I am always trying to hide from them but recently, I prayed a prayer that God is answering abundantly: I asked Him to release the champion within me, to bring her out and let her shine the way He intended. I knew it would be painful and a little scary. Like trusting a friend to lead you blindfolded down a steep flight of stairs. But I also know my God is trustworthy. I work very hard every day to protect my heart. Jesus is the only one who gets it whole.
For now, I want to write about the demons.
A while back, I made the decision to get up at 5am so I could be sure to get some time alone. Alone time — completely alone — is how I rejuvenate but when you have two small children, it doesn’t happen often. So as much as I can, I get up early and spend the time in praise — listening to music, praying, worshipping.
It changed everything.
My daily life was the same but I was different. And God’s presence in my life was almost palpable — I could feel Him working in me, in my circumstances, in my business.
For a long time, I’d been wanting to write again, but mornings are when I do my best stuff, and I didn’t want to give up my praise. Then the Word came to me: Write As Praise. So here we are.
This intense communion with the Holy Spirit created in me a deep longing to submit to God and let Him show me how to become the woman of excellence I know He created to me to be. I know she’s in there somewhere. And I know she is part of the beautiful life, the vibrant living I seek.
But I know I participate in behaviors that suffocate and strangle her.
I thought I had put them to bed so very long ago. But God seems to be bringing so many people into my life who are either in recovery for addiction or in recovery for codependency. They are speaking into my life and God is using them to take my issues and put them right in front of my face — sort of like a train wreck. You know. The kind you can’t look away from.
Recently, I learned that an addict can be “dry” for a long period of time, but that doesn’t mean they are in recovery. And if they are not in recovery, then the disease progresses just as if they had be drinking the entire time. I had never thought about the progression of the disease of alcoholism. And it makes me wonder, if this is true for alcoholics, is it true for codependents, too? And have I been “dry” all this time — but not in recovery? And is this why the longer I go on with life, the angier and more frustrated I feel, even though I feel a completely healthy, loving detachment from my father, who is still an active alcoholic?
Is that why the closer I get to success, the more I shut down?
Why I am always trying to guage my husband’s emotions?
Why the older she gets, the more my mother’s behavior ignites a rage in me like no other?
Is this why I yell at my kids?
Recently, I was at a Mary Kay training session on the DISC personality styles. I am a high, high “D” (dominant). D personalities like to be in control, and demand respect; we are driven, task oriented, and our biggest fear is that someone will take advantage of us. We usually piss people off, because we tend to be so focused on our goals and the task at hand we just can’t do the warm and fuzzy thing.
This describes me to a “T” (or a “D”, if you will). And I’ve been the target of some negative behind-the-scenes talk because of it. But at that training session, I received great healing when the teacher said to everyone else, “Understand that a D wants respect. And she deserves it, after everything she’s been through. She became a D to help her deal with her pain.” I felt vidicated. See? Inside, I’m a human being, too!
Listen. I’ve been to those Al-Anon meetings. Can I tell you? The first one, I went to with my mother when I was probably twelve. It was a bunch of middle-aged women sitting around a table smoking. She never went back, so neither did I. Then my boyfriend and I snuck out to one when I was fifteen.
I’d like to paint this picture for you: there were three other people. One was a grown man wearing khaki shorts and striped knee socks. Another was a brooding fellow in jeans whose fly didn’t want to cooperate. The leader of the group was a dwarf in a wheelchair. I’m not kidding.
The last one I went to was a few months ago. Someone I greatly respect suggested that many of the behaviors that I exhibit — and which sabotage my success in business — are from my codependent tendencies. So without telling my husband, I snuck down to a church in Montclair. This one was made up of mostly sixty-year olds wearing black shoes and white socks. One of them had hair that was uncombed, what looked like scrambled eggs on her pants, and she was rocking back and forth. Everyone else was wearing flower prints and talking about their daddies.
I don’t mean to judge. Please understand. Each and every single one of these people — Little People, mentally ill, or just codependently crazy, like me — are precious to God. But I just. don’t. fit. in. With my slightly boot cut jeans, lipstick, patent leather purse. Is there an Al-Anon for mid-life executives? I might do better there.
Thanks to a friend, I am reading a classic book, Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. She’s the chick that basically coined the term “codependent”. She was describing how she first came to notice that the families of alcoholics were just as sick if not sicker than the addict themselves, and she made a comment that resonated with me deeply, while making me laugh. I’ll paraphrase, but she basically said, “The alocholic got to numb themselves with their drinks. The codependents had to do it all sober! No wonder they’re crazy!”
I do admit to being crazy, and I know it’s because of the family dynamic I come from. I mean, when your talk therapist says, with a look of shock on her face, “I’m surprised you turned out as good as you did,” well, we might be on to something here.
I think I’ve been living a “dry” life for a long time. I’ve struggled to live a healthy life while refusing recovery. I think today is a new day, because I think it’s my first day of recovery. And that’s a scary thing. But I think it’s that first step to living the vibrant, beautiful life of a champion. It’s what God wants to show me. And if my Jesus will be there, then surely I can go there too.
I trust Him implicitly.