February 20, 2016

Making Sense of Codependency - Part 4

Today we conclude our series on codependency with Dana Zarcone, who shares with us the Four Stages of Codependency Recovery.


Hello! I’m happy to be here to round out my series about codependency. 

Over the past few weeks, we’ve clarified what codependency is (and is not), how and why you can become codependent and how to identify core issues and when you might be triggered. Today, I’m going to speak directly to the recovery process. 

There are four (4) primary stages that you go through as you move from codependent to independent and we’ll review each of them in a bit of detail. 

Four Stages of Codependency Recovery
  • Stage 1: Acknowledgement and Preparation
  • Stage 2: Acceptance and Reassessment
  • Stage 3: Adjustment and Planning
  • Stage 4: Action and Consistency

Stage 1: Acknowledgement and Preparation

In this first stage of recovery, you’re in a place where you’re most likely anesthetizing and you’re suffering with anxiety, depression or some other disorder. In this stage, boundaries are good because the goal will be to avoid situations and people that aren’t in your best interest. For example, you’ll be enticed to use, drink, eat, abuse, lash out or whatever other method you use to make you feel good.  

The goal in this stage is to acknowledge that you have a problem that you cover up with some form of anesthesia, and start building a plan to wean off, or discontinue your “anesthesia of choice” all together. You can’t deal with your shit unless you’re in your right mind!  If you’re “using” to reduce stress, ease the pain or make yourself feel better … it needs to stop. 

Stage 2: Acceptance and Reassessment

In this stage, boundaries are still important. However, you’ll start to identify and accept where you’ve been wounded, how that’s impacted your core issues and where projective identification is present in your relationships. 

The goal is to explore what kind of wounding you experienced while growing up in a dysfunctional, unhealthy, or perhaps, abusive family environment.  This is the stage where we take a long hard look at the wounding that occurred and how it manifests in your life – which leads to the codependency. 

It’s important to note that the codependency is developed in your childhood and gains strength as you become an adult. It co-exists with other disorders such as addictions, depression, anxiety, etc. That said, the codependency is the biggest culprit which has a tendency to lead to the other disorders. 

In this stage, you’ll focus on abstaining from addictions, compulsions, etc. and address the underlying wounding which caused the codependency. 

In this stage, as a Core Energetic Practitioner, we explore what we call the three layers of self. These three layers were formed and exist as a survival technique as a result of being wounded. Think of it like layers of an onion. On the outside layer, the one we present to the world, is our mask. It is our first line of defense and might be presented as confusion, perfection, numbness, untouchable, loveable, friendly, helpful, etc. It’s a nebulous first layer that we need to get past so that we can begin the real recovery process. 

Underneath the mask is the lower self, or as Jung called it ... the “shadow self”.  It’s the layer that protects our true, higher self at all costs. It’s the toughest layer to penetrate because it’s the part of you that’s full of disowned rage, anger, shame, fear, and longing, etc. This is the part of you that refuses to feel, so you develop addictions, act out, display compulsive behavior and tend to cause drama.

As the saying goes … what you resist persists!  So, when you’re refusing to feel these so-called “bad” feelings they’ll show up in covert ways. They’ll wreak havoc on your life, cause drama in your relationships and result in separation from self and others.  

This is the layer where the codependent self is hanging on for dear life! Because you unconsciously feel if you let all of it go, you’ll be annihilated somehow … you’ll die. Of course, when you face these demons head on, you ultimately learn that you aren’t annihilated, nor do you die. In fact, you actually break free from the proverbial chains that have bound you for years.  

Trust me! It will feel amazing!

In the center of all of this is the Higher Self, or True Self.  This is the place where true recovery and your true identify lives. It is in this place where you’re finally able to feel the pain and suffering that you have been avoiding such as shame, fear, sadness, and longing.  

You reach the Higher Self by identifying and penetrating your mask and expressing your lower self. This is done by addressing all of your “unfinished business”. Only then can you truly connect to who you are and begin to heal! 

Stage 3: Adjustment and Planning

In this stage, you have begun to better understand, and grapple with, your demons. You’ve connected to the part of you that truly wants to heal and reclaim your personal power. In doing so, you’re able to seek out professional help. You’re able to recruit a guide that will join you on your journey so that you can feel safe and fully supported as you begin to heal, reassess and make adjustments. 

It’s important to mention that rarely can you overcome codependency without the help of a professional because it requires that you do some pretty deep work. Getting the support and help you need is not a sign of weakness. Quite the contrary in fact because it takes courage, strength and self-love to see that you get the help that you need.  When you ask for help, you’re doing from your Higher Self. 

Stage 4: Action and Consistency

This is the sustainable stage where you have established a new “baseline” and laid a new foundation for yourself from which to build upon. When you’re in this stage, you’re living your life more connected to your higher self and to spirit. 
It’s worth saying that being connected to your higher self and spirit doesn’t mean that you’re  ”happy go-lucky” all the time. It simply means that you’re willing and capable of standing in your truth, live in the moment, surrender to your feelings and love yourself unconditionally.

It means you’re now strong, courageous and independent!  You’re no longer organizing your life around pleasing others. Instead, you’re living your life with honor and integrity and in connection to who you really are. 

How long it takes you to move from one stage to another really depends on you!  No matter how long it takes you, move forward on your journey with self-compassion, kindness and love. Enjoy the adventure, without judgement, and know that it will lead to a more satisfying, happy, fulfilling life!

Thanks so much for reading this series! I am genuinely wishing you all the best and hope that you’re able to Source Your Joy and Dance with Life Again! 
If you’re interested in exploring this further, or doing some other personal transformation work, with me feel free to contact me via the links below! 

Joyously Yours,


Dana, the CEO and Founder of Source Your Joy, is known as a revolutionist in the personal development industry. She is passionate about helping her clients recover from depression, codependency, abuse, and anxiety. She’s a driving force in helping clients reclaim their personal power, unlock their greatest potential, and dance with life again. Dana has been working with clients for over 13 years. She has her M.S. in Psychotherapy and is a National Certified Counselor, Certified Energetic Practitioner and Certified Life Coach.

If you think you might be suffering with depression you can take her depression test to find out once and for all.

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