by Rev. Pamela Anne Bro, Ph.D. Dec. 24, 2013
Last night, I went to Starbucks to avoid my pain and loneliness, and when I got there, it was empty–totally empty! What? But God is good: it was time to face the music—my life’s music. I’ve been loco—crazy, out of whack, running myself ragged with serving folks and trying to get them to love me. and now—
No more loco. I declare myself NO MO CO!
What is No Mo Co? “No More Co-dependent”!
(OK, I’ll be practicing this new belief system and behavior for a while but I’m starting TODAY.) Oh, I’ve been working with facing my codependence for decades. Years ago, my dear friend Pamela gave me a book on a 12 step program for women who were too busy, too hectic, too doing-everything-for-everybody. I worked the program but all by myself. You could say I was a “closet recoverer” which I now realize totally defeats the program. I felt like a failure if I let anyone know that I was not living a balanced life of caring for others and caring for myself. That was part of my dis-ease.
Now after having a slight (or major) breakdown last May realizing I was co-dependent with my church family (they never taught us to watch out for that in seminary–the Messiah complex—to save everyone you can)—and after discovering someone in my close circle of friends is now a crack addict in order to deal with their awful inner pain, and being exhausted wishing my life were different—I’m ready, God. I’m ready for the 12 steps—and I’ll begin with the first–
Which is to admit “I’m powerless to cure my addictions to workaholism and care-aholism by myself”—You see, God, I’ve gotten so much praise for being these things—from my congregants, to my children and mom, to my professors and friends when I got my Ph.D., working full time and raising two daughters…it was hard to give these strokes up. But now it’s harder not to.
Friends, I want to invite you to join me in this endeavor of reality-facing. Of course, many of you reading this are far ahead of me—wait up! No, don’t. Part of what I’m learning is that I’m responsible for myself and only myself; and the corollary is that you are responsible for yourself. How freeing, how liberating!
Instead of looking for someone to rescue in 2014, I’m looking to rescue myself. To love myself more by doing fun things, by lightening up and not carrying the world’s suffering on my back, by taking time to rest, to read, to sit by the Bay and wonder at the beauty of creation and the creatures, to read to little kids while I hug them, to jam with my musician friends in a few filled-with-the-lonely bars–
Oh thank you, Higher Power, Wiser Power, Kinder Power, for hanging in there and loving me until I could start loving myself. I know I’m a joy to many others; now I will be a joy to myself. And then I can truly sing, “Joy to the World”—watch out, here I come!