How-To Bounce Back From Hitting
a Codependent Bottom*
When a Codependent Bottom Is a Blessing
A “codependent bottom” is a dark and hopeless place mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s a place of despair, fear, and brokenness. It’s equivalent to the “Dark Night of the Soul.” However, if you have gotten to such a low place that you feel you have hit a “bottom,” this can be a good thing! Bottoms can be our greatest teachers. Bottoms can be the starting point we need. After all, we can only go up from there.
What to Do When You Reach a Codependent Bottom
If you don’t want to go any lower, then recognize your bottom. Acknowledge the bottom. This is crucial. You need this awareness first. The bottom is full of lessons learned and not learned. The bottom can be the memorable moment that we need to remember so that we don’t repeat the patterns that caused us to be in such an awful state.
If you have lost your health, money, home, children, job, family, or other precious things—it’s time to recognize your bottom. Alcoholic-codependent relationships are generally toxic and progressively destructive. The attachment disorder of the codependent can cause them to cling to abusers and to the alcoholic who is sick and suffering. Generally, the whole family is affected by alcoholism. In the past, the codependent used to be called the co-alcoholic, and there was a reason for this. The attached person is also sick and will lie, hide, cover up, deny, minimize, make excuses, justify, and feel sorry for the alcoholic causing harm to themselves and their family. Unfortunately, without meaning to, sick codependents become part of the problem.
Start Your Codependency Recovery Journey
To step into the solution, the codependent needs help, too. Often they are full of pride and too embarrassed to ask for help. Often they are the more competent individual in the relationship, thinking they don’t need help. They tend to micromanage and run on stress the chemicals of anxiety and worry. Self-righteousness can get in the way of the codependent who also needs help and is suffering but may not acknowledge it. From my twenty years of studying codependency very close-up and personal, the right support is crucial for the suffering codependent. A bad therapist, an inexperienced domestic violence counselor, and an unequipped friend can offer advice and counsel that is detrimental in the case of an alcoholic-codependent relationship. It’s important that codependent survivors get competent support from a knowledgeable professional who understands not only alcoholism, but also codependency, coercive control, Al-Anon, and narcissistic abuse.
Here are the 2 key ways to bounce back from a codependent bottom.
1. Get Help
You will need help just like an alcoholic who needs help getting sobriety. Recovering alcoholics go to treatment centers, AA, doctors, and therapists to maintain their health. The same is true for the suffering codependent. We need emotional support and help to face our problems and dilemmas. We need to get emotionally sober and sane. Retreats are great for codependents who need to get away, detach, unhook, and heal. Personally, I have been on hundreds for this exact reason. There may not be codependent detox centers, but a spiritual or yoga center can be a safe place to retreat. Get recommendations from local/fellow Al-Anon members. They tend to know the good places to go.
2. Get Time to Heal
The codependent needs time to self-heal, self-reflect, and develop self-trust. Having been in a toxic relationship can diminish not just self-esteem but self-worth. Being in an abusive relationship or a traumatic/triggering relationship doesn’t allow for proper healing and assessment. Healing takes time and needs to be done in a safe environment. At a codependent bottom, a person needs to wrap a cocoon of safety around them and do the necessary healing physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Here’s what I have learned. . . While a codependent may be afraid to be alone, they need this necessary self-healing time. Think of it as sacred, holy solitude.
Main things to heal:
- Self-doubt sickness
- Any/all confusion
- Shattered self-esteem
- Lost sense of self-worth
- Broken self-trust
- Years of self-sabotage, self-neglect, self-betrayal
- PTSD & C-PTSD
Maintaining Your Codependency Recovery
It’s key to stay active in your codependency recovery. Overcome your own bad habits, addiction, compulsions, and codependent cravings. Besides the obstacle of the alcoholic’s dysfunction, you will face the obstacle of you. We have to focus on our own healing to get better. We must recognize our need for healing, health, and sanity.
The bottom line is: It’s your responsibility to heal from the pain of an alcoholic relationship. It’s not the alcoholic’s responsibility to heal your hurt (even if he caused it). Looking to the alcoholic to heal the pain he caused is the number one way you get trauma-bonded. Avoid this!
This means that your “codependent bottom” is your responsibility. Take your power back by recognizing that you do have choices. Your choice to get up off a codependent bottom is an esteemable act. Build your self-esteem, healthy choice by health choice. You can learn to self-partner instead of trying to partner with the alcoholic to get the life and love you want. Step into the self-love solution and save yourself. It’s a hero’s journey where you become the heroine of your own life. Know that if you can learn, you can get better, so learn all you can from your codependent bottom. See the choices you made that got you there. Correct your thinking and behavior. Make this bottom be your blessing that launches you into a better life!
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—Grace W. Wroldson, mother, survivor, thriver, certified life coach, and author of 5 self-help books available on Amazon.
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*Disclaimer: These are the thoughts and opinions of the author only—based on her experience and successes. Situations, cases, and details vary greatly. (So, what worked for this author may not work for you.) The author is not a licensed mental health professional. If you are dealing with serious problems, it’s best to get a qualified professional to help you who is trauma-informed. This is not a substitute for any needed psychotherapy/counseling for you. The author is not liable to any harm, injury, or litigation as the result of these tips. Please take what you find useful and leave the rest. Reach out to well-established programs that deal with codependency recovery—like CODA and Al-Anon. Get the help that you need.