************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Motivates You?

At my CoDA meeting tonight, someone said something that really stood out to me.

That’s not a surprise. I figure I’ve been to almost 200 meetings at this point, and I don’t believe there has been one that didn’t give me something to think about.

Tonight, a woman said that the opposite of love is fear, not hate. She said that one could love and hate the same person, but that it was very hard to both love and fear someone. Once fear enters the picture, it becomes everything. All your motives become about that fear – whether it is fear of abuse or the fear of losing the person or the fear of losing a financial situation you need, or even the fear of letting someone else find out who you really are – fear becomes the driving force and love goes out the window.

The reading that led to her saying this was in the CoDA blue book. It was a story about denial. The woman who wrote the story (I believe her name was Annie) talked about owning your motives.

I had actually read this story once before, when I had only been in CoDA for a couple of months. I know I read it because I had things underlined, but I don’t remember reading it, probably because what I got out of it now was completely different from what I saw a year-and-a-half ago.

Owning my motives feels like a new and important piece of the codependent puzzle. It means that even when we are doing what we think we are supposed to do, we need to see what is really motivating us.
 Am I doing something because I hope to gain something in return?
Because I am afraid of someone else’s anger?
Because I think someone else is not capable of doing it?
Am I saying yes to sex because I feel it is an obligation?
Am I sitting here writing this article because I want to write it or because I am avoiding something else?

So, first I need to identify my motives.

I do not do this so I can judge myself for my motives. I am supposed to OWN it, not beat myself up with it.
It's a matter of being honest with myself.I am supposed to admit to myself why I'm really doing what I'm doing , let that knowledge settle inside me and- the hope is - eventually I will begin to see the motives BEFORE I act.

If I am aware of my motives I wiill be able to make a conscious decision about what I want to do - living actively instead of reactively.

It really all comes down to one word –


We always have a choice.
Sometimes it feels like we have to do something, but in reality we choose to do it.

My therapist is always telling me I have a choice. She has said almost this exact thing to me numerous times... but it never seemed to mean this, before.

Everything I do is a choice I make... and every choice has a driving force of some kind and wouldn't it be great if the driving force was my sincere understanding of the situation instead of a motive I'm not even aware of?


  1. Just this morning I was thinking about some of the nice things I do for people and that my motive some of the time is to make me feel good about myself. I think in the past, I thought it was because I'm a "good" person. Great post!

  2. What an aware post. Good work! I do agree that the opposite of love is fear, not hate.

    Hey, I couldn't remember the title yesterday, but now I have it: The book I think is great is called "The Sexual Healing Journey" and the author is Wendy Maltz.

  3. Great post. My sponsor is always asking me: What is your motive? I've been taught that the same action can be right or wrong depending on why I'm doing it. Thing is, I don't always know. I'm good at fooling myself. But it's a good test to ask myself that question.

    I could totally relate to having underlined something in my daily book of meditations and not remember reading it. I also have a habit of marking the things that speak to me. In my second year of recovery, it struck me as interesting how different things stand out for me now. If I had thought of it, I might have used different colors to indicate year 1, year 2, etc. That would give me an interesting roadmap of my recovery and what was occupying my thoughts at different points.

  4. Sherry - it's harder than it sounds, isn't it? Just remembering not to judge myself is going to be really tough.

    Marj - I have that book. I have started it several times... I guess I wasn't ready, then. I'm nervous about the idea of working through it with my husband.

    Kathy, it sounds like you have a great sponsor and an amazing sponsor family, from what I read at your blog.

  5. Shen,

    You've made me feel like going to a meeting. Thanks!

  6. I am lucky I do not have to be afraid as I am a manley man. I am kidding.

    I am a consultant and when solving the problem I look for the fear. Even if it is a financial issue it is related in fear. The person or group fears not having as much false security as they have less money. I have clients that are multimillionaires and all I really do for them is handle their fears. They feel safer if they hire me to handle things.

    Most people on planning boards are protecting their property.

    So pretty much I have a career as no one dares face their personal fears.That and bad legislation passed in fear.

    You see I would much rather deal with other peoples fear than my own.

  7. Unrepentant - Good :-) It can't hurt.

    Michael - Its hard to even imagine a world without fear. People are so used to it, they just accept the fearful states they are in as normal.

    I've experienced whole weeks with very little fear, in the last few months. I believe that will get better as time goes on.

  8. i've been thinking about motives lately. my last post i explored my motives when i apologize.

    thank you for sharing this post. it helps me think even more about it. i agree that the same action can be healthy or unhealthy depending on our motive. and that fear clouds everything and can even push love out the door. fear is so consuming and i've lived in fear so much of my life.

    so for me lately i've been thinking of trust as the antidote to fear. which may sound like abc's to some people. but for me, i feel like i'm just starting to feel what trust is like. in the past i felt i needed certainty to trust, proof, evidence, but we can't always have that. so lately i just try to imagine feeling trusting, even if i have no reason to do so, because a lot of the time, in reality, things are fine. it's my fear that clouds reality and makes me feel unsafe.

    don't know if that makes any sense. that's just my thoughts lately :)


Please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment.

Co Creation

Co Creation
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A lesson is woven into each day.
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