ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 220: Hello, Hello
My Twelve-Step friends and I have eaten the tangerines. We’ve talked of our recurring dreams. Now we open our Fourth-Step workbooks.
Tonight’s topic is relationships.
For co-dependents, this is The Biggie. We six were all born into dysfunctional families and developed unhealthy relationship patterns to cope and to survive. We’re recognizing these unhealthy patterns and learning to be honest and assertive and trusting with ourselves and with others. We’re learning to set boundaries — what we allow and what we don’t from ourselves and from others.
The six of us take turns responding to the workbook questions. Our responses are extensive and invite further responses. The hour goes by quickly.
It’s time to leave. We hug each other.
“Have a good evening,” Hannah says to me. Ruth turns off the light. We go out the side door and head to the parking lot.
“I feel awkward at hellos and good-bys,” I say to Joe, “maybe because, growing up in my family, we didn’t say hello or good-by to each other. The nine of us came and went, each in his own world even if he didn’t want to be.”
Joe hugs me. “Hello, hello,” he says.
Hello, hello, I say to myself.