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Traits....Do I possess these?
January 27, 2003
11:47 am
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Codependency involves a habitual system of thinking, feeling, and behaving toward ourselves and others that can cause pain.
Codependent behaviors or habits are self-destructive.
We frequently react to people who are destroying themselves; we react by learning to destroy ourselves. These habits can lead us into, or keep us in, destructive relationships that don't work. These behaviors can sabotage relationships that may otherwise have worked. These behaviors can prevent us from finding peace and happiness with the most important person in our lives.... ourselves. These behaviors belong to the only person we can change.. ourselves. These are our problems.
The following are characteristics of codependent persons: (We started to do these things out of necessity to protect ourselves and meet our needs.)
Care Taking

Codependents may,
1. Think and feel responsible for other people---for other people's feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, well-being, lack of well-being, and ultimate destiny.
2. Feel anxiety, pity, and guilt when other people have a problem.
3. Feel compelled --almost forced -- to help that person solve the problem, such as offering unwanted advice, giving a rapid-fire series of suggestions, or fixing feelings.
4. Feel angry when their help isn't effective.
5. Anticipate other people's needs
6. Wonder why others don't do the same for them.
7. Don't really want to be doing, doing more than their fair share of the work, and doing things other people are capable of doing for themselves.
8. Not knowing what they want and need, or if they do, tell themselves what they want and need is not important.
9. Try to please others instead of themselves.
10. Find it easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others rather than injustices done to themselves.
11. Feel safest when giving.
12. Feel insecure and guilty when somebody gives to them.
13. Feel sad because they spend their whole lives giving to other people and nobody gives to them.
14. Find themselves attracted to needy people.
15. Find needy people attracted to them.
16. Feel bored, empty, and worthless if they don't have a crisis in their lives, a problem to solve, or someone to help.
17. Abandon their routine to respond to or do something for somebody else.
18. Over commit themselves.
19. Feel harried and pressured.
20. Believe deep inside other people are somehow responsible for them.
21. Blame others for the spot the codependents are in.
22. Say other people make the codependents feel the way they do.
23. Believe other people are making them crazy.
24. Feel angry, victimized, unappreciated, and used.
25. Find other people become impatient or angry with them for all of the preceding characteristics.

Low Self Worth

Codependents tend to:
1. Come from troubled, repressed, or dysfunctional families.
2. Deny their family was troubled, repressed or dysfunctional.
3. Blame themselves for everything.
4. Pick on themselves for everything, including the way they think, feel, look, act, and behave.
5. Get angry, defensive, self-righteous, and indigent when others blame and criticize the codependents -- something codependents regularly do to themselves.
6. Reject compliments or praise
7. Get depressed from a lack of compliments and praise (stroke deprivation)
8. Feel different from the rest of the world.
9. Think they're not quite good enough.
10. Feel guilty about spending money on themselves or doing unnecessary or fun things for themselves.
11. Fear rejection.
12. Take things personally.
13. Have been victims of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, or alcoholism.
14. Feel like victims.
15. Tell themselves they can't do anything right.
16. Be afraid of making mistakes.
17. Wonder why they have a tough time making decisions.
18. Have a lot of "shoulds".
19. Feel a lot of guilt.
20. Feel ashamed of who they are.
21. Think their lives are not worth living.
22. Try to help other people live their lives instead.
23. Get artificial feelings of self-worth from helping others.
24. Get strong feelings of low self-worth ---embarrassment, failure, etc...from other people's failures and problems.
25. Wish good things would happen to them.
26. Believe good things never will happen.
27. Believe they don't deserve good things and happiness.
28. Wish others would like and love them.
29. Believe other people couldn't possibly like and love them.
30. Try to prove they're good enough for other people.
31. Settle for being needed.

Repression

Many Codependents:
1. Push their thoughts and feelings out of their awareness because of fear and guilt.
2. Become afraid to let themselves be who they are.
3. Appear rigid and controlled.

Obsession

Codependents tend to:
1. Feel terribly anxious about problems and people.
2. Worry about the silliest things.
3. Think and talk a lot about other people.
4. Lose sleep over problems or other people's behavior.
5. Worry
6. Never Find answers.
7. Check on people.
8. Try to catch people in acts of misbehavior.
9. Feel unable to quit talking, thinking, and worrying about other people or problems.
10. Abandon their routine because they are so upset about somebody or something.
11. Focus all their energy on other people and problems.
12. Wonder why they never have any energy.
13. Wonder why they can't get things done.

Controlling

Many codependents:
1. Have lived through events and with people that were out of control, causing the codependents sorrow and disappointment.
2. Become afraid to let other people be who they are and allow events to happen naturally.
3. Don't see or deal with their fear of loss of control.
4. Think they know best how things should turn out and how people should behave.
5. Try to control events and people through helplessness, guilt, coercion, threats, advice-giving, manipulation, or domination.
6. Eventually fail in their efforts or provoke people's anger.
7. Get frustrated and angry.
8. Feel controlled by events and people.

Denial

Codependents tend to:
1. Ignore problems or pretend they aren't happening.
2. Pretend circumstances aren't as bad as they are.
3. Tell themselves things will be better tomorrow.
4. Stay busy so they don't have to think about things.
5. Get confused.
6. Get depressed or sick.
7. Go to doctors and get tranquilizers.
8. Become workaholics.
9. Spend money compulsively.
10. Overeat.
11. Pretend those things aren't happening either.
12. Watch problems get worse.
13. Believe lies.
14. Lie to themselves.
15. Wonder why they feel like they're going crazy.

Dependency

Many codependents:
1. Don't feel happy, content, or peaceful with themselves.
2. Look for happiness outside themselves.
3. Latch onto whoever or whatever they think can provide happiness.
4. Feel terribly threatened by the loss of any thing or person they think proves their happiness.
5. Didn't feel love and approval from their parents.
6. Don't love themselves.
7. Believe other people can't or don't love them.
8. Desperately seek love and approval.
9. Often seek love from people incapable of loving.
10. Believe other people are never there for them.
11. Equate love with pain.
12. Feel they need people more than they want them.
13. Try to prove they're good enough to be loved.
14. Don't take time to see if other people are good for them.
15. Worry whether other people love or like them.
16. Don't take time to figure out if they love or like other people.
17. Center their lives around other people.
18. Look for relationships to provide all their good feelings.
19. Lost interest in their own lives when they love.
20. Worry other people will leave them.
21. Don't believe they can take care of themselves.
22. Stay in relationships that don't work.
23. Tolerate abuse to keep people loving them.
24. Feel trapped in relationships.
25. Leave bad relationships and form new ones that don't work either.
26. Wonder if they will ever find love.

Poor Communication

Codependents frequently:
1. Blame
2. Threaten
3. Coerce
4. Beg
5. Bribe
6. Advise
7. Don't say what they mean.
8. Don't mean what they say.
9. Don't know what they mean.
10. Don't take themselves seriously.
11. Think other people don't take the codependents seriously.
12. Take themselves too seriously.
13. Ask for what they want and need indirectly --- sighing, for example.
14. Find it difficult to get to the point.
15. Aren't sure what the point is.
16. Gauge their words carefully to achieve a desired effect.
17. Try to say what they think will please people.
18. Try to say what they think will provoke people.
19. Try to say what they hop will make people do what they want them to do.
20. Eliminate the word NO from their vocabulary.
21. Talk too much.
22. Talk about other people.
23. Avoid talking about themselves, their problems, feelings, and thoughts.
24. Say everything is their fault.
25. Say nothing is their fault.
26. Believe their opinions don't matter.
27. Want to express their opinions until they know other people's opinions.
28. Lie to protect and cover up for people they love.
29. Have a difficult time asserting their rights.
30. Have a difficult time expressing their emotions honestly, openly, and appropriately.
31. Think most of what they have to say is unimportant.
32. Begin to talk in Cynical, self-degrading, or hostile ways.
33. Apologize for bothering people.

Weak Boundaries

Codependents frequently:
1. Say they won't tolerate certain behaviors from other people.
2. Gradually increase their tolerance until they can tolerate and do things they said they would never do.
3. Let others hurt them.
4. Keep letting others hurt them.
5. Wonder why they hurt so badly.
6. Complain, blame, and try to control while they continue to stand there.
7. Finally get angry.
8. Become totally intolerant.

Lack of Trust

Codependents
1. Don't trust themselves.
2. Don't trust their feelings.
3. Don't trust their decisions.
4. Don't trust other people.
5. Try to trust untrustworthy people.
6. Think God has abandoned them.
7. Lose faith and trust in God.

Anger

Many Codependents:
1. Feel very scared, hurt, and angry
2. Live with people who are very scared, hurt, and angry.
3. Are afraid of their own anger.
4. Are frightened of other people's anger.
5. Think people will go away if anger enters the picture.
6. Feel controlled by other people's anger.
7. Repress their angry feelings.
8. Think other people make them feel angry.
9. Are afraid to make other people feel anger.
10. Cry a lot, get depressed, overact, get sick, do mean and nasty things to get even, act hostile, or have violent temper outbursts.
11. Punish other people for making the codependents angry.
12. Have been shamed for feeling angry.
13. Place guilt and shame on themselves for feeling angry.
14. Feel increasing amounts of anger, resentment, and bitterness.
15. Feel safer with their anger than hurt feelings.
16. Wonder if they'll ever not be angry.

Sex Problems.

Some codependents:
1. Are caretakers in the bedroom.
2. Have sex when they don't want to.
3. Have sex when they'd rather be held, nurtured, and loved.
4. Try to have sex when they're angry or hurt.
5. Refuse to enjoy sex because they're so angry at their partner
6. Are afraid of losing control.
7. Have a difficult time asking for what they need in bed.
8. Withdraw emotionally from their partner.
9. Feel sexual revulsion toward their partner.
10. Don't talk about it.
11. Force themselves to have sex, anyway.
12. Reduce sex to a technical act.
13. Wonder why they don't enjoy sex.
14. Lose interest in sex.
15. Make up reasons to abstain.
16. Wish their sex partner would die, go away, or sense the codependent's feelings.
17. Have strong sexual fantasies about other people.
18. Consider or have an extramarital affair.

Miscellaneous

Codependents tend to:
1. Be extremely responsible.
2. Be extremely irresponsible.
3. Become martyrs, sacrificing their happiness and that of others for causes that don't require sacrifice.
4. Find it difficult to feel close to people.
5. Find it difficult to have fun and be spontaneous.
6. Have an overall passive response to codependency -- crying, hurt, helplessness.
7. Have an overall aggressive response to codependency -- violence, anger, dominance.
8. Combine passive and aggressive responses.
9. Vacillate in decisions and emotions.
10. Laugh when they feel like crying.
11. Stay loyal to their compulsions and people even when it hurts.
12. Be ashamed about family, personal, or relationship problems.
13. Be confused about the nature of the problem.
14. Cover up, lie, and protect the problem.
15. Not seek help because they tell themselves the problem isn't bad enough, or they aren't important enough.
16. Wonder why the problem doesn't go away.

Progressive

In the later stages of codependency, codependents may:
1. Feel lethargic.
2. Feel depressed.
3. Become withdrawn and isolated.
4. Experience a complete loss of daily routine and structure.
5. Abuse or neglect their children and other responsibilities.
6. Feel hopeless.
7. Begin to plan their escape from a relationship they feel trapped in.
8. Think about suicide.
9. Become violent.
10. Become seriously emotionally, mentally, or physically ill.
11. Experience an eating disorder (over- or under eating)
12. Become addicted to alcohol or other drugs.

January 27, 2003
11:50 am
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I copied these and pasted them above for ease of discussing them. They are taken from Melody Beatties book"Codependent No More"

Just wanted to clarify....I did not write it just wanted to analyze them here!

January 27, 2003
8:40 pm
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After thinking today about my habitual system of self-destruction
I conclude that I possess the following codependent traits:

1. I caretake. I think and feel responsible for other people and feel anxious about other peoples problems at times. Sometimes I am compelled to solve their problems not knowing what they want or need. I find it easier to feel and express anger about the injustices done to others rather than injustices done to me.
I feel safest giving advice. Needy people are attracted to me. I will abandon routines just to respond to or do something for somebodey else. I sometimes believe that my honey is making me crazy.
2.My low selfworth originated from my dysfunctional family. I get angry, defensive,self-righteous, and indigent when others blame and criticize me. I fear rejection. I take things personally. I have been a victim of physical& emotional abuse, and abandonment. It is easier to help others live their lives instead of living my own. I get artificial feelings of self-worth from helping others. I try to prove that I am good enough.
3. I repress thoughts and feelings because of fear and guilt. I am afraid to let myself be who I am at times.
4. I worry and check on others and focus alot of energy on others which I choose to call compassion.
5. I tell myself things will be better tomorrow:)
6.I didn't feel loved and approved of by my father. I don't take time to see if other people are good for me and worry that others might not like me. I lose interest in my own live when I love. I worry that I will be left and stay in relationships that don't work or feel trapped then leave and form new relationships that don't work either.
7. I find it difficult to get to the point and avoid talking about myself, problems, feeling, and thoughts.
8. I will not tolerate physical abuse.
9. I don't trust other people or try to trust untrustworthy people.
10. I am frightened by other people's anger and feel controlled by other's anger.
11. Don't like to talk about sex.
12. I feel extremely responsible and vacillate indecisions and emotions and laugh when I feel like crying and sometimes become confused about the nature of a problem.
13. Sometimes I feel hopeless and begin planning an escape.

January 28, 2003
11:01 am
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Wow!

I only knew of half of these traits.

I know now I have a lot of them.
What now?

I just ended a relationship. He told me I needed help. Maybe I do.
The sex thing hit home. How do you fix that?

January 28, 2003
5:26 pm
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MJ-
I have all these traits. My hairstylist told me that I was codependent almost a year ago. She gave me the book to read "codependency no more". I found myself getting teary, then really angry as I read this book. I even went to a therapist for a year but she wasn't much help for me. She thought I should go away to school and make a life of my own.

January 28, 2003
7:07 pm
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Thanks MJ for posting these. I have the book, read it 6 or 7 times, and desperately need it right now, but I lent it to a friend with a promise to get it right back and she never did yet. My printer needs a cable, otherwise I would've printed these off and shared those that apply to me. Actually, of course it would be alot of them. And I needed to read this reminder of myself to know that I have so much work to do yet on myself. Thanks again.

January 28, 2003
8:13 pm
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Hi Everyone,
Just got back from caretaking 😉
Just teasing....my brother needed to have eye surgery so we spent all day taking care of his needs.

It felt good to return the favor...as he has been so good to me.

Hope you're taking care of yourselves!
Miss chatting but too drained to generate much tonight. Hugs to all.

January 28, 2003
9:39 pm
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Hope brother is ok!!! Get some rest.

January 29, 2003
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Thanks Sosos.....Feel so much better this morning. Haven't heard anything from my bro yet so no news is good news.
So how are things going for you?
Sounds like you need a friend.:)

January 29, 2003
1:41 pm
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Hi Everyone!
Taking care of oneselve is my focus here. How do I do it? One problem at a time. When you solve one obstacle another appears and I am able to build confidence by solving each problem.

Yesterday, I was unsure of my ability to get my brother to a city, using the shortcut backroads because I had never done it before. It was dark and foggy at first. At each turn, I built confidence. At one point, the sunrise turned the haze all pinkish and I commented that it looked like Heaven. It was so beautiful. Tall Pines and Pink sky. I love living here. When we arrived at the center, I clapped my hands because I had accomplished my task. I felt proud. It was my personal victory. (Yes, I know I am a little strange 😉 but

I'm off to my Al-Anon meeting next.
I go every Wednesday!
I learn that others are there working on themselves daily just like me 🙂

Last July, when I made it to my first Al-Anon meeting, I cried for a few months at the meetings. I was so embarrassed but I kept going back. It was a safe place for me to let my pain show.

It helps me build confidence also when I chair the meetings now. I get to see people come into the 12 step program in a similar state as I was that's when I know that the 12 steps work. There are lots of people just like here that have become my friends and its so nice feeling a sense of comradery with others. I always learn something new to help me through my life.

January 29, 2003
6:22 pm
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I'm back...the topic for discussion was "What are your responsibilities"
For me, I am responsible for keeping the focus on me. Quit dodging painful subjects and courage to work on the areas of me that I don't like and wisdom to dicipher what it is I need to do!

January 30, 2003
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Today, I feel anxious. I woke up early...I read my meditations, the newspaper, "Self Matters" chapter on Sabbotage, listened to my hubby complain about his aches and his need to drive 3 hours for socks and underwear...payday tomorrow....and the arguement ensues briefly.I ask how much and he says he's keeping it to himself....and asks how much we need. I tell him that I hadn't figured it out but the notice for the second payment on the property taxes was in the newspaper stating they are due.(We haven't paid the first yet) I state that I just made a trip and wouldn't the catalog work fine....I need them Monday....off to work he goes. I hate disagreements. My boundaries ....Pay the Bills...Don't get in debt further. His philosopy is put off paying today what you can get away with. He got paid an extra check last Friday for 1200.00 which was spent by Monday on mostly nothing. I guess not fighting last weekend was worth 1200. 🙂
I am rambling....

January 30, 2003
10:07 am
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Serenity, God, but please hurry!

January 30, 2003
10:17 am
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OMG!

That's me! I just read the 1/27 posts with all the traits. Now what?? Aaahhhh!

A bit overwhelming. Here I am with an addiction...I had no idea about all the codependent traits I have.

January 30, 2003
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Hi Onedayatatime,
You asked me a while ago if I was at AA. The reason I stayed in AA was cause I felt I belonged.
I think all of us have a propensity to form addictions...somewhere along the line. When we are born, we start out pure....then learn lots of coping behaviors. I am glad that you read the traits....they are eye opening aren't they.

January 30, 2003
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Time to exit....and practice in my real world. Have a Great Day!

February 1, 2003
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Hi all........
This is my first post and to be honest, I'm pretty nervous. I'm just beginning to really realize alot of things about myself and others in my life and to say I'm overwhelmed and confused is an understatement. I look at the definitions and traits for codependency and think "Dear
God...I am really messed up". I see alot of myself in these. Does being codependent mean that your the whole problem? What about the people in your life that your currently dealing with? My husband and I have just started marriage counseling. It has been one roller coaster after another.
Becoming aware that I am codependent and trying to learn exactly what all that means is not only scary, but,does that mean the problem is all me and I'm just imagining the problems with him? I'm really willing to take a good hard look at myself (He doesn't seem to be so willing) and I acknowledge that I am part of the problem, especially if I really am codependent. Where does one go from here? Can anyone here help me through this?

February 2, 2003
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Hi Tradewinds,
Welcome...
I like you name!
I think that the only person you can change is yourself. It doesn't mean that you are the problem, it just means that if you desire change then you need to focus on what you do to feed into the negative dynamics of the relationship. ( What isn't working.)
Have you heard of the Serenity Prayer?
It's kinda like that.
Serenity to accept the people, places and things that you have no control over, courage to work on yourself, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Marriage counseling is a great idea. Is it helping? Do you click with the counselor?

Yesterday was a little strange for me on the site here. I was getting alot of negative vibes so stayed off most of the day. I am glad you posted.
We have lots of wonderful support here usually. Good Luck.

February 2, 2003
10:23 am
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Thank you for responding, MJ. You are right of course. I do realize that I need to focus on me and what I can change about me. I certainly need to learn how to establish boundaries! We just started with the marriage counselor,(we have seen him before) so, we'll see out it goes. I don't really feel that he is able to see past the snow job. My husband could be an ice salesman to eskimos....it drives me crazy. Total denial. The good side to this is that I've taken responsibility for helping myself. I've started seeing a psychologist just for me. I feel really good about him and it is going well. This guy can't be snowed as was proven last week in an incident and I'm glad it happened.Last week after I came home from my first session, my husband wanted the psychologists name and phone number. I asked him why and he said because he wanted to talk to him. I told him that the name and phone number were on the fridge. At that time, I never knew if he had called him or not. I didn't ask. When I went for my session this past Thursday, the psychologist told me that my husband had called him to "tell him his side of things". The psychologist said that if there had been the slightest doubt in his mind about my husband, it was totally erased with that phone call. He said that it was clearly obvious that my husband had "severe personal (or personality) problems. I was somewhat relieved. Finally, there was someone who could see past the snow job.
When I came home this past Thursday after my session, my husband wanted to know what we had talked about. I wouldn't tell him. He keep pressing the issue and then got into one of his moods. We went to the marriage counselor that night for our appointment and it was talked about there. my husband was very upset that I wouldn't tell him what was going on in my psychology sessions. He tries to spin it as "being concerned and wanting to be supportive and of help" I sat there and said how lovely that reasoning sounded, but it was a bunch of malarky. my husband wasn't concerned about me. He was concerned about him. He was wanting to find out for his own information what was going on in counseling and if he was being talked about. I'm not stupid. He knows the Doc told me that he had called. So, having said all of that, and thanks for "listening", my question is this: How does one deal with a situation where you have a codependent and manipulator/controller in a relationship? Ok, We're going to counseling and thats great. That also takes alot of time and right now, my husband soes not acknowledge that there is anything wrong with him....it's all me. It's always all somebody! But, you guys know what this codependecy stuff is all about. I need some practical advice for the everyday stuff, not to mention the support. I really appreciate this forum where I can come and in safety, blow off some frustrations and hopefully learn some things to.
Thank-you!

February 2, 2003
10:43 am
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Hi again,
I think you are already making progress. You are helping yourself.

Your husband wants to be seen in such positive light....that is his problem.
You just want to deal with the problems and fix them.

I am reading Dr. Phil's books. They help me to understand my behavior.
He has lots of assignments to do.
We didn't get where we are in one day so we can't expect miracles overnight!

I practice a 12 step program to help me get through the day. Are you familiar with any that you could apply to your daily living to keep the focus on you?

February 2, 2003
10:54 am
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No, I don't know anything about 12 step programs or what they entail. I watch Dr. Phil most days and I think he's great. I haven't read any of his books....didn't know about them. Can I get them at Barnes and Noble or something? What are some of his books?

February 2, 2003
11:00 am
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The most recent book is "Self Matters"
and "Relationship Rescue" and "Life Strategies" by Phillip McGraw PHD.
I am sure you can get them just about anywhere....even on the internet!

Research Codependents Anoynomous on the web....for more information about the CODA twelve step program. I attend Al-Anon because we don't have any Coda meetings in my area.

Hope this helps!

February 2, 2003
11:02 am
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Also, Melody Beatties "Codependent No More" is an excellent book published a while ago.....
I took the traits from her book and started this thread.

February 2, 2003
11:02 am
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I'll do that......thanks alot, MJ!

February 2, 2003
11:04 am
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I begin my mornings with readings from "Letting Go..." by melody beattie
because they help start my day with positive affirmations...

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