From the Book: "Beyond Codependency" by Melody Beattie

"Recycling Tips"

"Although I don't have a fomula for self-care and learning life's lessons, I've collected some tips that may help during recycling:


If it feels crazy, it probably is. Often when we run 
into a crazy system, our first reaction is still to wonder what's 
wrong with us. We can trust some people, but we can't trust everyone. 
We can trust ourselves. 

If we're protecting ourselves, something may 
be threatening us. Maybe a trigger is reminding us of the old days or 
an old message is sabotoging us. 

When one method of problem solving fails, try another. Sometimes we get 
stuck. WE encounter a problem, decide to solve it a certain way, fail, 
then repeatedly, sometimes for years, try to solve that problem in the 
same way, even though that way doesn't work. Re-group and try something else. 

Self-will doesn't work any better during recovery than it did before. 
Surrendering does work. Sometimes in recycling, we're going through the 
process of denying a problem that's creeping into our awareness. When 
self-will fails, try surrender. 

Feelings of guilt, pity, and obligation are to the codependent as the 
first drink is to the alcoholic. Watch out for what happens next. 

Trying to recoup our losses generally doesn't work. 'If I look back 
and stare at my losses to long, they gain on me'; 'I've learned to take 
them and run'. 

We cannot simultaneously set a boundary and take care of the other person's 

Today isn't yesterday. Things change. 

We don't have to do more today than we can reasonably do. If we are tired, 
rest. If we need to play, play. The work will get done. 

When depressed, look to see if anger, shame, or guilt is present. 

If we're not certain, we can wait. 

It's hard to feel compassion for someone while that person is using or 
victimizing us. We'll probably feel angry. First, we stop allowing 
ourselves to be used. Then, we work toward compassion. Anger can 
motivate us to set boundaries, but we don't need to stay resentful 
to keep taking care of ourselves. 

If we listen to ourselves, we'll probably hear ourselves say what the 
problem is. The next step is acceptance. 

We never outgrow our need for nurturing and self-care.  

If everything looks black, we've probably got our eyes shut.

When all else fails, try gratitude. Sometimes, that's what we're supposed to be learning. If we can't think of anything to be grateful about, be grateful anyway. Will gratitude. Fake it if necessary. Sometimes in recycling we need to change something we're doing. Sometimes things are being worked out in us, important intangibles that may not be clear for months or years, things like patience, faith, and self-esteem.

Come to think of it maybe we should call it [recycling] 'cycles of growth'. Or maybe we should call it 'growth'.

  • "Toxic Shame"
  • "Taking Care Of Ourselves"
  • Main Codependent's Page
  • Soul's Self-Help

  • as of September 24, 2000