Entry #2 – All I ever wanted …

Poster-LoResDuring 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 42 – Enslaved

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. Romans 6:20-22 NLT

So I’m codependent. What does that mean? When did that start?

When I was young, all I ever wanted was to have a special person love me. Was that too much to ask? I’d seen good relationships, so I knew they were possible. But storybook relationships always seem to be illusive to me; always out of my grasp.

What started out as something very good—having the goal to be in a loving relationship—turned into something very damaging. It wasn’t long before I went from wanting to be in a relationship, to needing to be in one. I was obsessed.

This obsession started when I was seventeen. I decided—with all the wisdom that I could muster up at that age—to fix all my life’s problems, I would need to be married. I reasoned that I would be happy if a fella stood up in front of our families and friends promising to love me forever. That, I reasoned, would make my storybook life come true. That’s when I would have everything I ever wanted. Then I would be ready to start living my happily-ever-after life.

But it didn’t happen that way. By the time I was twenty, I was married … and divorced. Yet my failure did not deter me. I still had a plan. I soon set out in search for my next special relationship ( or should I say victim).

It didn’t take long for me to find someone else; and soon I was married again; this time I was additionally blessed with two children. It wasn’t long before I decided I wasn’t happy after all. Another divorce. Next time, I reasoned, would be the right one, for sure!

When the next relationship came around, I remarried without hesitation, adding one more child to my nest. Yet after a few years this relationship, too, had a disastrous end. By the time I was forty, I had three marriages and divorces behind me.

I was a Christian. How did I allow this craziness into my life? I always thought God wanted me to be happy. I was trying to find that happiness the best way I could. Yet with all my efforts, my life was still out of control. My days were filled with either depression or anger. I had tried—really tried—to do what I thought I was supposed to do. Yet I dealt with one failure after another.

Could it be that I was out of line with this relationship thing? It became clear that my need to be in a relationship was more important than anything else. This need for someone special was controlling me. And the relationships I was choosing were not healthy ones. What a fool I had been for all those years. I thought I was in control, yet my life was a train wreck. What had happened to my plan? It looked so good when I started; it made sense at the time.

With the help from healthy Christians, solid friends and getting back to scripture, I realized my focus was all about pleasure. My obsessions—relationships with men—were my masters. Instead of controlling my surroundings, my surroundings were controlling me. Instead if finding the happiness I always wanted, all I had in my life was shame, guilt and resentment.

I needed to make a change. But was I too damaged? Could this destructive cycle even be broken? Could I break this life of addiction and learn how to live a healthy life? After so many years of selfishness, did I really want to put Christ first and live second …?

Find out in my next blog how I learned to deal with addiction.

Tweet using #IASenslaved to share your thoughts.

Entry #1 – Hello, my name is …

Poster-LoResDuring Launch Week, (December 9-15) for Doug Bender’s, Live Second, I have been asked to participate in writing four blog entries telling the story of my spiritual journey as it correlates with four separate entries from his book. Come along and experience … and learn why I live second.

Page 40 – Confession

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

Hello, my name is …. I use to make fun of those words. How many times had I heard those words spoken on television? Losers, all of them. If they would just get it together ….

I certainly wasn’t a 12-stepper. How could I be? I was a deacon at my church. I was the glue that held my family together. I was the one who helped others. I certainly didn’t need the help. All the people around me were the ones with the problems. And besides, I loved Jesus. How could I have any problems if I was a Christian? Wasn’t life supposed to be better once I had a relationship with Christ?

But I was anything but in control of my life; I, in fact, was a real mess. And here I was, secretly attending a meeting that I heard might help.

I was in an emotional fog the first Thursday evening when I stepped into a 12-step meeting. It was in a private side room of a local church. The smell of strong coffee hung in the air as I listened to nondescript chit-chat before the meeting was called to order. Everyone refilled their drink and found their place in the circle of folding chairs.

As the leader began reading from a worn notebook, a hush fell over the room. After the reading of the Serenity Prayer, everyone took a turn introducing themselves, stating their compulsion, and sharing a bit about their week. I was surprised at the different walks of life that was represented in the room. There were professionals and laborers … mommies and grandpas.

When it was my turn, I just gave my name and said I was there to listen and learn. There’s no way I’m going to talk, I thought to myself. I’m not one of these whackos.

I don’t remember much about the discussion that followed. All I knew was that I wanted to get out of there; I wanted to return to the world that was familiar to me. Maybe, I thought, that world wasn’t really all that bad.

But as the days followed, I couldn’t get the 12-step meeting and the people I met there out of my mind. These people—these self-described failures—had a peace about them that I couldn’t explain. Especially a lady called D. Young, pretty, and confident. Why was she there? She appeared to be everything I wanted to be. And there was no mistaking the sense of peace around her. I reasoned that if I went back and just talked with her, she could share her secrets to finding this peace. As Thursday grew closer, I knew I needed to return to that meeting.

Like the week before, once everyone had their coffee, we all found our way to the circle of chairs. I made sure to sit by D, thinking that I could help glean her secret by proximity. Once the meeting started and the Serenity Prayer was read, people once again introduced themselves and their compulsion, and sharing their low points as well as their victories since the last meeting.

When it came to D, she began sharing how during the past week she had experienced—once again, she said—how she needed to trust God enough to share her brokenness with him. She shared how she tried to hold it together on her own—yet again—but it had proven to be impossible, just as it had been impossible in the past. She knew she had to share with the group—confess her shortcomings—if she was ever going to get her peace back. She needed to be honest—rigorously honest—with God and her trusted Family of Choice if she was ever going to have what she wanted.

I knew at that moment that I had walked into a safe place where I could learn to be honest as I had never been before. I knew I was where I needed to be to learn more about giving control over to God. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I realized in that moment that I would need to be second …

Hello, my name is Robin and I’m … co-dependent.

Follow me as I discovered why I did what I did … and who was really my master. Follow me as I learned to live second.

Tweet using #IASconfession to share your thoughts.