward, no matter how much it hurts? Isn't it good to give until it hurts, then keep giving until we're doubled over in pain? And how can we allow others to go about their life course? Isn't it our job to stop them, set them straight? Isn't that the right way, the good way, the Christian way?

The codependent way.

As many others have said about themselves, I wasn't me. I was whoever people wanted me to be, And I felt quite victimized and used up by it all. After years of practicing hard-line codependency, the unmanageability in my life was overwhelming. Some of my codependency I didn't understand until well into recovery.

When I began recovery I was more than $50,000 in debt, as a result of the unmanageability in my financial affairs. No amount was too great to be borrowed if it would help someone else.

My spirituality had been taxed to the limit. How many times had I prayed for God to change other people? How often had God refused? I thought God had abandoned me. I didn't know that I had abandoned myself. I didn't know that now that I was an adult, people couldn't abandon me. All they could do was leave.

In some instances, I may have been better off if they had.

My relationships with my children were chaotic. It's hard to be an effective parent when you're bound up in pain, denial, and repressed feelings and are regularly wishing for death.

My relationships with friends were strained. I had little to offer friends, except my perpetual complaints about the misery in my life. Most of my friendships centered around shared stories of victimization, interspersed with Rabelaisian humor to make it bearable.

"Guess who used me today?"

I had no feelings that I was aware of. I had no needs that I was aware of. I prided myself on my ability to endure needless suffering, deprive myself, and go without.

I neglected my career.

My health was failing. I spent years seeking medical treatment for nonspecific viruses. I had a hysterectomy. I had viral meningitis. I had gastritis. My back hurt. My head ached. Arthritis was beginning to settle in.

And I was only thirty-two years old.

Codependency is a powerful force. So is denial and the ability to ignore what is before our eyes. What's there has the power to hurt, especially when we feel helpless, vulnerable, frightened, and ashamed by it all.

STANLEY'S STORY

Stanley is a successful architect in his fifties. It took him sixteen years to notice the unmanageability and chaos in his life -- sixteen years of denying, putting up with, pretending, and going deeper into hiding within himself before he saw the truth,

Stanley's father is an alcoholic. Stanley's wife's father died of alcoholism. And after sixteen years of trying to control his youngest son, Stanley reached the point of emotional collapse.

"By the time our youngest son, John, was six, I knew we were in trouble," Stanley said. "He constantly fought at school. He was belligerent and refused to do his homework. At home, he caused problems. He hollered at his mother, swore at her, and sometimes hit her.

"My wife and I fought all the time. I tried to be understanding. She had special circumstances. She had been in the camps during World War II, and she believed children should be loved and adored. She didn't want us to discipline John.

"John caused complete chaos at home. He was bright. He knew how to push everyone's buttons. He had my wife and I fighting, his siblings and I fighting. He even had his grandparents going at it."

When John was ten, Stanley gave his wife an ultimatum: Either they sought professional help for John and the family or Stanley was moving out. They went to a psychologist who told them not to worry. John, the psychologist said, was a bright child, a bit precocious, but he'd grow out of this stage.

That session was the beginning of $20,000 (after insurance coverage) of fruitless family counseling.

When John was eleven, Stanley's wife threw up her arms in despair and walked out of a school counseling session. She was tired. She had given all she could to the situation. She vowed never to set foot inside a school again. A short time later she moved out, leaving Stanley to raise the three children alone.

By the time John was twelve, Stanley was spending more time in school than John. Stanley was there three days a week, explaining why John was only there two days a week.

"The only way I could get John graduated from ninth to tenth grade was by promising to leave that school system," Stanley said. "How c...

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

The book is easy to read and follow the thought process.
Joyce
This is a book that will change your life and help you to love yourself and others more if you are open for it and ready to surrender.
Rosie Bee
In working through my 12 step program, this is one of the best books I have used.
Epilady

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Parodi TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Melody Beattie is the author of CODEPENDENT NO MORE, the book that sold millions of copies the world over and made the word "codependent" a household word. Melody defines codependency as a state where you believe your happiness comes from a specific person, and then you become obsessed with controlling that other person. Very often, but not always, codependents find themselves in relationships with alcoholics, drug addicts, or people with other kinds of self-destructive compulsive habits and addictions. Inevitably, the codependent will become obsessed with trying to get their addicted spouse or "special person" off of that substance. The problem with this, however, is that the codependent does not see that they *themselves* have a problem for being constantly attracted to people who do not want to be helped; also, the codependent often *needs* to be needed and derives their self-esteem from being needed, which would explain the attraction to addicts (never mind the fact that addicts usually give up their addictions only when they themselves want to).
So, since codependents often find themselves involved with addicts, it is rather fitting that Melody Beattie has adapted the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous for aid in recovery from codependency and has written CODEPENDENTS' GUIDE TO THE 12 STEPS. Many of the steps of recovery from codependency are very similar to recovery from any addiction, including alcoholism, so not much has had to be altered in this adaptation. To my recollection, only the wording of the "first step" has been slightly changed, wherein the codependent does not admit to powerlessness over alcohol, but rather powerlessness over other people.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By AmethystRosee on March 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
There are many books out there on recovery; and after many yrs in recovery, some of us own most of those books! This is absolutely the best one I have come across as far as the steps go. Its format of explanation and "getting to the heart of the matter" in the steps, can apply to everyones journey, regardless of which program they are in. This book will enhance everyones recovery program as well as their spiritual path, because it hits the basics and gets to the roots of all healing and growth in a way we can all relate to. Thanks Melody!
This book is "Golden". I highly recommend it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is an essential tool for anyone wanting to work on their codependency, especially those of us who have worked the 12 Steps before. I related greatly to what Melody Beattie states in the introduction: The 12 Steps of AA helped relieve her obsession to drink and use, but her codependency issues remained until she applied the Steps to her codependency issues. That short sentence explained exactly where I was in my life when I came across this book. Now that I'm not just working the 12 Steps around my alcoholism and addiction, but also working the 12 Steps around codependency, I've been given a new freedom that I never knew was possible. Now, I'm not just a grateful alcoholic, I'm a grateful codependent!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Joanie McMillan on January 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book has been invaluable to me as a comforting and challenging resource, especially as I worked through a recent, highly painful relationship loss. I began to understand the 12 Steps much more clearly through Melody Beattie's clear and gentle explanations. Many people I know in 12-step programs use this book, finding that it resonates well with many different types of recovery work.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book both inspires us and provides us with direction in our lives. The author writes in such a gentle and inspiring way that you can not help but gather up your courage to break out of the chains that bind you to your past. The book also gives us very useful step by step guidelines about what we should do to grow out of the suffocating psychological walls we have built for ourselves. It is a fantastic book for anyone wanting to free themselves from their internal issues and move on with their lives! If you are interested in the theory of how all of this works, read "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato! It is an absolutely fantastic book that explains the psychological process that creates these negative states as well as the psychological process that enables us to grow out of them. These are the books that are presently guiding me to more and more freedom and happiness these days! I hope they do the same for you!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 1997
Format: Paperback
A small group of us used this book in working the 12 steps our some our basic co-dependency issues. This eased some of us 'newcomers' into the 12 step process in a nurturing manner. I could really relate and appreciate the stories and examples that Melody Beattie shares to relates the issues to so that I could comprehend. This book allowed some deep rooted issues to be explored and my process of recovery to flourish.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 1997
Format: Audio Cassette
Years ago when I was going through a painful divorce - this tape helped me keep sane even in the most insane moments. Helps you keep focused on yourself and what life has to offer you. Melody Beattie has spread the word about "living life a better way"
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?