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Celebrate Recovery

Testimony: Freedom From Co-Dependency

I still remember the moment I realized I was co-dependent. Through Celebrate Recovery, I had been working on issues with control and people pleasing. However, I hadn’t quite put the full puzzle together yet. I was sitting in a breakout session at the Celebrate Recovery National Summit in 2017 and it hit me all at once. “I’m struggling with co-dependency!” My eyes welled up with tears as I processed that thought. I so desperately wanted to be a strong, independent woman and here I was – co-dependent.

I was born into a broken home, with a father recently home from the Vietnam War and a mother determined not to repeat the mistakes she experienced growing up. Life was unstable and emotional, to say the least. It didn’t take long for me to figure out the last thing my world needed was more emotional turmoil. Instead, I was determined to bring joy and approval into my life. I would earn the love my father wasn’t capable of showing and my parents would never be anything but proud of me. It was a tall order, but it made me feel powerful and in control of my world. I see now it was all just an illusion. At the same time, to my little girl way of thinking, it was the perfect solution.

I was an over-achiever all through elementary and middle school. I was a straight A student and the teacher’s pet year after year. It wasn’t until high school when I got interested in boys that all the insecurity of my childhood caught up with me. Would I ever be enough for someone to love? Old habits die hard. So, I went straight to my reliable tactic of people pleasing and perfectionism. After all, what value did I bring to the relationship, if not the ability to put aside my own needs to make the other person happy? This pattern followed me through failed relationship after failed relationship and right into my marriage. I was determined to be the perfect wife and mother to our three boys. In fact, I was determined to have the perfect family, at least from the outside. On the inside, we had our share of issues. I was in complete denial about the role I played in our mess.

Early in 2016, our family was dealt a catastrophic blow when our oldest son went to prison. My entire picture-perfect life came crumbling down. I found myself in Celebrate Recovery. Here, I could be my real self; I could let all the messy, imperfect, undone parts of me show. All I had to be was a daughter of the one true King. Years of expectations and striving melted away. I was loved by God and I mattered to Him, no matter what. It was freedom I had never known.

A little over a year later, I came to the realization that I had spent a lifetime being co-dependent.  It was a hard truth, but having the words to put to my issues, gave me hope. Celebrate Recovery gave me the tools to move forward to a place of healthy relationships inside my home and out in the world. This year I will celebrate 3 years free of my co-dependent habits. I am a ministry leader at my home Celebrate Recovery in Austin, TX. I am forever grateful to God and to Celebrate Recovery for helping me find a life of freedom and giving me the chance to turn my mess into a message.

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