Hello, My name is Kim, I am a grateful child of God, and I have discovered that I struggle with Co-dependency.

I have been asked by a friend to share my personal journey regarding this subject. I will begin by sharing what I have discovered and what I believe has been required to come to terms with and stay in recovery in my life as a co-dependent.

It starts with a humble heart before the Lord. I have heard the word “co-dependent” many times over the past 29 years and I have even stumbled upon it while reading self help books over the past 26 years. I never gave it a lot of thought. Over the past year and a half, my family and I have gone through severe family and personal crisis that have begun to expose a heart filled with pain and anxiety, I fell so far into despair, It seems to me, looking back, that I spent almost every minute on my knees crying out to the Lord for help. I was emotionally spent and at my end.

The fall of 2011, I was blessed to be able to attend a women’s retreat at the request of my Sister-in-law.  She had only recently come into a personal relationship with Jesus, and didn’t want to go alone. How could I say “No?”  Little did I realize, the retreat was more for me than it was for her.  All weekend, I kept hearing, from different women that I was paired with, “You must be co-dependent!”  At first, I took offense, but after observing their heart’s for the Lord, hearing their testimonies and the powerful confessions of their own personal recovery from Co-Dependency, I knew I needed to know more.  I wanted to experience the hope, the freedom and the joy that I could see beaming from their faces and through the energy they shared with each other. That was a start…there is more…

I felt as if God was telling me to take the step of faith. It was more like a giant leap. I loved my Lord and would walk, run or leap if He asked me to.  I looked up a ministry by the name of Celebrate Recovery. They had a meeting each Thurs at 6:30.  I had 3 days to pray and think about it.  I knew that God was urging me to walk by faith.

That first night, I walked, across that parking lot, into a room where they were singing and praising the Lord. I thought “This is a good sign”. Next, there were the expected formalities that go with any program, church service or ministry. They gave their introductions, announcements, took an offering, etc, but most remarkable was, on this particular night, a woman gave her testimony of her life, where she had been and where God has taken her. It was her “Road to Recovery”, . Yes, that is what they call it..  It was nothing short of  seeing God’s grace in action. After, the big group time, I sat in on a “Newcomer’s Group”.   There, everyone had a chance to share, or not, it was their choice. They would share why they were there and I honestly, didn’t know why.  I couldn’t bring myself to say, “I am co-dependent”. When the time ran out, we were taken aside and directed into what group would best serve us if we chose to come back the next week.  They could see right through me and suggested that I attend The women’s Co-dependency group.”

I was not completely at ease, I feared what would I have to do if I came back and what people would think? What would I tell my family as an explanation for leaving every Thursday night?  I considered not returning, but God had other plans.  It helped that everyone was warm, joyful, non judging and, (can I say it?) Non-pious.  No-one was there to preach or judge, fix or correct me. There was just this sense of acceptance, and encouragement to seek God’s word, love, mercy and His grace through the means of a safe a caring support group.

I have been attending, faithfully, every Thursday for 2 and 1/2 years now.  At first, I told my family I was attending counseling, the truth is. It was a form of counseling for me.  In time, I was able to share with my husband the details of where, why and what.  Surprisingly, he was accepting and at times would show full support and encouragement, not only to attend, but also giving me the space to build relationships with the special women in my my small Step Study group. He has told me that he can see change, in fact, just yesterday, he said me, “Honey, I am noticing that you serve your family and manage our home with a great balance of, both, Martha and Mary.”  Imagine that?

I have learned so much. Now, I wake up each day and take on each situation, good or bad, with the knowledge that God loves me, “That while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me” and that I matter to Him, and He has a plan for me, a plan to live in the Freedom and Joy of my Salvation.  I have made some deep connections with other women in my small group, who like me, struggle with co-dependency. They don’t try to fix me, counsel me, instead, they are there for support, encouragement, prayer and accountability.

Because of my attendance at Celebrate Recovery, I can honestly say, I am seeing the healing side of recovery.  I have found support, encouragement and accountability. Oh, I probably wrote that already, but it is what it is in a nut-shell. I am participating in a weekly Step Study. It is aimed at specific areas of compulsion or addiction and recovery steps to find healing and create healthy habits for change..

Being a part of a group like this is where the rubber meets the road.  It has been the help that I needed after I made a decision to come clean from whatever has come between me and my wholeness in the Lord. I am learning to be honest with myself, God and someone I trust. I feel that I have found a similar support from other small groups and I am a New Life ministry junkie

Let me repeat, I struggle with co-dependency and, although, I am not addicted to any substance the struggles read out at the same way at their root. It reads out as a compulsion to have control over something or someone. My addiction is my family.  I have spent most of my adult life choosing to have control over my family in the form of enabling, serving and loving them too much.  Why?  I believe it stems from a void in my life, a need to be needed and a need to validate or feel valued. When they needed me, I felt I had a purpose.

This type of controlling behavior has been just as damaging as any addiction and has not been a healthy or happy way to live.  I’ve learned, I’m not alone, Most people have their addictions rooted in a compulsion to control. I’ve looked at my past and can see its has some it roots from trauma from my past, (separation of a total dependency of God leaving a void) I’m still unraveling the specifics, but it might have been a way to cope with physical, emotional abuse, or due to my struggle of unmet needs. As a Christian I’ve said it but now I understand it and surrender daily my wants, needs and expectations knowing only the Lord can heal, restore and fill my heart.

It is amazing to see the victory in the lives of the people who go to this ministry and I too have a place to seek healing, restoration and (YES) wholeness through the forgiveness from the Lord. I’m have begun to experience from and to other people too. resulting in restored relationships. God has become my true and only source of life and liberty. Im learning new healthy choices while staying connected to a safe support group where I receive encouragement from other believers.  The most awesome result of recovery is I can give this new life away by my example, to bring that same encouragement and hope to others.

I know. No one is without sin, it just comes in different forms. I look around and see hurting people struggling in their hurts, habits and hangups. I am so grateful to God that He used a point in my life to direct me to the freedom found in confession, repentance, forgiveness and the new life born in a relationship with and because of Jesus Christ.

I have always known of Jesus, but knowing Jesus requires that she also knows me intimately, that includes every secret, every sin, every compulsion, and every fear.  There is a new found Freedom in living my life when I fully rely on His love, grace a mercy each and every day.  “Not my will be done, but Yours” becomes, truth, living and active, not just a prayer, but a way of living.

In closing, I can see that my over loving, is no less of a sin than any other compulsion or unhealthy habit. Turning my life over to God and His will is the only solution.  I am a work in progress.  Heb 10:14 has always been a special verse to me. .. God’s grace is sufficient, for me and you!

On the Road to Recovery for me means participating in a biblical study, focused on my personal relationship with Jesus and dependence on Him, meeting once a week with other women who are doing the same, staying in touch with someone I can be accountable to, reading God’s word, and journal my heart, prayers, praise reports, struggles and successes as I journey home with Joy in my King.