"My ego strength helped me to stay sober in the beginning of my recovery. It helped me to stay sober long enough to get into recovery from my codependency. My recovery from codependency led me into starting to dismantle my ego defenses. Breaking through my denial and rationalizations helped me to start getting emotionally honest with myself. Emotional honesty forced me to start owning the incredible reservoirs of grief and rage I was carrying. By the spring of 1988, my ego defenses had been weakened enough that the dam broke and my feelings started pouring forth. That was when I got the gift of entering another treatment center where I started learning how to deal with that grief and rage."On this page is the sixth chapter of an online book by codependency therapist/Spiritual teacher.
"What I wanted, when I started recovery, was to stop living life in so much pain. My selfish, human, primal instincts - arising from my ego - were focused on stopping the pain. But because my ego programming from early childhood was dysfunctional - was not aligned with the way life really works - that programming was actually causing me to keep repeating patterns that kept me in a state of suffering.
My ego wanted desperately to stop the pain, but my ego defenses kept me suffering. This is the quintessential dilemma of codependency. The problem is internal, in our relationship with self, and we were taught to look externally for the answer / solution / escape - and to shame and judge ourselves for the internal conflict."
"I started to understand that trying to avoid the pain was what was causing the suffering. The twelve step process forced me to look at, take inventory of, me and my responsibility in creating that pain and suffering - at the same time it made it possible for me to tolerate looking at myself. The concept that I was powerlessness over my disease, my conditioning, meant that maybe I wasn't shameful and defective as a being - maybe it wasn't all my fault. While the concept of powerlessness opened up the possibility of a spiritual relationship with life and self by removing some of the shame I was feeling, the inventory process forced me to start looking at, and taking responsibility for, my part - for those areas in which I do have some power and can exercise some control."
"Humility means to stop judging and shaming ourselves for being imperfect humans. Humility means to own the inherent dignity and worth we have because we are children of God / extensions of the Goddess. Humility means being open to being teachable, being willing to surrender any ego definitions or dysfunctional beliefs that are blocking us from being able to open up to the possibility that we are Lovable and worthy.
In childhood I got the message that I was supposed to be perfect, to do life "right," in order to get to happily ever after. It is impossible to do life perfectly. Life for humans involves change. It is how we respond to change that determines the quality of our relationship with life."
"I was very blessed, because I was genetically set up to be an alcoholic. Alcoholism brought me to my knees so that I was forced to start dealing with my feelings. The progressive nature of the disease of alcoholism (Questions about Alcoholism - link below) caused me to hit an emotional bottom where it was impossible for me to stay in denial of how alcohol and drugs - which for many years had been my best friend in the internal war I was fighting with my own emotions - had turned on me and were now plunging me into the abyss of pain and shame within that I was trying so hard to avoid. I had to start becoming conscious of, and owning my power to change, the subconscious programming that kept me in denial of my feelings. I had to surrender some ego definitions in order to survive."
to a page of
The Web Site of Spiritual Teacher, codependence counselor, grief therapist, author, Robert Burney and Joy to You & Me Enterprises
Go to Home Page
Robert is the author of the Joyously inspirational book
The Dance of Wounded Souls
|Included on this page are
quotes from both
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded
Souls and from other copyrighted work by Robert Burney. Online
pages quoted within this chapter will be linked so that they open in a
separate browser window - with the exception of any web articles referenced
which are quite long, or for some other reason not conducive to internal
linking. Links will be provided at the bottom of this page to any
such web pages.
This is Chapter 6 of a book being published online as it is written. To find out more about the genesis of this work you can go to Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life: Author's Foreword
Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light
Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life
Chapter 6: ego strength and self worth
I feel that my life Truly began on January 3rd, 1984. That was the day I entered a chemical dependency treatment center (aptly called the Independence Center) and started to learn how to live life clean and sober. One of the reasons I was able to stay clean and sober was because I had a considerable amount of ego strength. I had some strengths and talents that caused me to think that I was better than other people. That ego strength was my defense against the shame I felt at the core of my relationship with myself. I had a capacity for denial and rationalization that had helped me buy into the lie that other people were to blame for the failed wreckage my life had become.
I used that ego strength - and the false pride that told me I was better than other people - to help me stay sober. One of the ways I did that was to make my sobriety date very important to me. If I drank again, I would lose my sobriety date - and there was no way I wanted people who had less sobriety than me to get ahead of me. My twisted, distorted codependent thinking allowed me to turn sobriety into some kind of race that I was winning over some people.
My ego strength helped me to stay sober in the beginning of my recovery. It helped me to stay sober long enough to get into recovery from my codependency. My recovery from codependency led me into starting to dismantle my ego defenses. Breaking through my denial and rationalizations helped me to start getting emotionally honest with myself. Emotional honesty forced me to start owning the incredible reservoirs of grief and rage I was carrying. By the spring of 1988, my ego defenses had been weakened enough that the dam broke and my feelings started pouring forth. That was when I got the gift of entering another treatment center where I started learning how to deal with that grief and rage. . . . .
. . . . . . One of the cornerstone principles of the twelve step process
is humility. Humility is required for growth to occur. On one
level what humility means is to be teachable - to be open to growing and
This page is no longer available on the regular web site. To view this page, it is now necessary to pay a fee for access to the Dancing in Light section of Joy2MeU.com On this page are quotes from, and section headings of, the original article. The page with information on how to subscribe is Dancing in Light.
September 2005 - Chapters 3 through 15
of this work are now exclusively available in the Dancing
in Light pay to view component of Joy2MeU.com
Questions about AlcoholismAttack on America - A Spiritual Healing Perspective