TC336: Cafe Book Club – Codependent No More – Ch 15 – 19

TC336: Cafe Book Club – Codependent No More – Ch 15 – 19

In this week’s Cafe Book Club, host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost discuss chapters 15 – 19 of Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself and the companion Codependent No More Workbook by Melody Beattie.

Chapter 15 – “Yes You Can Think”

In codependence, many of us don’t trust our minds. We truly understand the horror of indecision. The small choices such as what to order at a restaurant or what bottle of bleach to purchase paralyzes us. Big choices like what to do with our lives or who to live with or how to solve our problems can be overwhelming.

We must think, figure things out, decide what we need and want and decide how to solve our own problems.

Our ability to think may be clouded by lies we have believed, told to us or by ourselves (denial), chaos, stress, low self-esteem and repressed emotions.

Over-reacting can be spurred by wrongly thinking we must hurry or we must be perfect and by worrying about what others think.

“Should’s,” self-deprecating thoughts, low self-esteem and self-hatred can also make it hard to make decisions.

Not listening to what we want and need or telling ourselves what we want is wrong stops us from seeing informational tools to make choices and decisions.


Things to help us gain mental confidence:

  • Trust our minds to peace – get quiet before you make a decision. Maybe now is not the time to make a decision.
  • Ask God to help you think
  • Quit abusing your mind – worry and obsessing is mental abuse – stop it
  • Feed your mind – research choices
  • Feed your mind healthy thoughts – read and think positive thoughts
  • Stretch your mind – learn, read, take a class
  • Stop saying negative things about your mind – say positive things and they will come true
  • Use your mind – create, form opinions, make decisions (also let others use their mind)

Chapter 16 “Set Your Own Goals”

Learning How to Set Goals

  • Turn everything into a goal
    • Make solving a problem or making a decision into a goal
    • Make getting what you want or need into a goal
  • Omit the shoulds
  • Don’t limit yourself
  • Write goals on paper
  • Commit written goals to God
  • Let go – don’t obsess or worry
  • Do what you can, one day at a time
    • Follow your gut or desire
  • Set goals regularly and as needed
  • Check off reached goals
  • Celebrate and thank God for reached goals
  • Be patient

Chapter 17 “Communication”

Many Codependents:

  • manipulate
  • are people pleasers
  • are controlling
  • cover things up
  • assign/use guilt or try to alleviate guilt
  • repress feelings and thoughts
  • have ulterior motives
  • have low self-esteem or self-worth and feel a lot of shame
  • react inappropriately
  • allow abuse and use badgering as a tool
  • justify, rationalize, compensate and threaten

Codependent communication is indirect and not forthright, regardless of intention.

Fear of rejection fuels our inability to say who we are and what we want or need or allow others to do the same.

The words we speak reflect who we are. If we don’t love or trust our thoughts, feelings or wants and feel we are not worthy, we will judge others and expect them to have all the answers. We will control others to ensure they are “pleased” and force things to happen because that is all we have.

To speak openly and honestly is fun!

  • Who we are is okay.
  • Our feelings and wants are okay.
  • Our opinions count.
  • Its okay to discuss our problems.
  • Its okay to say no.

When your answer is “No,” start out with “No.” Don’t start with: I don’t think so…


  • I feel…
  • This is what I think…
  • This is what I need…
  • This is what I want…

It is not polite to lie about what you want, need, think or feel – It is lying.

Other phrases we should become comfortable with:

  • I love you but I love me too…
  • This is what I need to do to take care of me…

It is okay to ignore other people’s nonsense. We can tell others, “I am sorry you are having problems,” and then let it go. We don’t have to fix them.

Phrases we can use to defend ourselves:

  • I don’t want to discuss this…
  • This is my limit…
  • I will not tolerate this…

Work A Twelve Step Program

Chemical dependency and other compulsive disorders destroy beautiful, intelligent, sensitive, creative, loving people.

Some Twelve Step Programs:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous – Group for people addicted to alcohol
  • Al-Anon – Group for people affected by alcoholics
  • Alateen – Group for teenagers affected by alcoholics
  • Al-Atots – Group for children affected by alcoholics
  • Narcotics Anonymous – Group for people addicted to drugs
  • Nar-Anon – Group for people affected by drug addicts
  • Overeaters Anonymous – Group for people who eat compulsively
  • O-Anon – Group for people affected by food addicts
  • Family Anonymous – Group for people affected by addicts and those with behavioral issues
  • Emotions Anonymous – Group for people who want to live better with their emotional issues
  • Sex Addicts Anonymous – Group for people who compulsively engage in sexual behavior
  • Co-SA – Group for people affected by sex addicts
  • Gamblers Anonymous – Group for people who compulsively gamble
  • Gam-Anon – Group for people who are affected by compulsive gamblers
  • Parents Anonymous – Group for parents who are abusive to their children or fearful that they will become abusive

Self-help support groups are not only meant to help people overcome compulsive disorders or the affects of these compulsions but also a place where people can learn how to live peacefully, happily and successfully.

The Twelve Steps

  1. We admit we are powerless over ____________________ and our life has become unmanageable. We have given our authority away and we have controlled others. We know we incapable of having power over others – what they do, say, think, feel, or don’t do, say, think or feel. We can only change ourselves.
  2. Acknowledge a higher power [God] who can make our craziness into sanity. Being thankful that [God] is with us for every step and [God] will meet our spiritual needs.I must stop comparing myself to the people around me and live my life.
  3. Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to our Higher Power [God]. We have given our lives over to ____________________ and now we are putting it in the hands of our loving [God].God is responsible for all of it, who I am, whats happened to me, where I shall go or how I will get there.
  4. Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Take our eyes off others and look honestly at ourselves.
    • See what we are working with
    • How we have been affected
    • What we are doing
    • What our characteristics are
    • Root out other problems
    • Examine hurts and angers
    • See what role we have played in our lives
    • Examine our standards
    • Prepare to dump guilt and forgive ourselves
    • Accept ourselves and stop hating ourselves
    • Start a path to change
  5. Confession: Admit to God, ourselves and to another human the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We are ready to have God remove our defects of character. Our defense mechanisms have hurt ourselves and others and we are willing to change.
  7. Humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Make a list of people we have harmed and become ready to make amends
    • Don’t forget yourself
    • Don’t get stuck in guilt – dump it.
  9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible unless it would cause more harm to them or others.
    • Making amends is more than an apology; it includes paying back debts and changing behavior so we don’t hurt other people.
  10. Continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong admit it quickly. Evaluate behavior. Congratulate good choices, feel good about them and thank God. Dump guilt. No hating ourselves.
  11. Seek through prayer and meditation to improve our relationship with our Higher Power [God]. Pray for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to do it.
    • Rumination is over-thinking or obsessing about situations or life events. Rumination can cause depression, anxiety and other compulsive problems.
    • Meditation is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content.
    • Do this daily as many times as needed
    • Learn to trust God
  12. As we take care of ourselves spiritually we will love ourselves and others and we will become a light for others.
At meetings:
  • People just show up (no registration) and are themselves.
  • People speak about steps, experiences, traditions or topics related to the problem.
  • Slogans that work: “Let Go and Let God” “Easy Does It” “One Day At A Time”
  • Listening, sharing and fellowship is key.
  • Literature at home helps support what is learned at the group.
  • Steps are meant to be worked on.
  • We don’t do what we don’t want to do, find offensive or can’t do.
  • Meetings are something we do for ourselves
  • Health begets health so when others are choosing health they will inspire us and visa versa.

Chapter 19 – “Pieces & Bits”

Drama Addicts are people who have become addicted to problems and turmoil; problems have become a comfortable emotional experience
Drama Addicts:

  • get involved with problems that are not their own
  • think a peaceful life is boring
  • create problems

As we develop our lives, set goals and find things to do, peace will be comfortable.

Click the images below to order your copy of the book and workbook.

Cafe Book Club Schedule

You can join us live Tuesdays at 8 PM PST by calling 646-727-3206.

December 6: Part 1 : What’s Codependency, and Who’s Got It?  which covers chapters 1 – 4 of Codependent No More. Workbook Lesson 3 chap 3; Workbook Lesson 5 chap 4

December 13: Part 2: The Basics of Self-Care  chapters 5-9; Workbook Lesson 4 chap 7

December 20: Part 2 – The Basics of Self-Care Part 2 – Chapters 10-14; Workbook Lesson 3 chap 12; Workbook Lesson 6 chap 10

January 2: Part 2 Chapters 15-20; Workbook Lesson 7 chap 17; Workbook Lesson 8 chap 20; Workbook Lesson 9 chap 18

January 10: Interview with Catie Fitzgerald on Nutrition and Codependence

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