Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review: "Codependent No More Workbook" by Melody Beattie

Summary from The Codependent No More Workbook was designed for Beattie fans spanning the generations, as well as for those who may not yet even understand the meaning and impact of their codependency. In this accessible and engaging workbook, Beattie uses her trademark down-to-earth style to offer readers a Twelve Step, interactive program to stop obsessing about others by developing the insight, strength, and resilience to start taking care of themselves.

Through hands-on guided journaling, exercises, and self-tests, readers will learn to integrate the time-tested concepts outlined in Codependent No More into their daily lives by
  • setting and enforcing healthy limits
  • developing a support system through healthy relationships with others and a higher power
  • experiencing genuine love and forgiveness
  • letting go and detaching from others' harmful behaviors
Whether fixated on a loved one with depression, an addiction, an eating disorder, or other self-destructive behaviors, or someone who makes unhealthy decisions, this book offers the practical means to plot a comprehensive, personalized path to hope, healing, and the freedom to be your own best self.

I chose this book to review because this subject is very personal to me. Without going into too much detail, I have a family member that has an addiction. It has been a very trying time for me over the past year. I actually own the original book CODEPENDENT NO MORE but I haven't opened it yet. However, when this book was offered to me I realized that some good would come out of me reading it.

Going to a 12 step program such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon or Codependents Anonymous is something the book highly recommends. The format of the book is shaped around the 12 steps of Codependents Anonymous with each chapter going into detail about a step or two. The steps are similar to those in other 12 step programs with slight adaptations to fit Codependents. Each chapter has exercises and activities to make sure the reader understands the steps discussed. Since it can take months or even years to move past certain steps, it can be a while before the book is finished. However taking as much time as it needs to come to this understanding is beneficial to find healing.

There are some places where I am in disagreement with the author. I'm not sure if this is because of my faith vs. the theory but several times I felt that I could not agree with Beattie. I completely understand the need that I need to focus on myself and reevaluate how I am acting and thinking. Maybe I just read it wrong or I'm not completely understanding but there were times when I felt that it seemed that the addict or whoever is causing you to be codependent was not at fault and you were. To worry or even think about them at all seemed to be wrong. It's said that you might even need to completely cut them out of your life in order to make yourself better. The thing with that is that even if you DO cut them out completely and never see or talk to them again, you'll still think about them. To completely have absolutely no feeling for them is impossible or at least it is for me. Still it's a good thing because it makes you think a lot and helps you to reevaluate how you have been living your life.

While I feel that the info in this book is very valuable and highly informative, as a workbook it fell flat for me. When I think of a workbook, I expect to be able to write IN the actual book. If an exercise called for jotting down thoughts or creating a list, I would expect to see actual space and lines in the book to write in. I also would have like a questionnaire or a survey to take to evaluate how you were before starting to read the book. Unfortunately this workbook contains none of that. Anytime there is an activity that calls for writing, the reader is expected to write in an external journal. I don't like that because that seems to defeat the entire purpose of a workbook. It means having to keep up with an extra item and seems pointless. I would want to keep everything together and in the future having to keep referring back and forth between two books would be confusing especially if you lose one. Therefore while the information is greatly useful, the actual setup of the workbook failed.

This is a book not to be rushed through. I read it pretty quickly to finish it in time for the tour but it's a book that I will be going back through again more slowly to make sure that everything sinks in. I found that I have been doing a lot of stuff already that the book mentioned prior to reading the book but there is still more that I need to learn and practice. Regardless of any criticism I've had in this review, please note that I'm not in denial about any codependency issues that I have. It is something that I have to work on in my life and pray that healing and hope will come my way.

Codependent No More Workbook by Melody Beattie is published by Hazelden (2011)

This ARC was provided for a blog tour with TLC Book Tours

I'm able to give away one copy of this book provided by the publicist. To enter, you must fill out the form below. This contest is open to US and Canada entrants only. Winner will be picked Thursday May 5. For this contest, I will not be announcing the winner on the blog but will be emailing the winner privately.

PLEASE use the form only to enter the contest. For any comments about the book, review, etc. please use the comments link at the bottom of the post. All information must be filled out correctly or else your entry will not count. (ie. you must use FULL name and list your mailing address). Your info will only be used for this contest and will be deleted after the contest is over.


  1. I agree that it wasn't a super accessible workbook... it was more for aiding in serious contemplation and for journaling outside the book. I really feel for most people that this book is one that should be done along with seeing a therapist.

  2. Thanks for checking it out and sharing it with your readers. I'm glad you found parts of it useful and that you'll go back through it more slowly- hopefully it will become a good resource for you. Thanks so much for being on the tour!


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