Jul 16, 2013 by Jenna Zine
codependency.jpgSeveral years ago I saw a therapist who encouraged me to buy Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. I'd tell you it's a great book, and that if you have any inkling you may be codependent that you should read it - but that would be me trying to fix your problems for you and I don't do that anymore. (Ah, but seriously - it's a great book). 

So, said therapist gave me homework - go buy the book and start reading, pronto. I'm nothing if not a rule follower and people pleaser, so I marched to Powell's directly after my appointment. Like I said, I really needed this book. I searched the shelves in the appropriate section: high to low, low to high, right to left and so on. Nothing. Nada. Was there a run on the tome? Were there scads of Portlanders, all suffering from the same condition? (Driving our streets amongst endless combinations of Subaru Outbacks indicates 'yes.' Extra points if it's forrest green.) Regardless of the reason, I could not find a copy in sight. But I was determined to heal. No more fretting if so and so was happy - it was time to seize the day and start living my own life! I decided to ask the help desk (yes, I see the irony here) where it was - if they couldn't find a copy, perhaps they could order one for me.* 

As I approached the station, I noticed it was empty. Then a guy popped up from behind the counter. A young, wildly hot guy. I was young then too, so the stakes were higher. These days I'd stroll right up, knowing he'd do his job and not give me a second glance. His only responsibility would be to help me with my walker while he dreamed of all the hot babes he'd get to see once he guided the old lady to the self-help section. Ah, but my twenties! Possible flirtation was always a mere duckface away. Regardless of hot or not, I needed help. So I screwed up my courage and approached the desk, my face already an alarming shade of scarlet. The rest of the exchange went like this:

Me: "Um... hello. I'm looking for..." My voice trails off because 1. I was raised by a librarian and tend to speak quietly and 2. I was fucking mortified.

Him: "Pardon me?" Hot guy, straining to hear my dulcet whisper while looking really hot doing so. Who knew straining  could be such a turn on?

Me: Clears throat. Takes deep breath. "Yes, hello! I am looking for the book Codependent No More." I strive to project confidence, but end up sounding like a crazed psychopath. 

Him: "Oh, okay. Sure. Let me look that up for you." Gives me a sideways glance. Taps on computer keyboard with sexy fingers. "We have one copy in stock. Follow me."

Me: In my brain, "To the ends of the earth." Out loud, "Okay, thank you." 

We get to the section. He points out the book. Indeed there is one copy that escaped both my fevered search and the grasp of an Outback owner. He turned tenderly to me. My heart skipped a beat. Then he said:

Him: "Would you like me to get that down for you?"

Me: In my brain, "If it's possible for mortification to turn someone to dust, I would be a pile on the floor right now." Out loud, "No, thank you. I'll get it myself. I'm starting the healing today."

Him: "Uh, great. Can I help you with anything else?"

Me: Brain, "Getting a life." Aloud, "Nope. Have a good day!" Brain, "If there is a god, please let the cashier be a frumpy woman." 

And that, my friends, is how you beat codependency! 

[Photo Credit. *I'd like to note this was before ordering books off of Amazon was a thing. Back in the day if you wanted an embarrassing self-help book you did it the old-fashioned way. I probably walked up a hill, both ways, in the snow to purchase it too. Kindles may save the humiliation, but they won't tuck you in a night. Come to think of it, neither did that guy. Man, I really got screwed.]
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