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Melody Beattie

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Melody Beattie is the author of Codependent No More, which when published in 1987 by the publishing division of the Hazelden Foundation became a phenomenon of the self-help movement. The book went on to sell over eight million copies, and it introduced the word codependent to the world.

Melody Beattie is the author of over a dozen other books, such as Beyond Codependency, The Language of Letting Go, The Lessons of Love and her 2006 release from Hazelden entitled "The Grief Club."

Rather like Bill Wilson's Alcoholics Anonymous five decades earlier, Beattie's early work took the previously complex object relations and interpersonal theories of people like Heinz Kohut, Wilfred Bion and Otto Kernberg and put them in language people could easily grasp.

Her Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency also re-phrased many of the notions expressed in the Al-Anon 12 Step movement into more modern language, and made the notion of addiction to a person (who was addicted to a substance or a behavioral process) part of the western cultural lexicon.

Codependent No More had been preceded by professional literature like Timmen Cermak's Diagnosing and Treating Co-Dependence, but truly put the concept on the map, as well as providing the first "big book" for a new, and very fast-growing 12 Step take-off on AA called Co-Dependents Anonymous. "CoDA" now has a conference-approved (official), AA-like, "big book" of its own. Beattie's works continue to be staples in the CoDA meeting rooms, however.

Unlike Bill Wilson, who gave his hugely influential work away without compensation beyond his comparatively meager stipend as AA's paid major domo for several decades, Beattie has made millions as an author and lecturer. This has troubled purists in the 12 Step world.

Nevertheless, Co-Dependents Anonymous (the organization) has influenced well over a million people, and is increasingly "prescribed" by members of the professional mental health community as a self-help adjunct treatment for marital, family of origin and other relationship difficulties well beyond involvement with practicing substance or process abusers.


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