Before I came to Celebrate Recovery I was living in a place where I was not content with my life and was always reaching out to someone or something to fix my feelings and make my life perfect. I found comfort in relationships with a partner but more than that I found an identity with them that meant I did not feel complete without them. For me, this resulted in my fearing rejection and abandomment so much that I would do almost anything to keep it together. I would deny the important things in my principles in order to avoid rocking the boat while all the time hoping that somehow God would intervene and change my circumstances.
I was in total denial of my reponsibility to get behind the steering wheel of my lfe. I wanted to do it my way and not God’s way.
Before Celebrate Recovery I had been married for about 10 years but this relationship was failing due to our unhealthy methods of dealing with each other and what we both wanted from life had become markedly different.
My relationship with God was unproductive and immature. I believed in God and in my heart loved Jesus but was unwilling to live life his way. Instead, I wanted him to sort out my life to my specifications and my way and, now I look back, I realize that I was waiting for him to fix everything so that it made it ok for me to do his will and did not take any effort from me.
In my daily life I struggled relating to others in a healthy way.
My main problem was when they wanted to do things their way. To combat this I either rejected them or manipulated them to my way of thinking. This was obviously the right way of doing things because it was my way and to even contemplate being wrong and not getting my desired outcome was unthinkable. If things were done my way and did not work out right I felt really useless and guilty for making a bad decision and manipulating others. I would often apologize for this offence when there was no way out but if possible I would shift the blame to some other party, thereby relieving myself of all responsibility.
I often sought out people to comfort me when things went wrong and would spend time talking things through with people that agreed with me when all the time justifying myself and my actions to make me feel better was the main aim.
My lowest point finally started to come when my wife wanted to go to Africa to work and live. She asked me what I thought and I agreed but soon after she went on her own to work. I realized that I didn’t really believe this was for me and I didn’t really want to go but I had said yes to avoid rocking the boat … again.
While my wife was was abroad I was looking after the family and trying to continue as normally as possible but it was very painful as I felt the burden of responsibility falling on my shoulders alone. When she did return from Africa for visits our relationship was at best fraught as we both tried to get what we wanted but were unable to find any common ground.
It was at this point that I was faced with the hardest decision of my life to that point. Was I to keep going round this circle of insanity that did not satisfy me or could I face standing up and saying no to my wife and risk losing my security and marriage?
During this time I felt the call of God on my life as I have done for many years to work with his people and in his church family. I had started to go back to church while my wife was away and asked Tony how I could get involved in such work. When he suggested that I start the Celebrate Recovery course I was at first agreeable and signed up to start a couple of months later. When I took some time to consider my actions I realized that I was quite afraid of the idea because I knew inside that this meant I would finally have to face my denial issues and actually do something to change my life.
Whilst on the course I came to know Jesus Christ as my saviour in a more intimate way as I walked through the steps and asked for his guidance at each stage. He revealed to me the nature of my personality. I discovered that there were parts of me that Jesus actually loved and these he helped strengthen me which gave a much needed real boost. As he showed me where my character flaws existed he gently encouraged me to let them go and stop defending them.
By working through this programme I have discovered that with Christ’s help I am no longer tied into a circle of insanity and that I am free to make choices for myself and that I am capable of making good choices. I am more willing to accept responsibility for my life and decisions and no longer try to shift the blame to others.
The step that benefited me most was stepping out of denial and trusting God to guide me where I could not see.
I was so afraid of losing everything but I realized that God had good plans for me. Whilst going through this step a friend gave me a scripture that has stayed with me and is a source of comfort still. This is from Jeremiah 29:11 which reads
“for I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord; plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”
It helps me to realize that even though I may not know what God has planned for me I can trust him because of these words and I draw courage from them for my daily walk.
Since doing the Celebrate Recovery programme God has changed me in many ways. I often still feel like trying to control and manipulate people but now when that happens Jesus prompts me to remember his way and that I should not enforce my agenda on others. He helps me to say how I feel in love instead of being passive or aggressive. I am more willing to speak the truth and seek the truth because now I know that the truth sets me free and does not bind me up in living a lie.
Christ has used the Recovery programme to give me some tools which I can use to help me live a more productive lifestyle but it is always my responsibility to choose to use them. To rely on Christ and accept my own responsibility is the best thing I have ever done.