Why I Know I’m Not Being Codependent Anymore…

One of the biggest battles I’ve faced in life is beating to my own drum and allowing myself to live in way that often doesn’t coexist with the rest of the world around me. For most of my life I did whatever I could to coexist with the rest of the world, regularly changing parts of myself to fit in and blend in, to be accepted, and hopefully in turn be loved in the process. But, living that way for as long as I did, I never quite understood was living in codependency.

Many have assumed I’m still codependent with much of the writing I’ve been doing lately and the sharing I have on social media. It’s quite the contrary though. As being codependent at its very core means pleasing others at my own expense and if I was going to do that, I’d take every single suggestion being given to me and stop posting things in the way I do. But I’m not going to do that. Because I am a unique and divine expression of God, as each of us are, and every time I conform to what someone else thinks I should or shouldn’t be doing, I’m moving away from that expression and moving instead into codependent thinking, a codependent existence, and ultimately a codependent addiction.

I never found any happiness living codependently. That’s why I ceased living that way years ago because I had to learn how to be ok with hanging out with myself alone when the partner I had stopped wanting to do a lot of things I wanted to do and what few friends I had didn’t want to do them with me either. It’s ironic because how my life is now is how my life was as a young kid.

Back then, I lived uniquely different than others. What I liked and how I looked and the way I acted was so different, it led to people making fun of me and bullying me incessantly. Instead of remaining true to myself though, I eventually adapted, became codependent, and found temporary acceptance at my own expense. I hurt that little boy within me every, single, day, by conforming to what everyone thought I should be doing, saying, living, etc.

But I’m not going to do that anymore. And I’m ok with that. I’m not going to be silenced either. Because I choose to speak my truth with unconditional love for myself, something I never allowed myself to do from my teenage years on. It’s why I know I’m not codependent anymore because I’m now living to my own truth.

Codependency was my first serious addiction and hopefully my last and now the only thing I truly am becoming dependent upon is waiting upon God for guidance, which is coming, slowly, but it’s coming. And I know it’s leading me to a far brighter day, one that will glow in my unshakeable faith, and one that will far surpass anything I’ve ever experienced in all the years I kept listening codependently to what everyone else told me to do, instead of listening to God and remaining true to me…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

When People Insinuate I Don’t Love Myself Unconditionally, When I Really Do And How I Know That…

As I continue to process through this spiritual shift going on in my life, many have insinuated that maybe I need to learn how to unconditionally love myself more. Let me make this very clear. When you live in a relationship with someone for years on end who chooses to spend more time separate than together, who doesn’t take an active interest in most of your own passions, and who isn’t willing to explore one new thing after another that you are interested in doing with them, it will either lead you into a life of codependence or independence. I finally learned how to become more independent than codependent during my last relationship, and, in the process, I also learned how to love myself unconditionally, enough to leave it and make myself available for someone I’ve always wanted and deserved to be by my side.

I had to learn how to unconditionally love myself through every walk I asked to take around the neighborhood or on paths in parks we visited that frequently got met with, “You go right ahead, I’ll be right here when you get back…”, because I allowed each denial to teach me how to enjoy doing those walks alone.

I had to learn how to unconditionally love myself through every lighthouse we visited where I wanted us to stroll out onto one jetty after another to see them up close that regularly got met with, “You go right ahead, I’ll be right here when you get back…”, because I allowed each denial to teach me how to enjoy doing those lighthouse jetty strolls alone.

I had to learn how to unconditionally love myself through every swim or snorkel I did in the ocean where I wanted to explore those waters together that commonly got met with, “You got right ahead, I’ll be right here when you get back…”, because I allowed each denial to teach me how to enjoy swimming and snorkeling in those ocean waters alone.

I had to learn how to unconditionally love myself through one scenic place after another we’d travel to, from abandoned mining towns to waterfalls and more, where I wanted to sightsee them together that repeatedly got met with, “You go right ahead, I’ll be right here when you get back”, because I allowed each denial to teach me how to enjoy seeing each of those scenic places alone.

I had to learn how to unconditionally love myself through every time I wanted to work out in the gym or watch superhero movies together that habitually got met with, “You go right ahead, I’ll be right here when you get back”, because I allowed each denial to teach me how to enjoy working out and watching those superhero movies alone.

For so many moments, in so many parts of my life, where I simply wanted to share an experience and my heart with the one I was in love with that routinely got met with “You go right ahead, I’ll be right here when you get back”, I learned how to develop a relationship with myself, including how to love myself unconditionally doing so many of them alone.

I did this for years until I grew weary of living life in a relationship where I felt like I was living it more alone than not. For me, being in relationship isn’t about doing things more apart than together. It’s about growing together, exploring together, and living life more together than not.

Yes, you will have your times apart, but not more times apart than together. But I had to learn how to live life more apart than together during my past relationship because of what I continued to accept day in and day out. Except I learned how to love myself unconditionally through it all, like when I was in Saugatuck for one of my birthdays where I wanted so badly to kayak up and down the cliffside at this resort we stayed at, that got met with those very same words, “You go right ahead, I’ll be right here when you get back.” Did I still go kayaking alone? Yes. And did I enjoy that kayaking experience alone? Absolutely. But while I have many fond memories of that 2-hour experience, I also wish it had been shared with the one I had been in love with at the time.

I have countless memories throughout a 10-year relationship where I learned how to do things like this alone. And when you are forced to do enough things alone while in a relationship, you’ll eventually learn how to have a better relationship with yourself, which in turn will eventually lead you to unconditionally love yourself the more you continue to do them alone.

This is why I know that I love myself unconditionally now. Because through it all, I learned that while there were times when a couple does things apart, finding myself doing more of what I enjoyed apart from my partner than together, I had a choice to either become codependent, doing what my partner enjoyed more than not, or independent, still doing what I enjoyed, but more alone than not. I chose the latter and truly learned to love myself unconditionally in the process, enough to walk away from a 10-year relationship to finally become available for the person I’ve always meant to be with, who will have to offer what I’ve always wanted and deserved.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Yes, I Like To Help People, Just Because…

More than a decade ago now, you would probably never hear out of anyone’s mouth who knew me that Andrew Arthur Dawson was a guy who liked to help people just because. Because Andrew Arthur Dawson back then didn’t like to help anyone but himself unless there was some angle or kick back or something coming back to him. I thought of that today when I awoke with less than 3 hours of sleep in the midst of my vacation and still went with my best friend Cedric to his church to help him decorate some bushes with Christmas lights for an upcoming living nativity scene they’re having.

On some level, what was so ironic about this is how I awoke this morning and felt both my old and new self at the same time. The old self-centered one said, “I’m too tired, too stressed out, and really too everything. I’m sure Cedric will understand if I opt to just lay low and sleep more of the day away. After all, it’s my vacation.” But the 12 Step Recovery and God-centered selfless individual in me also said, “It’s your best friend and he needs your help. And you’re here to spend time with him. You may not get that moment again.” Thankfully, I listened to my Higher Self and tagged along, even surprising Cedric along the way, as he verbally recollected all those years ago when I only thought of myself in help-needed circumstances like this.

With 12 Step Recovery and God at my helm, I have truly learned to love helping people, just because. Honestly, I would give the shirt off my back just to bring Light to another soul today and I so mean that. I find great joy in seeing another shine. I only wish I had learned this valuable lesson long ago when I first got sober from alcohol and drugs. Sadly, I didn’t and spent far too long caught up in myself and countless addictions that only made me into a person who looked at what he could get out of the world and everyone around him.

It’s amazing that Cedric stood by my side during all those selfish years. I’m absolutely sure I wouldn’t have if he had acted the same way I was with him back then. Our friendship today has withstood a lot of division solely because that selfishness is gone and now I bring to the table the very same thing he practices so diligently. And we both give thanks to just two common factors for this, our recovery from addiction, and our devotion to serving a Higher Power’s needs before our own.

So yes, I don’t help people anymore because of what I want to get back. I don’t keep some secret repository of all the things I did for another hoping to get it back someday. And I don’t hold a prior thing I did for another over their head either. I simply just like to help people, just because, just because I love God, and just because I love living out the true purpose of 12 Step recovery, one that lies in the 12th Step itself…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson