The Language of Letting Go
Every Monday, I will be writing a blog post dedicated to a book that I have read during my recovery. Today’s post is about a book written by Melody Beattie called “The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency.”
This is also my seventh blog post, and the seventh day since I started it. I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for all of the people who have taken the time to read what I have written, who cared enough to reach out with words of encouragement, and whose acts of kindness have made this whole experience one of the most rewarding and uplifting weeks of my life. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
“The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency,” referred to as "Language" for the rest of this blog post for the sake of brevity, was recommended to me by my therapist the first time we spoke with one another back in March. At first, I was reluctant to believe that anything I could read, apart from the Bible, perhaps, could help me see things in a better light and begin the long and arduous task of escaping the gray.
I am quite pleased to say that I was wrong to so quickly dismiss the power of the written word. In fact, this book may have been part of what inspired me to start writing, again. It is one of my greatest desires to, one day, become a published author. If I can achieve this dream, I sincerely hope that my words manifest within my readers the same momentum toward positive change as this book did.
I would be so grateful to have such an opportunity.
Structured as a daily reader with brief, one- or two-page sections named for each month and day of the calendar year, “Language” was written to offer its readers an alternative to the ways in which they have been perceiving their lives, their loved ones, their commitments, and their power to face their challenges and persevere.
I would like to share the first few words of the March 16th section, entitled “Positive Energy”:
“It’s so easy to look around and notice what’s wrong. It takes practice to see what’s right” (Beattie, M. 1990).
That was the entry on the day I woke up, looked myself in the mirror, and could see everything that was wrong with me, but not a single thing right.
That was the day I sat at work and half-mindedly wrote a suicide note while my work partner, one of the greatest friends I have ever had, sat and chatted and laughed next to me, oblivious (by my own design) that I meant never to see the 17th of March.
I recall crying, intensely, the moment I flipped to that page of "Language" and read the first line of its entry because, like certain sections of the Bible at different times in my life (and I’m certain in the lives of many others), those words seemed to be written just for me. I still get a faint chill and feel goosebumps when I read them, and as I continued to read through the rest of “Language,” I found more and more instances where something struck me as eerily prescient. This book is full of significance in small, inimitably digestible portions.
The entry for August 19th includes another passage which elegantly and directly challenged me to step away from the gray gloom of shame that was beginning to crawl its way back into my mind:
“We have a right to be, to be here, and to be who we are. And we don’t ever have to let shame tell us any differently” (Beattie, M. 1990)
The book was written for people experiencing a variety of mental and emotional pressures due to conditions like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (like me) as well as those who are recovering from alcohol or drug addiction, escaping from abusive, co-dependent relationships, or struggling with feelings of loss after a separation, divorce, or the death of a family member or close friend.
It is a versatile book and an easy one to pick up and read, either day-by-day or through use of the index to find entries based on themes such as guilt, shame, loss, financial stress, setting boundaries, feelings of isolation, barriers to effective communication, and so much more.
The writer is informed and thoughtful in her approach to each topic. I found each entry in the book to lack some of the harsh, judgmental tone of other books of its kind that I have encountered, before and since. She has a great website of her own, melodybeattie.com, and if you are dealing with any of the topics I mentioned above, I can safely and confidently give this book and its author an enthusiastic recommendation.
I have attached a link to the author’s page devoted to “Language” in case you have an interest in checking it out. Just click the image of Melody Beattie's website, below. If you have any questions about it, please reach out and let me know.
In fact, if you just want to reach out, for any reason, I welcome anyone to do so.
Beattie, M. (1990), The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency. Center City, MN: Hazelden Publishing.