i attended my first CODA meeting with 2 friends, however i will not disclose their identities due to issues of confidentiality, let's just say they are both in mental health and both ride bikes. we arrived late, so any chances of sneaking in unnoticed and anonymously were crushed. the room was wall to wall people pleasers, wall to wall baby boomer people pleasers. and us.
the group were in the middle of reading out the 12 steps, i was really hoping for it not to turn into a touchy feely "nurture-your-inner-child-you-are-unique-and-beautiful-fest", this is what i do to other people after all, im damned if im going to have someone do that to me! my friend spotted her next door neighbour, i saw a familiar face, but couldn't place him, it could have been worse, thankfully there was no tea and coffee "sooooo, what brings you to co-dependents anonymous?" social time following the meeting (we flew out of there to the nearest liquor store).
as expected, there were some interesting characters; a trio of sisters working through their mother issues (their mother was in her late 80's), another woman who prefaced her comment with "this is only my second meeting and will probably be my last because what im going to say will really piss people off" (she was right, that statement did), the sister who wanted to share a positive story of hope because when she tried to manipulate and guilt her brother into ponying up $150 for a b-day gift for their mother (even though he wouldn't be in attendance), she didn't get mad at him on the phone, instead she bottled it up that he set a limit with her rather than responding to her guilt, good show! and finally the co-dependent who must be getting tetanus from those nail punctures in her palms who announced that she was "the most severely" co-dependent...and i'm severely pregnant.
however, despite the age gap, the varied family systems issues (lots of substance abuse), we three elbowed, giggled and raised eyebrows at each other because we heard ourselves in many pieces of the stories. the custom designed bumper sticker melind-err had given me before the meeting was eerily appropriate: "im low maintenance, just tell me you love me" (it will not be going on my bumper).