Wholeness Healing Today

A Book Review: Beyond Codependency

After people recognize their codependency, make some changes and set some boundaries in their lives, what is next? The book Beyond Codependency is the follow-up to Codependent No More, the guidebook written by Melody Beattie. In her own words, “Co Dependent No More . . . was about stopping the pain and gaining control of our lives. This book is about what to do when the pain has stopped and we’ve begun to suspect we have lives to live.” (Beyond Codependency, Introduction). There is a light at the end of the tunnel; there is life through recognition of rescuing, enabling, and codependency, and this book highlights many aspects of that growth and healing as one moves forward.

The book is divided into five sections, Recovery, Relapse, History and Introduction, Relationships, and Going Forward. Each section has several chapters. Chapter Three explores the stages of recovery (survival/denial, reidentification, core issues, reintegration, and genesis). Some of the chapters have suggested activities at the end, offering opportunity for continued self-reflection. For example, in addition to the activity at the end of Chapter Three, identifying the stage you are in right now, the reader is also encouraged to identify the actions taken and the gains experienced, which is crucial, I believe, in moving forward. If we only look where we were, it is difficult to see how much we’ve grown.

Setting boundaries is crucial to recovery and in developing healthy relationships. In Chapter Fifteen, Boundaries, Beattie writes, “Without boundaries, relationships will cause us fear. We’re vulnerable to losing all we have, including ourselves. With too many boundaries, we won’t have any relationships. We don’t dare get too close, because it’ll be a long time before we see ourselves again.” Also “The goal in recovery is to develop healthy boundaries, not too pliable nor too rigid.” (Beyond Codependency, p. 167) Blurred boundaries or lack of boundaries may have aided in the continuation of codependent relationships. Recognizing what needs to change and then taking those steps moves us forward in a healthier way.

Trying to hang on and control those things that are not ours to control keep us caught up in unhealthy relationships. As we let go of those, we often need guidance in the surrender, developing faith to move forward differently than we have ever done before. This book sets those steps out there, reassuring the reader that others have walked the same path, moving through the pain and again finding themselves. We can find the most lovable parts of ourselves, fully embracing the beauty of who we are. Let this book aid in that process.

Works Cited:
Beattie, Melody. (1989) Beyond codependency. Hazelden Publishing. Central City, MN.

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  • Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Advanced Clinical HypnoTherapist

  • Deb England began working part-time for Wholeness Healing Center in September 2004 and began full-time in May 2005. Deb practices primarily in the Broken Bow office and one day a week in the Grand Island office. Previously she had completed her practicum and internship at Morning Star Alliance, working in the Broken Bow and Grand Island offices.


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