What are the 12 steps to recovery from codependency?

You may have other ways that are more effective in helping you connect with yourself. If so, I encourage you to spend some time every day doing those things. And don't give up even if it seems strange to you at first. Self-care will bring you tremendous benefits over time.

The overall goal of recovery from codependency is to become a fully functioning person. That means knowing, valuing and trusting yourself, and expressing yourself in your life and relationships. It involves a complete makeover that impacts what you believe and how you think, feel and act. See Stages of Codependency and Recovery.

The 12 steps provide a spiritual remedy. They describe a process of surrendering the ego to the unconscious, to God, or to a higher power. Step 11 recommends meditation and prayer to improve “conscious contact with God.” This strengthens the relationship with the Self and increases self-awareness. It promotes new behavior, by reducing the reactivity and anxiety that accompany change, and by increasing tolerance to the experience of emptiness, which supports the Self as old ego structures and behavior fade away.

For a history of the 12 steps and in-depth analysis and exercises to work on each, get my e-book, Spiritual Transformation in the Twelve Steps. There is no right or wrong way regarding how you work during your recovery, as long as you follow the steps. We strive to provide information, tools and resources to work on a 12-step program (or any program that uses 12-step principles for recovery) in the simplest and most effective way possible. People don't understand the 12-step recovery process unless they have participated in a 12-step program.

Although many people can struggle with the effects of codependency, you can break free from your bonds by taking careful and conscious steps toward recovery. This step may be particularly difficult for some, but once learned, it will prove to be one of the most liberating steps. Steps 10, 11, and 12 are called maintenance steps and it is recommended that they begin early in the recovery. Step 12 recommends serving and working with others, which reduces self-centeredness and improves compassion.