Our experience shows that the codependent rupture, which creates an outward focus to gain love or affirmation, is created by a dysfunctional childhood. It is the same rupture among adult children of all family types. This soul rupture is the abandonment by our parents or caregivers. The abandonment sets us up for a life of looking outward for love and safety that never comes. The codependence of the adult child from the alcoholic or nonalcoholic home is the same and leads to the same loss of self. As adult children, we focus on ourselves for the surest results. We gradually free ourselves from codependent or addictive relationships. We address our “addictiveness.”

With addictiveness, we tend to use almost everything in our path to cauterize our continual bleeding of the soul. Food, sex, drugs, work, spending, religion, and people are fair game for a codependent ACA trying to feel safe or loved. Some of us describe feeling like a black hole pulling everything in our path into us, yet letting nothing escape, not even light. Our addictive relationships represent our impulse to heal our family of origin through our adult relationships. Because we were not consistently nurtured and made to feel safe as children, ACA’s from all families spend their lives chasing love and affirmation in other people, who often cannot give it. The ACA focus on one’s self is a proven remedy to this spiritual dilemma.  

p. 60,61 ACA Red Book, Chapter 3. “My Parents Did Not Drink, But I Can Relate.” 

I have run across this term, “soul rupture” a few times in the ACA red book. It is a metaphor that describes a tear in the original membrane of ourselves, that invisible boundary that all human beings have that contains the self.

You might think of this membrane  as the body’s atmosphere. Much like the atmosphere that contains the earth. Think of all the chaotic events that would unfold on the earth if there was a hole in this atmosphere. We certainly wouldn’t last very long. Our very oxygen and natural environment are completely dependent on the tightly contained atmospheric membrane that keeps us all safe.  The earth is not designed to exist with a hole in its boundary. Neither are we.

I have heard this soul rupture described as a rip, a tear, a hole in the atmosphere that contains the self, the identity. Our identity is that innate knowledge of self recognition that becomes the foundation for all the growth we experience in our lives. Also, the foundation for a healthy spirituality. Yet, we often go through our daily lives as if this soul rupture does not exist. None of us wants to have a hole in our soul. Yet, it is there and this is why ACA came into being, to heal this soul rupture and help us to experience life with a healthy atmosphere, a solid boundary.

The methods we have used to try and cope with this hole, this rip, the tear, this rupture of soul, are codependence and addictiveness. It is as if this hole in the soul becomes a portal through which anyone can enter. Likewise,  the soul rupture becomes an avenue through which our energy, creativity, confidence and self esteem escape and are projected onto other people. Rather than having the ability to contain these energies such as creativity and confidence, our broken atmosphere cannot contain them safely. So, we desperately search for our true selves in other people, begging them to fix us, trying to fix ourselves in them. We also use addictions to try and heal this rupture. But what we are really looking for is a kind of stability that would enable us to heal the rupture. These codependencies and addictive behaviors are actually techniques we are using to try and heal ourselves, but of course, they do not work.

The 12 steps, our ACA groups and the program help us to focus on what we need to find healing and restoration. As we work the program and focus on ourselves, we notice over time that the soul rupture becomes closed up, sewn up by the hands of a Higher Power, a Loving Parent and an Inner Child. As it begins to close, we take refuge in ourselves, in our quiet time of meditation, we begin to be able to fill the atmosphere of our true self for the first time in our lives. We sense an inner peace, an inner longing to know ourselves for the first time. We may crave more solitude, become more creative, have more energy for spending quality time with others. We also develop distaste for codependence and addiction as we are restored to new life. These things happen gradually over time as we work the program.

We begin to give up our hyper vigilance when we realize no one is coming through the soul rupture any more to steal our identity. We are no longer leaking out of it. Our nervous energy settles down. Our boundary becomes sealed and we are able, perhaps for the first time, to experience love and connection. We thought before that love and connection came from our ability to control others and our environment. But we had to exercise control because our inner environment was always out of control, in chaos, due to the soul rupture. Before, we were always occupied with the business of repair.

As our boundary is healed, we become more willing to engage in friendship, honesty, trust, love and likewise, we disengage from relationships in which these things do not exist, or at the very least, we detach.  We learn to tell the difference between love and pity or love and abuse. We learn right from wrong for the first time in our lives. We become less confused in our work and our daily lives, we become members of the human race.

We become inwardly focused so that we can engage in the world and in serving others from a place of wholeness.

Prayer: Higher Power, today, I will depend on you to heal this rupture in my soul. I will let go of frustration, of resistance and learn to flow as you flow. I understand that you are bringing about the healing of a wound I have carried all my life. This is slow work, daily work and I will partner with you in my healing.

Sherry C.