Category Archives: Co-dependency

Side Tracks


I took my youngest (by a minute) G.son to school this morning. I haven’t counted but there are probably 20 or more traffic lights between here and there and back. About two thirds of the way to school I realized I had stopped at only one red light!! We continued on to school, I dropped him off and on the way back it continued – Green light after Green light after Green light! WOW!! What a wonderful day this is going to be!”

  • Then, it happened! I did it! It was my fault! I wasn’t paying attention (too busy congratulating myself, I think) to where I was and I made a wrong right turn.  About two blocks down that road, I realized where I was and at the first opportunity made a U-turn.

I’ve been in Recovery a bit more than 8 years. This path I’m on is MUCH smoother now than before. There are days I hit “Green light after Green light after Green light.” It’s real tempting on those days to not pay close enough attention to where I’m going. Some days, before I know it, I’ve made a wrong turn. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the consequences that await me at the end of that side track. I’m now much quicker to realize I’m headed the wrong way and I make that U-turn at the first chance I get.

This morning, when I realized where I was and what I’d done, all I did was say: “Oh, Ratz!” I didn’t reach into my “backpack” and grab my favorite tool to beat myself up. (like I used to) In the past, I would become so wrapped up in condemning myself for my mistake, I could be MILES down the road, and it would be a LONG way back. Sometimes, I’d get lost down that side track and wonder if I’d EVER make it back.

My WW and I love taking Road Trips. When I’m driving, she usually pays pretty close attention to what’s going on around us. I’ve told her “If U see something U think I need to be aware of, feel free to speak up.” It’s always better for her to speak and tell me something I already know than to keep silent and then we’re both sorry later. I needed her in the car with me this morning.

I need somebody walking with me as I travel this road of life.
I need someone who can speak up when it’s needed. 

There have been times she’ll speak up and my thought (or words) will be: “Honey, sometimes I wonder how I managed to drive that huge bucket truck for ATT all over three counties for 40 years without your help!” She often replies (nicely): “I wonder the same thing sometimes!”

I have learned give her the freedom to speak up when it’s needed. It’s become a two-way street. There are things, there are times that I need to speak into her life as well. (though it’s hardly ever about her driving)

Do you have someone in your life with the freedom to speak up when it’s needed?
It’s a lot more important than U might realize.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise.
  Proverbs 12:15 (NKJV)

SATURDAY GRATITUDEs #4

You can read part #1 HERE

Part #2 HERE Part #3 HERE

There’s this guy that likes to live in my head. In AA they call him “The Committee of one” I call him Sir James. I introduced y’all to him HERE. And HERE

One of the favorite tricks of Sir James is to get me to Compare. I’ve said it before, and I come to believe it more as time passes: 

Comparison is a Thief of Joy! 

AND Gratitude. 

Comparison is such a part of our natural way. It’s what makes us feel better (or worse) than others. It’s what drives us to build bigger, buy more, to plan ahead for greater tomorrows. It’s also a huge part of the reason I occasionally find myself in a pit. Fortunately, not as often nor as deep as in past times. 

I doubt that I have ever felt grateful because of comparison. Oh, I’d be glad that didn’t have “problems like other people.” But, I’ve discovered that feeling was usually based more on PRIDE than GRATITUDE. The major problem with being glad you have a better life than someone else is because none of us are at the top. There’s always someone else that’s “glad they don’t have a life/troubles like mine”. 

So… How/Why am I grateful? To a large degree, it’s a matter of choice. It’s a choice that I can CHOOSE to make. I do not have to listen to The  Voice of Sir James.  

My friend Matt once told me: “Jim, you need to write a book about Sir James, because EVERYBODY has a Sir James in their life.”

Q for YOU – What’s the name of the man / woman that lives in YOUR head? Does {S}He bring you to a place of peace and gratitude? 

This prayer is one of the thngs that helps me cope with Sir James:

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. 

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen


My Side of the Fence

I was yakking with my friend Jon yesterday afternoon. During our conversation I used a phrase that’s been on my mind lately. Then I remarked: “That sounds like the title to a blogpost! I better write it down before it slips my mind. Well, we continued talking and I didn’t, then last night couldn’t recall what I had said.

Funny, in our conversation, we’d mentioned that both our memories aren’t what they used to be. I like to blame mine on age. lol

Anyway, this morning, it came back to me!!! Yay!! …but I digress. Q – can U get sidetracked before U’re even on track? So, anyway… Moving on….

At Celebrate Recovery, we learned that we are only responsible for cleaning up OUR side of the street. If I hurt someone and need to make amends, I am only responsible for my apology, not for their reaction to that apology. (unless I make it worse by the words or attitude I use) I can choose to make “Living Amends,” which means I learn from their hurt and choose to treat them differently  because of it.

Likewise, If I am hurt by someone, I am only responsible for my reaction. I can choose to forgive their action without any evidence of change on their part. Part of my responsibility may include establishing boundaries to protect myself in the relationship. Learning to set boundaries means I need to understand what is on my side of the street (fence) and what is not.

In so many ways, this has made my life easier. I am powerless to control other people. At the beginning of this understanding, it felt incredibly selfish. “I am only responsible for ME?”?!?!? That was so contrary to how I had always lived.

Hi, my name is Jim. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus, but I struggle with co-dependency and compulsive people-pleasing.” 

The C.R. small-group 3rd guideline states: We are here to support one another, not FIX another!” I’m learning the difference between support and fixing. Between influence and control. Between talking and listening. (OK,  I’m still working on that one) I’m learning that I have Influence over other people, but I can lose that influence in direct proportion to the amount of Control I exert.

This understanding is revolutionizing my relationships. With other people. With myself. Even with God! When I first heard the 3rd small-group guideline, my reaction was: Really? REALLY?!? D’ya mean it’s not my God-Given Responsibilty to FIX Problems I see in the lives of Others?” 

Gradually, I’m coming to realize how much I was playing God in the lives of Others.  I’ve seen how much I was focused on what I perceived to be the failures of Others instead of their Value. This new understanding is leading me to be more accepting of where and who they are instead of what and who I suppose they should be, do, say and think. As I release CONTROL, I’m recognizing that I’m having a greater INFLUENCE.

In the words of that great Mayberry philosopher Gomer Pyle, SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!!

Wow! This is NOT where I thought this was going to go when I started this post. Where’d all THAT come from?!? What I had in mind is perhaps a major result of this process. Perhaps I needed to say all that in order to better understand this:

THIS thought is what has been percolating in this cyclonic mind of mine the past few days –

FROM GOD’s SIDE OF THE FENCE, EVERYTHING HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE

ALL THE CHANGES NEEDED IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM ARE ON MY SIDE OF THE FENCE!

Now comes the Surprise,Surprise,Surprise; 

Just as the veil in the temple was ripped in half from top to bottom when Jesus said from the Cross, It is Finished,” John 13:30

THE FENCE HAS BEEN TORN DOWN!! 

Jesus IS NOT peeking over the fence like a nosy neighbor prying into Ur business.  

He’s pitched a tent in Ur back yard. He’s sitting in Ur living room. He’s sleeping in Ur spare bedroom. He’s sitting in a chair at Ur dinner table. 

But He’s the most gentle and respectful house guest U’ve ever had. He only goes where he’s invited. 

It’s up to YOU! He longs to be more than a guest. He wants to be FAMILY!!

P.S… U don’t have to clean house, U don’t have to make the bed, wash the windows, scrub the floor, do the dishes, paint the walls, clear out the sheds, trim the hedge before U let Him in. 

For most of my life, I did not understand that He could/would live in a broken heart. Then one dark(est) day, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! He began to heal me from the inside out. 

He continues to surprise me. 

MASK-less Living

I like the “me” I’m discovering as I learn to live mask-less.

It’s a process… The more I learn to drop my masks, the more I like “me.”

..and U

I’m finding that when I drop my mask, it allows others to do the same. 

Thought for the day… 

God doesn’t love the person U’re trying to be… He loves (the real) YOU!

SOBRIETY – Event? or Process?

One of the Greatest Bondages you will ever be in is that of pretending to be something or somebody that you are not

I spent 50 years like that

Freedom from that bondage is a Journey, a Process of discovering who you really are and learning to live that person’s life

I took my last drink 40 months ago today. But the Process of Sobriety will continue for as long as I have feet on this planet

SATURDAY GRATITUDEs 3

U can read part 1 HERE
U can read part 2 HERE

DID I GET GRATEFUL BECAUSE THINGS (PEOPLE) CHANGED OR
DID THINGS (PEOPLE) CHANGE BECAUSE I GOT GRATEFUL?

Hi! My name is JIM. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus. I am finding victories
over codependency and compulsive people-pleasing
.”

THAT is how I usually introduce myself at our Monday night Celebrate Recovery meetings. I sometimes change it to “…a life-long believer who came to Celebrate Recovery and learned to be grateful.”

Probably one of the first truly important lessons I learned in CR was that I could, AND NEEDED, to say “NO!” I had found myself saying “YES” when I really wanted to say “NO”, and failing to follow through on most of my “YES”s. I found myself overwhelmed with people, activities, promises and commitments.

GRATEFUL??? I was angry, weary, and lonely. GOD was just another One who I felt kept demanding me to be something other than what I could be.

My journey from that place of darkness into the light(ness) of GRATITUDE began because I finally had to stop trying to be everybody’s hero. I was asked to lead a CR group. I said NO.(nicely) I was asked to teach a lesson. I said NO.(nicer) I said NO and the world continued to spin!! But something important was happening inside of me.

I began to find out what “I” wanted to be and do , instead of what everybody else expected of me. I became more content with me. I began to find “ME”  I became more GRATEFUL. I began to discover who GOD had made me to be.

The GRATITUDE I live with more and more with each passing day has been an inner work. That PEACE I have with ME has changed the relationship I have with people, places and things. And with GOD.

As I learned to say “NO“, I discovered that when I DID say “YES“, I was able to do so with more enthusiasm and intention to follow through.

OK, I guess I said all that to say this… People changed because I changed. Things in my life changed because I changed. I changed because GOD kicked me broken into a deep dark pit and then reached in and rescued me. For that I will be eternally grateful!

*PROCESS*
Never Perfection
But Always
*PROGRESS*

#18/21 day challenge

NAILED me!

TidBit o’Wisdom from my Daughter #37

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The other day my Daughter described my codependency as:

An addiction to being needed

She said I “keep finding people whom I use to fix that need in me

She NAILED me

O.U.C.H.

Thx, I needed that!

Do U have someone in Ur life that can tell U the things U need to hear?
Do U listen?

Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy
(‭Proverbs‬ ‭27‬:‭6‬ NLT)