You may be wondering: ‘Am I Co-Dependent?’ ‘What is Co-Dependence?’ Many of us want precise definitions and diagnostic criteria before we will decide. At CoDA, we respectfully allow psychiatric and psychological professionals to provide these, but what we do offer from our own experience are characteristic attitudes and behaviour patterns that describe what our co-dependent histories have been like.
We believe that recovery begins with an honest self-diagnosis. We came to accept our inability to maintain healthy and nurturing relationships with ourselves and others. We began to recognise that the cause lay in long-standing destructive patterns of living. We have found these patterns to fall into four major categories: denial, low self-esteem, compliance and control. The checklist of patterns and characteristics is offered as a tool to aid in self-evaluation. It may be particularly helpful to newcomers as they begin to understand co-dependence. It may also aid those who have been in recovery for a while to determine what traits still need attention and transformation.
After completing this checklist we suggest that you continue attending CoDA meetings for several weeks. Listen to the similarities and not the differences. Search out members of the fellowship you believe you can trust and discuss your checklist answers with them. If you come to accept that you are, indeed, co-dependent, then you will be ready to begin the Twelve Steps of recovery, and to seek a sponsor to guide you through the process.