It’s not just about horses; another theme is living with someone else’s substance misuse, and how to heal from one’s own addiction to control.
Many Brave Fools you give us a glimpse into the chaos of your marriage to an addict as well as detailing your growing understanding of your own struggle with codependency. What is “codependency” and how did you first come to realize it is a word that plays a role in your life?
I quote Melody Beattie in the book and I think hers is the best definition of the condition I’ve come across: “A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.”
I resisted identifying as a codependent with every fiber of my being; the term would crop up in any number of the self- help books I read, and I’d cringe and skip over the text. I was hoping that my issues were more exotic, maybe, less jargon-y, and nothing at all that was best served by 12-step meetings.
The penny finally dropped when I married a substance misuser, and there was no other way to begin to cope with the chaos than to admit that I was codependent, an enabler, obsessed by my partner’s behavior, convinced that if he changed then our lives would be perfect. Only when I fully accepted my tendencies (and forgave myself for them) was I able to begin to move past the label and paradoxically, accept it as it applied to me.
Many Brave Fools: A Story of Addiction, Dysfunction, Codependency… and Horses debuts on the 5th of March