Connect with us

The Codependent’s Husband’s Backup Sandwich

Adobe Stock


The Codependent’s Husband’s Backup Sandwich

I have a lot of hangups about food – largely because I was a good little co-dependent who practiced people pleasing, controlling, and perfectionism in all my affairs – especially in the kitchen.

Old School Shame And Bad Habits

  • My son couldn’t have corn syrup or artificial flavors. Got it
  • My husband has a family history of cancer. Cue the broccoli
  • My Dad swears wasting food actually causes starvation among African children, so I ignore my body’s signal of fullness and clean my plate
  • My Mom’s unrelenting pressure on me to eat white bread causes me to stress eat…the whole loaf

For years, I didn’t know all of these small behaviors were a part of a bigger problem. The family disease of alcoholism left its mark on me in the form of co-dependency. For years, I didn’t recognize the symptoms of this phenomenon. Since I’ve been in the rooms of recovery, I’ve made great strides in the kitchen and my life. To learn more about the family disease of co-dependency, visit our co-dependency page.

New Year – New Habit

Going into 2017, I’m taking my meals to a whole new region of uncomfortable growth – the Mediterranean. For Christmas this year, my best friend gave me a Mediterranean cookbook. It’s lovely and so outside of my comfort zone. It calls for seasonings like cardamom. Yet staring at this beautiful cookbook with all its fresh new fangled recipes is terrifying to me. I feel like I’m on top a skyscraper getting ready to bungee jump off. I ask myself why?

What’s my real dilemma here? I am afraid, very afraid. I’m taking my happiness into my own hands. I’m being responsible for me.  

I’m letting go of the ability to blame others for my life being less than I want it to be.

A small chunk of my fear is legit. My husband will likely scoff at such exotic ingredients like figs or olives, but I’m giving that scenario way too much power. The real question in my recovery is always, “What do I want?” Recovery challenges me to do what is best for me  instead of to wish my life away. I want to be a person who loves life and eats Greek food.

Freedom In The Kitchen

To let that happen, I must relinquish control of my husband’s response to my new food. I no longer need to lengthen and enrich his life by preparing the foods I think he should eat. He can fix himself foods he likes, and I can be brave enough to do the same.

The Husband’s Backup Sandwich


  • 1 pound of nitrate free lunch meat (because we aim for progress, not perfection)
  • 1 pound of sliced co-jack cheese (his favorite – I prefer provolone)
  • Mayonnaise (Even though I prefer Miracle Whip)
  • Wheat bread (Poor fella lost that battle years ago – he’s forgotten he used to only eat white bread.)

Instructions: When husband scoffs at exotic new meal point to kitchen. “I got all your favorite fixins. Feel free to create your dream sandwich.”

A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Pam Carver



Pam is the author of Co-dependent In The Kitchen, and she's a contributing editor for Recovery Guidance. She's a recovery advocate who likes long walks on the beach and chocolate.

More in Opinion


Recovery Topics

To Top