During Launch Week, (December 9-15) for Doug Bender’s, Live Second, I have been asked to participate in writing blog entries telling the story of my spiritual journey as it correlates with separate entries from his book. Come along and experience … and learn why I live second.
Page 43 – Addict
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. Romans 7:15 NLT
The day that I realized I was addicted to relationships (co-dependent) was the best day—as well as the worst day—of my life. The best because I learned that there were other people just like me who learned to control their compulsion and that if I followed their example, I would be able to manage my compulsion, too. And it was the worst day of my life because I realized I had an emotional condition that could never be healed; only controlled. Just as those dealing with Diabetes who need to take insulin on a regular basis, I would always need to manage my compulsion.
Listening to healthy people who understood my addiction, I learned that there were aspects to this condition that I was responsible for, and they guided me in addressing what mistakes were mine. I learned to accept the fact that if Paul, hero of the First Century church, struggled with doing what was not right, I needed to stop expecting perfection from myself. God wasn’t interested in me pursuing my perfection, but accepting his. That included being transparently honest about my brokenness; with Christ as well as the support system around me. In addition to learning how to be honest, I focused my time searching Scripture for promises from God telling me that I was worth it.
After my last divorce, I knew I needed to look at my life differently. I asked God to be my first love. I asked him to put blinders on my eyes so I could stay focused on only two things: getting closer to him and being the best Mom I could be to the children he blessed me with. As I read scripture, his word came alive with promise after promise. I often returned to some of my favorites in difficult times: Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 3:5-6, and Hebrews 13:5.
I came to the realization that because I was addicted to relationships, I needed to steer clear of them. Just as a recovering alcoholic needed to stay away from alcohol or where alcohol was used, I needed to stay away from men. Once I accepted what was controlling my life, I knew I had to live differently. I stopped dating completely. I concentrated on what I needed to do to be healthy. I focused on my children and my Lord. I read my Bible every day and spend much time in prayer. I was in church every time the doors were open. I focused on being the parent I needed to be to my children. I had a plan again, but this time it was centered on who God wanted me to be.
And God met me where I was. I was still co-dependent but learned that I could be thankful for my condition. In my addiction—my brokenness—I was able to clearly see my need of a Savior. I needed to be second.
I was so close. I knew what I wanted and I knew what to do to have it. But knowing was only part of the battle. I had to do what God wanted me to do. I still needed to understand and trust God. Would I—an addict—be willing to put God first? Follow me into the last blog of this series and see how I find release from my demons.
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