My Four Year Chip: I grew up in a less than nurturing family. My father was scary and abusive to all of us. Physically beating up my brothers and mother. And sexually abusing my older sister and me. My mother was very afraid of him. We all walked on eggshells living in fear about the next violent outburst, which was not often but very volatile. We did everything in our power to please him and not upset him. Relief came when they divorced when I was 10.
My mother then went on to marry a military guy but drinking on weekends was a big issue. I became a weekend mom to my half-brother at the age of 13. I finally moved out on my own the week after turning 18 yrs old and promptly fell in love with a great guy who—I thought at the time—would bring normalcy to my life. I was extremely docile and majorly into pleasing him. Turns out he was a narcissist (which I only figured out with CoDA). He did not take kindly to my requests to have him meet my needs and do things for me. So, unhappy with my change, he found another extremely codependent woman to rescue and divorced me. My husband now is a wonderfully codependent guy and a situational alcoholic. As we struggled through raising a blended family, I decided being docile didn’t work. Then my crazy codependent behavior—seeking full control and to always be right—raised its ugly head. I did get counseling and found out what codependence was, but I stopped going when things got better.
After an incident where my husband almost died from partying too much my friend suggested CoDA to me. My higher power was looking out for me, because a new CoDA group had started in my town! And my husband took control of his excessive drinking.
Four years ago, I truly began my recovery with a very slow start. The first year was eye-opening and hopeful with each meeting. I worked the steps on my own, because I knew I could do it myself. Improvement did happen and life calmed down for me some of the time.
Somewhere in my second year the step study group started, and I honestly started working the steps and finally asked someone to be my sponsor. The deeper I went the more I saw improvement in my peace of mind and relationships. In addition to being trusted servant, I volunteered for Treasurer and key holder along the way.
My third year was filled with more work that brought me even closer to God. To the point that I pushed myself by volunteering to help at the mini conference and even being on the panel of speakers!
This last year I became Group Rep and a sponsor. And even co-taught a step study workshop at the mini conference. I found that by stepping out of my comfort zone my CoDA recovery is becoming more ingrained, though I am still a work in progress. No one told me what happens as a sponsor, finding new boundaries, working to be true to sponsees. Reworking/reviewing my old answers to the 30 questions has shown me more ways to improve and also how much I have changed.
What I have learned is that going slow and steady is okay—I kept coming back! It is absolutely fine for me not to be perfect and to own my wrongdoings as fast as I can. The best learning has come from my missteps and doing service work.
I’ve learned to fully trust God to help me forge ahead on this path I’ve chosen. And that path has brought me to a place of peace, joy and sanity in my life.
Joyce M. – 7/5/19