One year ago, I began my recovery process for codependency. It has been both the best and most challenging endeavor, full of healing, heartache, discovery, and liberation. In this podcast episode, I share about my recovery process so far and areas of my life it's impacted.
Specific time stamps for career, family, and relationships are below.
Podcast Streaming Links, Companion Video, & Transcript Below.
2:22 - Discussion about perfectionism/personal appearance & catching up about life
7:00 - Codependency recovery
9:25 - Discovering codependency
12:00 - Career Upheaval
18:53 - Applying recovery to family
24:00 - Getting engaged, being an empath & self-love
32:00 - No! lol
Transcription (Please Excuse Any Typos/Incorrect Grammar).
Hello and welcome to the Eclipse Evolution podcast. I’m your host Savannah Rose Johnson. It's so good to be with you all today, as it is every time we get together, but I think just especially I am just grateful for this space to be myself and to be seen by you all so just thank you for that and thank you for listening. There's a number of things I wanted to bring to you today and I think just starting out like I'm sorry that I haven't made an episode in a minute. My last one with Gabrielle was fantastic. Definitely check it out if you haven't already. She's an amazing person. and since then I've just been busy with life as it is. I mean I love all my clients but also took a little vacation, did some traveling, my dad got married, and had family and friends coming to visit so there's just July was over before it began like oh my goodness.
But also I started to notice kind of what I brought up in my pilot episode The perfectionism coming back up again and this pressure I've been putting on myself- for why I don't know- but this pressure I've been putting on myself again that like I have to talk about certain things or I shouldn't talk about certain things or even what’s been coming up a lot is like how I physically present in my podcast episode- which is kind of funny considering like a majority of my listeners like don't even see the video episodes- I’m sorry, one second- Sterling, no sir. my dog I have my dog in here but he's been like incessantly licking his paws lately good boy just hang out
I don't know, I just get over stimulated hearing that noise.
Anyways, yeah it's my physical appearance is something like that. I mean, I think I'm beautiful not to be conceited but like I mean I've worked really hard on my skin and my hair and everything. I mean don't give me wrong; I still love my clip in extensions and I still love my false lashes, like I do love the full Glam. But I started to realize it wasn't something I was doing for me at some point because I felt this pressure to like being a full Glam every time I did a podcast episode cuz I’m like: that's going to be what gets people to listen to my podcast is if I like look 10 out of 10 beautiful Etc. and I'm like thinking about it- because I'm not creating what I want to create at that point and I'm devaluing myself and what I have to share at that point.
So, I had to be real with myself about that. So that's why I just took a shower and literally just sat down and started talking right now cuz I think I needed to do it for myself more than anything. To be like: I don't have to have a full face of makeup; I don't have to have my hair be like full mermaid levels; I mean I got a decent amount of hair, I mean it’s wet right now. I started this podcast as a way to get back to myself. It just kind of makes me sad that I've so quickly deviated from that. I mean and I don't get me wrong I love having my guests on my podcast it's so much fun but when it comes down to like these solo recordings, I needed to kind of remind myself like I'm doing this for myself and I deserve to do it as myself and show up as myself and that be good enough.
So here we are. Cuz I just want my message to be something that's real and raw and honest and I mean cuz that's like that's why I need this you know. Cuz I need this… I need this podcast like for myself to connect in some ways cause I haven’t always been good at doing that. I’m definitely getting better; I’m definitely the most social, I feel like, I’ve ever been in my life. I have an amazing support group and like support system, and friends and community and I'm so grateful for that. Sorry, I have something in my eye. And at the same time like I still haven't been like giving to myself at the full capacity that I could be by deny myself something like that I just like that I just like to do for me. So again it's why I'm here today sharing.
But also another thing I wanted to reflect upon, and I think I mentioned this in a couple other episodes, like my recovery process with codependency which if those of you haven't seen that pilot episode or are familiar with codependency it's kind of nicknamed like a love addiction or like which is like different than like a sex addiction of course but it's more so like it's not like a a substance is my addiction it's like people and the influence that people have on me.
And so codependency follows the same cycle of addiction but again it's not like I'm getting a high from like heroin or like alcohol or something or whatever. It's like what influences me are people. Whether that’s not speaking my truth because I’m afraid of losing someone’s love if I’m honest with them, or me valuing other people's inputs more than my own, or me just like not trusting myself Etc. I mean it's showing up in a lot of ways.
But as of last week I've now been in my recovery process for a year, so hooray. It’s kind of hard to believe. It's been a heck of a year for sure. I mean overall I’m really proud of myself for beginning that process and sticking with it. It definitely was like what I needed and what I still need. I'm still working on it for sure. I feel like I'm just now really getting into my recovery. so what I mean by that is like I feel like the timeline of this past year my recovery process- like so I started August 1st of 2022- that's when I went to my first Codependents Anonymous meeting so similar to AA, like Alcoholics Anonymous, so it's the same kind of 12-step program but for people with the codependency. and I go to an all women's group which is helpful- keep it a safe space- but yes I started that August 1st and I feel like the first bit- and I've been keeping a journal every time I go to a meeting which is helpful- but I think the first like August, September, moving in October was like me really learning what codependency it is and seeing where it was really showing up for me and and just learning the different patterns: whether it's like how my control patterns show up, compliance patterns, low self-esteem patterns, denial patterns, avoidance patterns, so to name like the categories so to speak. And it’s different for everyone but everyone kinda usually falls into one of those categories, cherry-pick, or however it shows up for you.
But yeah so I was just kind of really learning like what that is. and I first got into codependents Anonymous or just my codependent recovery because of my romantic relationship because my partner and I were in couples counseling to kind of work on our adjustment to living together and some other things that we were needing to work through the communication and other stuff and so my personal therapist and then our couples therapist were both for like: umm this is codependency happening like we really see that going on. So I’m like “what is that” so I was just looking it up on Reddit, of all places, and found out like what codependents anonymous was and just hopped into a meeting and I was like oh my gosh finally something that explains what I've been dealing with. It was hard to see that in a lot of ways I was bawling my eyes out, sobbing for the first, I would say like a handful of months in my meetings, I was always crying just cuz there is so much going on.
I was seeing myself; I was feeling relief; I was feeling hope cuz I knew that there's a structure like and people who are like me; I was also feeling ashamed for certain things; I was feeling sadness for myself, everything like there's so much going on. So I'm really really grateful I found that recovery process cuz I don't know if I would be without it. I know where I've been without it and it wasn't healthy a lot of times especially my romantic relationships and then again that's kind of what it started or why I started that process in my committed partnership cuz I like love this man so much and I oh my gosh like why like is the stuff I continuing to happen. So it was like something I wanted to do for both of us but then it really has become something that I'm just saying for myself now, which feels really good to say.
So yeah once I was able to kind of work some of you a lot of the pressure lifted and things started to get a lot better really quickly so I was really happy for that and then the focus turned to my career.
I was able to see how codependency has like bled into so many different things in my life. And so again like I started the recovery process for my romantic relationship then seeing how codependency was like just poisoning my career- and I don't really mean like my one-on-one appointments with clients. This is back when I was in the more corporate environment at a private company and I had worked my way up in the company over a few years and stuff. And really seeing how me not advocating for myself was leading to extreme burnout. And how I was just- like my higher power, what was really controlling me, like the people that were my addiction so to speak- like influencing me were by like my team, my bosses especially.
And that was really painful to see because once I started to apply my recovery to this context, like my career, there was so much pushback. When I started to advocate for a higher wage or more boundaries around my job description, workload, my status, like my roles- everything- there was a lot of pushback. I really had to stand my ground and stay focused on my recovery and what I deserve. And then when I got sick after Thanksgiving, it was like my body was kind of telling me like: girl wake up and smell the bacon cause it has been cooking. And it is burning. Like that bacon is charred. That is charred.
And so that’s when I started my podcast, kind of down the road. I had this like awakening basically where I had to kind of take a sabbatical in December to get my health right. But also like scale back on my workload and really see what was going on with me and like how much work was contributing to what I was going through. And it became very clear like that it wasn't just like me being sick it was my body reacting to all the stress that I've been under for a long time and as soon as I really started to advocate for change and what I needed and that not really be granted, it just I just couldn't go on essentially with that place.
So that's why I quit or resigned whatever you want to call it in January. And stuck around for a little while to train new people but even then it was like so hard to keep sustaining boundaries because people kept wanting to pull me back in, or they kept relying on me for too much.
And I was trying to just stick around just to focus on my clinical work but I couldn’t even be in that environment, I would just feel so anxious and would need a day to recover just from being in that environment. And I just had no respect for the people that I used to work for anymore either because they were so horrible to me in my resignation meeting- just awful It was a traumatizing meeting. I won’t really get into that but it was awful. and I am I'm really proud of myself for standing my ground and not giving into their manipulation tactics but I really got to see their true colors.
I call it, My Wizard of Oz moment cuz they went from being these Larger than Life people that I gave all my power to you and held them with this huge Authority, believed everything that they said, to really see them as- kind of when I “saw behind the curtain” like in The Wizard of Oz- really seeing them as these people with tricks and tactics and who were just looking out for themselves, I mean as business people do. But the personal enmeshment that had been going on simultaneously through all this had made me blind to all the ways I was being abused and taken advantage of and exploited.
And it took me a long time to really even be able to call it for what it was and I still felt this guilt I still felt this loyalty to them. And then when I found out this phenomenon called corporate Stockholm syndrome- when I found out that that was a thing- I cannot tell you how much I identify with that phenomenon. And it was so clear to me but that was my situation, that was the weird complex trauma that I've been going through at this workplace. Oops, I bumped my phone camera. So that was really validating; it was hard; it was a huge grief process.
And that's when I started my podcast cuz I was like, I've got to process what I'm going through somehow, like I've got to make meaning out of my life somehow now. Cuz it was such a huge- it was my life- and I didn't know who I was without that job in some ways cuz I got all my sense of self-worth from that place: my whole Community, my whole like chosen family was all in that place, which is the reason why it made it so challenging to leave. And it's so interesting now that I've left how I only really stay in touch with maybe three people. Like these people that I thought were like my- I held them like family to me- and I would do whatever they said cuz I cared about them and wanted to you know make their life easier at the cost of myself and my sanity- haven't heard from them hardly at all. So it just blows my mind. Just blows my mind. So that was from like November to- you know- I ended up leaving- really cutting the cords from that place early May.
All the while going through a lot of codependent recovery, having to apply it to my family, simultaneously. So like late January, early February/March kinda having a big kind of- I wouldn't have called it initially a falling out- but with one of my family members. It became clear to me how much of an imbalance there was in the relationship, as far as me giving more to that relationship and then they would give to me. And how this person constantly- we’d be on the phone and they would just tell me all about their life, and I would give them advice, and be there for them, listen to them; and then when it came down to- you know, if we even continued the conversation- a lot of times they would just be like “okay bye!” and that would be it. So yeah there's like nothing that I would really get to share. But if I did get to share my own stuff, it felt very superficial, and I could hear them doing dishes in the background or walking their dog. So it's like they weren’t really present with me in the same way that I was being present for them. And then when they started having relationship problems, I mean I dropped everything and was there for them, talking with them constantly throughout the day for several days in a row and giving them all this advice and support that they were asking for. And then like you know when push comes to shove and they're like keeping me all updated on their their break up with their partner- how it's just so obvious that they were in their own codependent cycle and repeating a lot of their own patterns from past relationships- like I was just trying to support them and help them see that they deserve better. But you know, everyone's recovery process is their own and sometimes people don't choose recovery, which is, you know, their Journey. And then they get back together with their partner, and a week later they're engaged, and then a few months later they're married.
And mind you, when they get back together you know I told them how I felt, I told them what I thought. I'm like what are you doing like weren't y'all just in this nasty break up that was awful? Weren’t you just telling me all this crazy stuff that they said or did? Or like where did all that go? did it just get shoved under the rug? like what is happening?
It was just so evident to me that… It was just hard to watch and hard to be there for them At that point. Especially when they started to make it out like I was the bad guy for being honest with them, pointing out the truth that was occurring.
And then they just stop talking to me. And we didn't talk for a while. And there's this concept called dysfunctional optimism, which is basically like a fancy way of saying sweeping it all under the rug. And I could tell that they were trying to do that at some points like acting like nothing happened if we did interact with each other. And that's just.. I can't. I can't. I can't! It goes against my recovery; it goes against my morals that comes down to being authentic; like it's just-I wasn't here for it. Cuz I still hadn't gotten any acknowledgement of how they treated me and how they used me up during their whole conflict period and break up period and then went against what I said. And you know when I told them how that made me feel, how it really hurt- like just no acknowledgment at all hardly. It was just like “I'm sorry” but that was it- Like I’m sorry for what? But there was just nothing. So I’m not trying to control their life or like their choices but I can’t have a person like that, regardless if they're my blood relative or not- I can't have a person like that in my inner circle. So there was a huge grieving period that really also, I mean helped me see that this wasn't an isolated event either- this has been a pattern in our relationship for kind of as long as I can remember: like me really wanting a relationship with them and holding them to this high regard, and kind of giving or excusing some of their behavior. And really seeing it for what it was, was really hard. But I'm glad cuz I just do not have the energy to give that person anymore. Of course it's awkward when we have to see each other and I can tell they're like salty at me. And I hear, through the Grapevine of course, never directly to me- but I hear through the grapevine of our family like they're still mad at me. And I'm like: mad at me for what? I don't know. I don't know.
But anyways all that to say, that it's interesting how like the codependent recovery has just evolved from like one relationship, to another circumstance, to another relationship, come full circle back to my romantic relationship now that you know we're engaged.
And being engaged… It brings up a lot. It does. That kind of pressure of like: oh I'm going to be with this person forever- some people handle that better than others. I know for me it initially brought up a lot of childhood trauma where I was like having to face a lot of fears and insecurities. But it ultimately pushed me with my codependent recovery to really hone in on the relationship with myself and I'm so grateful for that because like I deserve a loving relationship. And I deserve a marriage with the partner who's an equal partner who's trustworthy. And I deserve to set boundaries, and speak how I feel, and if someone can't show up for me in that way- then that's okay- but also like I don't have to make myself small just because I'm afraid of losing someone. So that's something that I'm still kind of working on. Is not suppressing how I feel or not taking on someone else's feelings. Like for example sometimes would be afraid to share if I was hurt because I didn't want that person to feel bad but they're the one that hurt me like what? Like it sounds crazy but that's how it was like as a very empathetic, codependent person. Like I would just carry it all on myself and I'm just absolutely exhausted at this point. So I'm still working things out.
But all that to say, this codependent recovery- I mean the name of the game is building a healthy relationship with oneself. And I can really say like for the first time in my life that I like truly love myself which is kind of crazy. But not crazy, but it's almost sad because I’m twenty-five, I’ll be twenty-six in about a month. But I really have stretched my whole definition of what self love is cuz at first I just thought it was superficial like: oh I think I'm pretty, or I'm cute, or I'm successful, or whatever. But then I'm still struggling with insecurity. Or I’m still struggling with making the hard choices for myself, or doing the hard things, or like holding myself accountable, even facing fears and stuff. And now I see like it's those things that are truly self-love. It's not like buying myself nice stuff or doing fun things all the time. I mean yes, that stuff is important, like self-care is important. But I really see where my self love was weak in doing the hard things for myself. And really advocating for how I feel- because I'm a big feeling person; I feel a lot of big things, and I feel very deeply. And then I also give my all to things- which I don't want to change that about myself; I love that about myself.
But also knowing that that is so valuable, and how that deserves to be protected, and that I have to be the one to value that, I have to be the one to protect myself, and not just give myself away with hopes that I might get something back, but only give if I'm truly receiving. And also allowing myself to receive because that's a vulnerable thing too. And I really struggled with allowing myself to receive support cuz I would feel like a burden, or I'd feel like it'd be used against me, or I was just afraid to be seen or take up space. But now I'm so grateful that I'm really working through and letting go of those limiting self-beliefs- especially right now cuz I- I really need it I really need it more than ever. I mean things are going fairly well in my life right now. I'm really happy with my career. and I'm really happy with my all my fur babies. and like you know all the relationships that I have right now, but there are still some things that I'm working through and still some things that are needing to get worked out in relationships as well. But I feel like I'm really able to hold myself and hold those emotions and not take steps backwards on advocating for myself because I just because I can't tolerate the discomfort, or I can't tolerate the fear of maybe losing someone. It's like I can feel those things; I can feel that discomfort; and feel that fear; but I don't let it control me anymore and I'm able to hold myself through it and tolerate it and show myself love as I'm feeling that and I'm able to actually move through it and feel better and feel stronger and not feel like I'm compromising on my my values or compromising on what I deserve. And that is an accomplishment. And even just saying that like- I laugh a little bit because it's what I preach to my clients all the time, I’m like you’re the best, like you're a queen,or like you're amazing, Etc. It's like I am so good at being that cheerleader for other people.
But really learning how to do that for myself is helping me also show up better for other people too. But more so, like I'm really able to.. Trying to think of how phrase it… I'm just proud of myself. Because like what I'm doing is not easy. I have to be like cliche where it's like “just one day at a time” but truly I cannot attach to a certain outcome; I cannot attach to the future. I mean of course it's different than having goals but like especially when it comes on the other people I have to really surrender to what could happen- not change my standards- but have to like accept that they may not be able to show up for me in the way that I deserve or in the way that I communicate to them that I need or whatever the case may be. And that's them. And you know I'm me. And I don't have to do that work for them. I don't have to get on my knees and beg for them to love me, and the way that I need them to love me, or respect me, or like tell them not to violate my boundaries. No, no! And so, all that being said, that’s kinda how I’m expanding this definition of self love. And again I'm really proud of myself for that, and grateful for that, and just thank you to my whole support system, and my friends, and chosen family, and just everyone who has really been there for me through this process. And thank you for listening, for being here for me in this process as well. And I hope that you're able to learn from my journey and apply it to your own life however you see fit. And yeah it's special. Life is weird. Life is so weird sometimes. But you know I'm grateful for it.
So with that, I think that's all I have to share about that. So yeah one year codependent recovery and now that I'm learning what it is and how it shows up for me and how to be different. I'm really learning and I'm really doing the different stuff now. It feels good; it feels really good. So yeah, if it’s a worthwhile investigation for you, I encourage you to check out books, literature, meetings, whatever. And if I can support you in any way, if you have any questions, just let me know. But with that, thanks again for being on this journey with me. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, and subscribe, like, whatever, follow if you -excuse me- want to keep up to date or stay connected. But regardless, I appreciate you listening today and bye for now.