“It is your responsibility to put yourself in a situation 
to get the things you need.” 

-Gary Zukav

I have had a few life-changing aha moments in my life…like the time I was reading “Codependent No More” and discovered I was a walking, codependent cliché with daddy issues. Very upsetting to realize you are not as special as you think you are.

But the big one came, not as divinely as I would have anticipated, but still clearly orchestrated by a higher power, the cosmos, what have you. At the time, I was separated from my alcoholic and drug-addicted husband. I was only 26…a very naive and codependent 26. I was pretty convinced I was a victim of the entire experience, especially since I had been beating my head against the wall of his addiction and his family’s massive dysfunction for years. The martyr is absolved, right?

I happened to be traveling in a different time zone and wanted to catch this episode of Oprah with Gary Zukav, author of “Seat of the Soul.” I wasn’t a huge Gary fan per se, but the trailer had resonated with me in an unusual way. I thought I had correctly calculated the time change, and I had. But had not changed my watch. Brilliant. So when I discovered I had missed it, I was extremely disappointed. I decided to go work out in the hotel gym. I walked in and saw Oprah on the gym TV, minus the sound. WHAT?!! I raced up to my room and turned on the TV. (It turns out, Oprah was on at a different time in this time zone…a stroke of “luck.”)

Here comes the epiphany part: the split second the TV came on, Gary Zukav said,
“It is your responsibility to put yourself in a situation to get the things you need.”

I may as well have been hit in the head with a two by four. It took me ten minutes to pick my jaw up off the floor.

I had preached for so long about personal responsibility, but until that moment, I hadn’t understood what that really meant. I genuinely thought it was the job of my drug-addicted husband (and any other idiot I’d dated) to give me what I needed, and. I had been determined to bleed it out of them when all I ever had to do was walk away. The personal responsibility I was advocating was theirs, not my own. No wonder I had been disappointed my whole life. I finally grasped my role in the whole dysfunctional cycle, and suddenly felt so empowered! What a relief to know I could actually influence the outcome of my life.

It seems I was destined to hear that simple, and somewhat obvious, piece of wisdom from Gary Zukav that day, regardless of time zones. I understand, too, that I was open to it as I was genuinely seeking meaningful change at the time. And although there were no major bells or whistles in that moment, my life has been infinitely more fulfilling because of that simple message.

– Susan McCoy, Austin, Texas


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