Today’s interview is with Josie. I had the pleasure of working with Josie few years and she is such an amazing, caring, gentle and loving woman. She and her husband lead a faith-based, 12-step recovery program called SOAR (Spiritual Outreach and Recovery) in Richmond, CA.
Tell us about yourself.
I have been married for 48 yrs and I have 5 grown children and 9 grandchildren. It seems like I have been codependent for most of my married yrs. I married my husband when I was eighteen and we were both involved in drugs at the time. I just felt like I was just existing day-to-day, enabling my husband to party with his biker friends, while I stayed with our children and took care of everything else. This went on until 1980, when my husband and I accepted Christ as our Savior. Then little by little God began to work on us.
How did you know you were codependent?
I found out about codependency front being involved with Celebrate Recovery. I started to read the their literature on codependency and realized that I was codependent.
How do you think you became a codependent?
I always wanted to fix everything, I worried about my husband, who suffered with depression, he was also handicapped, due to a bad accident. He was always in pain and he was very demanding and he had a lot of anger from his past. I didn’t like confronting him, I just kept everything inside and lost myself and took care of everyone else.
Describe codependency in one word?
Do you find being a codependent an embarrassing label? If so, why?
What were your biggest fears relating to your codependency?
That I lost my identity. I was so busy with everyone and taking care of everything else.
Do you feel that your codependency controlled you?
Yes, because if something was wrong and I couldn’t fix it or help one of my children when they were hurt or in trouble, I would be stressed out and worried. I couldn’t do anything else.
What was the turning point that caused you to seek help or learn more about codependency?
When I started to attend Celebrate Recovery.
Who did you hurt the most with your codependency?
Myself, because I had no boundaries.
What does “detachment” mean to you?
To separate …..I had to let go of my husband and let God deal with him, I could not deal with him…..I just prayed continually for him.
What does, “Stay on your side of the street” mean to you?
To mind my own business
What does, “Get off the dance floor” mean to you?
To give-up…or stay out of it
How did you deal with boundaries in the past and how do you deal with them today?
I didn’t have them in the past. I have learned to trust God and let Him have control. I have learned that I am powerless and I am not God, I can not control or fix anyone or anything.
Have there been any dramatic changes in you, your attitude, or your life since starting your journey of recovery?
Well, I have learned so much more about myself and I am constantly working on being free of being codependent , and at peace with myself.
What is the hardest part of staying focused on yourself and your recovery?
Letting God have complete control and letting go!
What is the easiest part of staying focused on yourself and your recovery?
I am trying to take care of myself and doing more for myself and realizing that it is ok.
Without all the drama that codependency brings, do you find life, work, and relationships boring now?
No, I just take each day one at a time.
What are some of the tools you use to help you stay in your recovery?
I am leading a recovery group with my husband, so we are constantly going over the 12 steps and 8 principles. Lots of prayer! Attending church and being involved in church.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that helps to keep you going?
That I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippines 4:13)
What words of encouragement or advice do you have for others who are seeking information or beginning their journey of recovering and healing from their issues of codependency?
To get involved with a Recovery group and attend weekly . To research and read books on codependency . To never give up.
Do you have anything else you would like to share about your recovery from codependency?
Just that it is a continuous journey, I have to always check myself.