The purpose of this work is to know what CoDA is, to know the different circumstances that draw people to CoDA, and to determine how CoDA relate and help these people. Another objective is to identify the system CoDA uses in order to help people suffering from loss of self direction. By trying to understand the circumstances that revolve around the disruption of self-direction brought about by uncoupling, an analysis of possible courses of action to avoid such human suffering is drawn. Based on the facts gathered, it is difficult to recommend an exact course of action to avoid such human tragedy.
Co-Dependents Anonymous: Guiding After Uncoupling After reading the first few sentences in chapter three of “Codependent Forevermore: The Invention of Self in a Twelve-Step Group”, I came across the word “CoDA” or “Co-Dependents Anonymous” (Irvine, 1999). My initial reaction is to ask myself what is CoDA? The next question that immediately followed my mind, amusingly this time, is CoDA a dating group? Am I eligible to join? Not until I read a few more sentences did I realize there is nothing funny on what I am reading. In fact, there is nothing more serious than trying to resolve the turmoil that uncoupling does to a person.
Uncoupling or breaking up of a relationship has many forms but all brought social and emotional disruption to a person (Irvine, 1999, p. 43). Reading between the lines, I came to the conclusion that one of the general objectives of CoDA is to build up healthy relations by providing companionship to people suffering from disruptions as a result of uncoupling. Uncoupling, in turn, is the breakup of relationships usually resulting to separation or divorce (Irvine, 1999, p. 43). Many who seek support from CoDA had multiple failed marriages and the average age level is forty to forty five.
At this point, my interest in the subject shoots up. I can’t help but imagine what if it happens to me? What shall I do? Why do people get into those predicaments in the first place? Is there a connection between age and the number of times having a failed marriage? According to the text, people who had undergone a divorce are more likely to encounter another one. The feeling of being free again provides the individual with renewed courage to enter into another relationship which, in turn, presents another opportunity for uncoupling (Irvine, 1999, p. 43).
I am not so sure it is correct to consider one’s previous divorce as basis of the probability to experience another divorce per se. However, it is my understanding that it takes time to develop a good relationship, and then realize the incompatibilities between the couple, arrange the divorce, heal the wounds brought by the separation, then start all over again. No wonder people who finally gave up and succumbed to feelings of exhaustion are already at their forties. There are many forms of disruptions, and at various levels, which can be attributed to failed marriages.
However, the most devastating to a person is the loss of self and not the loss of another person. A couple is formed by two people beginning a commitment and gradually merging their identities into a single social unit. Once they established their relationship as a couple, all their friends, social life, household, and even future become a common feature of their relationship (Irvine, 1999, p. 44). In simplest term, the couple functions as one. For whatever reason, once this relationship breaks up, one or both individuals will experience a feeling of helplessness, emptiness, devastation, and total loss (Irvine, 1999, p.
47). This feeling of loss is what draws people to seek help from CoDA (Irvine, 1999, p. 44). The role of CoDA is to help people recover from the disruptions or self loss resulting from uncoupling. By providing CoDA members with a guide to assess what went wrong with their lives and initiating programs of sharing and listening to other people, the individuals are given a new hope and purpose in life (Irvine, 1999, p. 49). The main strategy of CoDA is to teach their participants the proper way to communicate with other participants.
CoDA believes, through narration and storytelling of participants’ accounts of past experiences, the individuals will finally discover what went wrong with their relationships and thereby provide a new tool to start a new life. CoDA devised a format to follow for the narration. The format is divided into five parts namely, abusive childhoods and the origins of codependency, excusing dysfunction, hitting the bottom, working a program, and lastly, redeeming the past (Irvine, 1999, p. 54-59). In my opinion, cases of uncoupling and eventual feeling of self loss will never stop and will continue to happen for as long as humanity exists.
Events, surroundings, experiences, and knowledge absorbed during the course of every individual’s life contributes to the over all behavior, character, and line of thinking of that individual. Perceptions of love, relationships, marriage, family, and other aspects of life are unique in every person. One can only hope to meet and be along with someone having the same perception which, I believe, is the foundation of a lasting relationship. I am not in a position to generalize and recommend solutions to avoid personal grief, anguish, and feeling of hopelessness brought by uncoupling. Nor am I trying to. Factors to be considered are immense.
I can only express my personal thought. I suppose it is important for both individuals in a relationship to have the same view in pursuing a relationship. In simplest terms, both should agree that they love each other, that they are willing to sacrifice personal wants and demands if it is not in favor of the relationship, and that they are both willing to undergo hardships and trials together. Believing they will win and overcome those sufferings because they have each other. Both personages should agree on the kind of relationship they will have, the dreams they will share, and the family that they will build.
All these issues, looks simple, are probably connected to other complicated circumstances. No matter what the simplicity or the complexity of the situations, if one or both of the individuals concerned give up on their struggles, it will be the start of the end of the relationship. The multitudes of ways how people can cope up with self loss are as many as the cases of uncoupling. One thing is for sure, the Co- Dependents Anonymous is there to help. And thank God for that!
Irvine, Leslie (1999). Codependent Forevermore: The Invention of Self in a Twelve-Step Group. University of Chicago. 43-63.
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