Codependency

The Problem
In the broadest sense, co-dependency is when a person’s need for approval or validation from another person allows them to be controlled or manipulated. They are willing to compromise their own values, choices, and behavior at the expense of their personal well-being.

Characteristics of someone struggling with co-dependency may include, but are not limited to:
• Assuming responsibility for other’s feelings and behaviors.
• Feeling guilty about other’s feelings and behaviors.
• Having difficulty identifying or expressing one’s own feelings.
• Minimizing, altering, or denying how one truly feels.
• Worrying about how others may respond to your feelings, opinions, and behavior.
• Valuing others opinions and feelings more than your own.
• Feeling embarrassed when receiving recognition, praise, or gifts.
• Living with messages of not being good enough, valued, or loved.
• Fear of expressing different opinions or feelings from those of others.
• Fear of being hurt and/or rejected by others.
• Compromising one’s own beliefs, values, and integrity to avoid other’s rejection or anger.
• Over-functioning to be needed, valued, or loved.
• Tolerating mistreatment or abuse from others while justifying their behavior and trying to defend them.
• Overly caring for others at the expense of one’s own self needs; feeling victimized and “used” as a result.
• Anxiety in saying “no” to someone, even when saying “yes” would be at great inconvenience.
• Directly or indirectly attempting to fix, manage, or control another person’s problems to help them avoid feeling bad or experiencing the consequences of their choices.
• Judging everything you think, say, or do harshly, as never being “good enough.”
• Feels conflicted by a desire to be needed and resentment for feeling obligated in serving others.
• Being extremely loyal, to the point of remaining in harmful situations too long.
• Feels bound in relationships by performance (what I do) rather than core value and worth (who I am).
• Avoids conflict with other people to the point of being unable to speak true feelings or asking for valid needs to be met, oftentimes countered by fits of anger or rage.

The Solution
Freedom from co-dependency begins when we surrender the illusion that our identity and value are established through the lenses of other people. Our identity is in how God views us and who He created us to be. As a result, we no longer need to see ourselves as a function of what we do, but who we already are.

• Sobriety for the co-dependent is different. It is not characterized by abstaining from a substance. It is more relational in nature. Codependent sobriety is a process distinguished by the following:
• Working through the 8 Recovery Principles and 12 Steps Principles as a part of a CR Step Study and learning to apply them to day-to-day life.
• Accepting and walking in the biblical truth that your self-worth is who you are in Christ, and not based on how others view you, what you do, or the service you perform.
• Learning to recognize and enforce healthy boundaries that accurately establish where you end and another person begins. Not allowing others to compromise those boundaries.
• Learning how to help others in suitable ways, without rescuing or fixing; allowing them to act independently, allowing them to own the results of their choices and behavior.
• Performing acts of service as a choice, not out of duty or for recognition and value from others. Serving with joy using God-given talents and abilities.
• Learning to live a balanced life where self-care and taking responsibility for one’s own health and well-being take priority over the addictive behavior and control of others.

As you draw closer to your Higher Power, Jesus Christ, you will learn how to apply the 8 Recovery Principles and 12 Steps, designed to guide you in this journey we call “Recovery.”

If you are diligent to provide willingness, integrity, consistency, and rigorous honesty, God will supply you with the courage, strength, and ability to take the necessary steps to gain freedom from compulsive behaviors.

Chemical Dependency

The Problem
When you are honest with yourself, do you find you cannot quit drinking or using drugs entirely? Do you have little control over the amount you consume? You are probably an alcoholic and/or an addict.

Characteristics of someone struggling with chemical dependency may include, but are not limited to:
• My addiction isolates me from people except when I am getting, using, and finding ways and means to get more.
• I have an inability to deal with life on life’s terms.
• I have tried drugs or alcohol or combinations of both to find contentment in a seemly hostile world.
• I have dreamed of that magic formula that would solve my ultimate problem — myself.
• At times, I have been defensive about my addiction and justified my right to use, especially when and if I used legal prescriptions.
• I am trapped in the illusion of “just one more time.” Or “this time it will be different.”
• When I did seek help I was only looking for the pain to go away.
• My track record shows that it is impossible for me to use successfully.

The Solution
I will come to believe there is only one solution. I will accept Jesus Christ as my Higher Power and follow His plan for my life. I will work through the 8 Recovery Principles found in the Beatitudes. With Jesus Christ as my Higher Power, I can and will change!

We will learn how to:
• Live without drinking or using one day at a time with the help of the Higher Power, Jesus Christ.
• Stay away from that first drink. If there isn’t a first one, there cannot be a 10th one. And when free of alcohol, life becomes much more manageable.
• Experience the true peace and serenity you have been seeking.
• Restore and develop stronger relationships with God and with others.
• Stop relying on dysfunctional, compulsive, and addictive behaviors as a temporary “fix” for pain.
• Apply the biblical principles of conviction, conversion, surrender, confession, restoration, prayer, quiet time, witnessing, and helping one another.

I will also be willing to:
• Form an Accountability TEAM: Sponsor, Accountability Partners.
• Weekly attending the Open Share Group.
• Commit to a daily quiet time in the Celebrate Recovery Bible.
• Read about this area of recovery.
• Understanding the root of each core issue you identify with and become willing to experience grief, forgiveness, and acceptance.

As you draw closer to your Higher Power, Jesus Christ, you will learn how to apply the 8 Recovery Principles and 12 Steps, designed to guide you in this journey we call “Recovery.”

If you are diligent to provide willingness, integrity, consistency, and rigorous honesty, God will supply you with the courage, strength, and ability to take the necessary steps to gain freedom from unhealthy behaviors.

Physical/Sexual/Emotional Abuse for Women

The Problem
Recovery is a two-fold process in this case. The first step is healing from the traumas done to us in our past, and the second step is healing from the influence these past experiences continue to have in our present lives.

(Most) Survivors of Physical / Sexual / Emotional Abuse…
• Are hesitant to identify themselves as victims of abuse.
• Feel isolated, depressed, worthless, and helpless to change.
• Are struggling with feelings about God in relation to their life experiences of abuse.
• Condemn themselves, denying the past abuse affects their present circumstances.
• Feel out of control and defeated in areas of compulsive behavior.
• Feel angry, bitter, and rebellious; have trouble with authority figures.
• Feel a lack of self-worth.
• Are preoccupied with thoughts of what it means to have a “normal” relationship with others: mates, friends, family.
• Question their own sexual identity and may experience confusion regarding their own sexuality.
• Desire to regain their sexuality and feel safe in intimate relationships.
• Question self-reality: “Who am I?”
• Question whether life has a purpose.
• Feel “at home” in crisis situations.
• Struggle with perfectionism or “all or nothing thinking.”
• Desire to have victory through Christ over the life experience of abuse.

The Solution
Survivors of Physical / Sexual / Emotional Abuse can experience recovery when…
• We recognize that we are powerless to heal the damaged emotions resulting from our abuse. We look to God for the power to make us whole.
• We admit that God’s plan for our lives includes victory over the experience of abuse.
• We understand the people who abused us are responsible for the abusive acts committed against us. We will not accept the guilt and shame resulting from those abusive acts.
• We look to God and His Word to find our identity as worthwhile and loved human beings.
• We are honestly sharing our feelings with God and at least one other person to help us identify the areas that need cleansing and healing.
• We accept the responsibility for our responses to abuse.
• We are willing to accept God’s help in the decision and the process of forgiving ourselves and those who have perpetrated against us.
• We are willing to mature in our relationships with God and others.
• We are willing to be used by God as an instrument of healing and restoration in the lives of others.
* The Solution is partially based on the book Helping the Victims of Sexual Abuse by Lynn Heitritter and Jeanette Vought.

Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

Are you a people pleaser, even though, to protect yourself, you lose your own identity in the process?

We have become alcoholics ourselves, or married them, or both. Failing that, we found another compulsive personality, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment.

The Problem
• Guess what is normal.
• Have difficulty following a project through to completion.
• Lie, when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
• Judge themselves without mercy.
• Have difficulty having fun.
• Take themselves very seriously.
• Have difficulty with relationships.
• Overreact to changes over which they have no control.
• Constantly seek approval and affirmation.
• Either super responsible or super irresponsible.
• Extremely loyal even when the loyalty is undeserved.
• Look for immediate rather than deferred gratification.
• Lock themselves into a course of action; no serious consideration for alternate behaviors or possible consequences.
• Seek tension and crisis, and then complain about the results.
• Avoid conflict or aggravate it; rarely do they deal with it.
• Fear rejection and abandonment, yet are rejecting of others.
• Fear failure but sabotage their success.
• Fear criticism and judgment, yet criticize and judge others.
• Manage time poorly and do not set priorities in a way that works effectively for them.

The Solution
The solution is to become your own loving parent.
• Find the freedom to express all the hurts and fears kept inside and gain freedom from the shame and blame carried over from the past.
• Become an adult who is no longer imprisoned by childhood reactions.
• Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt you and make amends for harm you’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.
• Recover the child within you, learning to accept and love yourself.
• Move out of self-imposed isolation.
• Rediscover feelings and buried memories.
• Gradually release the burden of unexpressed grief; slowly move out of the past.
• Learn to re-parent ourselves with gentleness, humor, love, and respect.
• Learn to see our biological parents as the instruments of our existence.
• Trust that your actual parent is the Higher Power, Jesus Christ.

Although we had alcoholic parents, our Higher Power gave us the 8 Recovery Principles.
• Receive experience, strength, and hope from others.
• Restructure unhealthy thinking one day at a time.
• Release our parents from the responsibility for our actions today.
• Become free to make healthy decisions, allowing us to act, not react.
• Progress from hurting, to healing, to helping.
• Awaken to a sense of wholeness we never knew was possible.
• Come to see parental alcoholism for what it is. Know how that affected you as a child and continues to affect you as an adult.
• Learn to keep the focus on yourself in the here and now.
• Take responsibility for your own life and supply your own parenting.
• See beautiful changes in all your relationships, especially with God, yourself, and your parents.

To change, adult children of family dysfunction/ACFD cannot use history as an excuse for continuing their behaviors. They learn to have no regrets for what might have been, because their experiences have shaped their talents as well as their defects of character. It is their responsibility to discover their talents, to build their self-esteem, and to repair any damage done. They will allow themselves to feel their feelings, to accept them, and learn to express them appropriately. When they have begun those tasks, they will try to let go of their past and get on with the business of their life.

Physical/Sexual/Emotional Abuse

Do you feel isolated, uneasy with other people, especially authority figures?

STEP ONE
We admit we are powerless over the past, and as a result, our lives have become unmanageable.

STEP TWO
Believe God can restore us to wholeness, and realize this power can always be trusted to bring healing and wholeness in our lives.

STEP THREE
Make a decision to turn our lives and our wills to the care of God, realizing we have not always understood His unconditional love. Choose to believe He does love us, is worthy of trust, and will help us to understand Him as we seek His truth.

STEP FOUR
Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, realizing all wrongs can be forgiven. Renounce the lie that the  abuse was our fault.

STEP FIVE
Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of the wrongs in our lives. This will include those acts perpetrated against us, as well as those wrongs we perpetrated against others.

STEP SIX
By accepting God’s cleansing, we can renounce our shame. Now we are ready to have God remove all these character distortions and defects.

STEP SEVEN
Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings, including our guilt. We release our fear and submit to Him.

STEP EIGHT
Make a list of all persons who have harmed us and become willing to seek God’s help in forgiving our perpetrators, as well as forgiving ourselves. Realize we’ve also harmed others and become willing to make amends to them.

STEP NINE
Extend forgiveness to ourselves and to others who have perpetrated against us, realizing this is an attitude of the heart, not always confrontation. Make direct amends, asking forgiveness from those people we have harmed, except when to do so would injure them or others.

STEP TEN
Continue to take personal inventory as new memories and issues surface. We continue to renounce our shame and guilt, but when we are wrong, promptly admit it.

STEP ELEVEN
Continue to seek God through prayer and meditation to improve our understanding of His character. Praying for knowledge of His truth in our lives, His will for us, and for the power to carry that out.

STEP TWELVE
Having a spiritual awakening as we accept God’s love and healing through these steps, we try to carry His message of hope to others. Practice these principles as new memories and issues surface, claiming God’s promise of restoration and wholeness.

Codependent Women in a Relationship with a Sexually Addicted Man

The Problem
Many of us blame ourselves for the addict’s behavior: We tell ourselves, “If only I were more attractive, thinner, taller, shorter, etc.—if only I were more sexual.”

We give in to others’ behaviors, only to lose ourselves in the process. Sometimes, we have even participated in their sexual fantasies, or joined in by buying pornography or renting videos, leaving us feeling used and abused. Some of us ignored or did not recognize the signs that the addict was living a secret life.

Many of us blame the addict and their behavior for every problem in our relationship. We believe that if they would only change then everything would be fine. In essence, co-dependents are addicted to their spouse’s behaviors. They either give in to the addict, try to control them or make them stop.

We have sometimes pretended to family, friends, and co-workers that everything is “wonderful.” We have been unforgiving and sometimes punishing toward the addict.

Co-dependent people in a relationship with a sexually addicted spouse may share the following experiences:
• Having a spouse who has continually called “900” sex numbers.
• Having a spouse who is currently having or has had an affair.
• You, yourself, are having an affair.
• Issues dealing with molestation and abuse from spouse.
• Their spouse is having homosexual affairs.
• Their spouse is watching adult sex videos and buying pornography (magazines).
• Their spouse is having sex with prostitutes.

The Solution
The co-dependent person can achieve the following:
• Hear the struggles of other co-dependents.
• Learn healthy, Christian values for family roles and rules.
• Gain information about healthy sexuality and relationships.
• Break through denial and other unhealthy family patterns.
• Encouragement from the group to find peace, strength, and grace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
• Build healthy relationships by finding love and acceptance in a “safe” place to share.
• Realize that we could not control the addict or their behavior.
• Understand that our problems are emotional and spiritual.
• Face our denial and accept the truth about our lives, and our past issues.
• Realize that blaming ourselves, trying to control the addict and/or ignoring their behavior, refusing to set and uphold our own personal boundaries, are all signs of co-addiction.
• Accept responsibility for our own actions and make Jesus the Lord of our lives.
• Become dedicated to learning about sexual addiction and co-addiction and becoming partners with our spouse in recovery.
• Realize we are not responsible for their addiction or recovery. It is not our job to “cure” them.
• Find healthy ways to release our fears and anger and refuse to use anger inappropriately toward the addict.
• Have a safe place to share fears, hurt, or anger and also to rejoice in victories.
• Face our own defects and work through these feelings.
• Take the focus off of the addict and focus on God and our own thoughts and feelings.

Gambling Addiction

The Problem
If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit gambling entirely, or if you have little control over the amount you bet, you are probably a compulsive gambler. A compulsive gambler is described as a person whose gambling has caused growing and continuing problems in any department of his or her life. If that is the case, you may be suffering from a problem which only a spiritual solution will conquer.

Most of us have been unwilling to admit that we were compulsive gamblers. I cannot go on believing that I am not in that class.
• My gambling makes me careless of the welfare of myself and/or my family.
• I have borrowed money, sold possessions, and/or committed an illegal act to finance gambling.
• After losing I felt the need to return as soon as possible and win back my losses or after a win had a strong urge to return and win more.
• I have lost time at work, school, home, and with friends to gamble.
• At times, I have been defensive about my gambling and justified my right to gambling, especially when trying to escape worry or stress.
• I was trapped in the illusion of “just one more time.” Or “this time it will be different.”
• When I did seek help I was only looking for the pain to go away.
• My track record shows that it is impossible for me to gamble successfully.

What Is Your Score?
Did you answer YES two or more times? If so, you are probably in trouble with gambling. Only you can decide whether you think Celebrate Recovery is for you. Try to keep an open mind on the subject. If the answer is YES, we will be glad to show you how we stopped gambling ourselves.

The Solution
I will come to believe there is no only one solution to accept Jesus Christ as my Higher Power and follow His plan for my life by working through the 8 Recovery Principles found in the Beatitudes. With Jesus Christ as your Higher Power, you can and will change!

We will learn how to:
• Live without gambling one day at a time with the help of the Higher Power, Jesus Christ.
• Stay away from that first bet. If there isn’t a first one, there cannot be a 10th one. And when free of gambling, life becomes much more manageable.
• Experience the true peace and serenity you have been seeking.
• Restore and develop stronger relationships with God and with others.
• Stop relying on dysfunctional, compulsive, and addictive behaviors as a temporary “fix” for pain.
• Apply the biblical principles of conviction, conversion, surrender, confession, restitution, prayer, quiet time, witnessing, and helping one another.

We will learn how to:
• Form an Accountability TEAM: Sponsor, Accountability Partners.
• Weekly attending the Open Share Group.
• Commit to a daily quiet time in the Celebrate Recovery Bible.
• Read about this area of recovery.
• Understanding the root of each core issue you identify with and become willing to experience grief, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Definition of Sobriety
Sobriety for the compulsive gambler is defined as follows: Complete abstinence of any betting or wagering, for self or others, whether for money or not, no matter how slight or insignificant, where the outcome is uncertain or depends upon chance or “skill” constitutes gambling.

Sexual Addiction

The Problem

Our sexual addiction issue began as an overpowering desire for pleasurable relief. We were running from an inner pain, loneliness, emptiness, or insecurity that we could not cope with in any other way. At first, it did provide the relief we sought. For a time, lust, pornography, or sex with ourselves or with others dissolved the tension. It relieved the depression, resolved the conflict, and provided the means to deal with or escape from life’s seemingly unbearable situations.

Eventually, our search for relief became an addiction, and the addiction took on a life of its own. We gradually replaced pleasure and relief with tension, depression, rage, guilt, and even physical distress. To relieve this new pain, we resorted to more sex, pornography, and lust, losing more control in the process. We were driven to spend more time thinking about and carrying out our addiction. We lived in denial to avoid recognizing just how much our addiction controlled our life.

Finally, we risked our relationships, jobs, ethics, and values, and even neglected our children. All the while, we rationalized our sexual behaviors. We asked ourselves, “What will a little fantasy hurt?” or “What they don’t know, won’t hurt them.” As we lived a double life, we became disconnected from reality making true intimacy with another impossible. We carried this behavior from relationship to relationship and even into our marriages.

Why? We were running, running from love, running from pain — pain from shame, self-hate, and multiple forms of abuse. We lacked self-worth, feared intimacy, and were spiritually bankrupt.

A new loneliness overwhelmed us as we realized that because of our addiction, we had become increasingly separated from God and our loved ones. We began to seek sobriety. As we stayed sexually sober for some time, we discovered that even though we may not be acting out our compulsion, our obsession was still with us.

Take a few minutes to complete the following questionnaire. It may reveal more about your sexual addiction issues than you realize, helping you find out if your sexual addiction is reaching a destructive level in your life.

Are You Sexually Addicted?
  1. Do you go from one relationship to another?
  2. Do you feel the right relationship would fulfill all your needs?
  3. Do you use sex as an escape?
  4. Do you make excuses to leave your partner as soon as possible after the act?
  5. After a sexual experience, do you feel guilty?
  6. Has your pursuit of sex interfered with your relationship with your spouse?
  7. Do you find you cannot resist a sexual overture?
  8. Have you ever sought out help to change your sexual behavior or thinking?
  9. Have you ever tried to limit or stop acting out, but have been unable to?
  10. Do you put yourself, or others, in dangerous situations in pursuit of sex?
  11. Have you found that you cannot resist sex or sexual images?
  12. Do you have trouble concentrating or completing tasks at work, always thinking about sex?
  1. Do you spend time on the Internet viewing pornographic websites?
  2. Do you take time away from work to pursue sexual activities?
  3. Do you feel you have lost control of your actions to fulfill the need for sex?
  4. Were you ever arrested for a sexual offense?
If you answered YES to at least seven of these questions, you might consider exploring this area of recovery.

The Solution

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
Recognizing and accepting responsibility for toxic patterns of behavior is the first step toward true freedom from our addiction. Walking through the recovery process with Jesus Christ as our Higher Power allows us to admit our powerlessness to control our addiction. He will help us overcome our destructive habits.

YIELD TO GOD
As we start to gain a period of sobriety over our sexual addiction, we began to recognize the many disguises the enemy uses to trick us into lusting. We learn not to rely on our failed and weakened selves, but rather, to turn to God’s pure love and absolute power. With an increased reliance on God, we work on our recovery with altered attitudes, a changed heart, and growing humility. We gain a progressive victory over lust.

As we yield to God, temptation begins to lose its control over us. When we admit we are powerless and give our lives and our will over to God, He works in us, and we begin enjoying a healthy new balance in our lives. Leaning on and learning from others in the program, we continue to walk in His strength, gaining true freedom from lust and sin through obedience to Christ our Lord.

WORK THE 12 STEPS AND CONNECT WITH OTHERS
We commit to working the 12 Steps, to attend regularly the Celebrate Recovery meetings, and to getting an Accountability Partner and Sponsor for our addiction. We identify triggers and avoid people, places, and things that tempt our addiction. We accept God’s standards for sexual purity and allow God total access to our minds (thought life), and we change our belief system toward our sexuality. We avoid crossover addictions, including food, eating disorders, alcohol, and drugs, and we understand the root of each core issue we identify with and become willing to experience grief, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Food Addiction

The Problem
  • Throughout our lives many of us have turned to food to ease our pain or fear.
  • We felt comfort in eating and found ourselves turning to food whenever we were hurt, angry, or frustrated.

  • Food became our comforter, our friend.
  • Some of us may have one specific food that we have trouble eating in healthy amounts, and once we start eating it, we cannot stop.
  • Some of us may have been emotionally, physically, or sexually abused and use food to cope with the emotions of those events.
  • Some of us may have had healthy eating habits as children or young adults, but at some point in our lives we chose to overeat and lost the ability to discern when we were physically hungry or when we were physically full.
  • Some of us may have turned to food after obtaining sobriety in other areas.
  • We thought food was “safe,” not realizing it could become our “drug of choice.”

  • We have focused on our body image instead of our health.
  • Many of us have tried various diet programs, exercising, medications, or many other ways of trying to control our eating habits.
  • We have failed over and over and are left feeling guilty, incapable, and unlovable.
  • We have given in to the idea that there is one perfect diet or pill out there that can save us if only we could find it.
  • Some of us believe that thin people do not struggle with food addiction. We have also failed to recognize food as our “drug of choice.”
  • As a result of our food addiction, we feel out of control and may struggle with many other areas of our lives.
  • Some of us have low self-esteem which may affect our motivation, and our relationship with God and others.

The Solution
  • We came to realize that we are powerless and could not control our addiction to food.
  • We understand that our problems are emotional and spiritual.
  • We are ready to face our denial and accept the truth about our lives and our food addiction.
  • We are ready to accept responsibility for our actions and make Jesus the Lord of our lives.
  • We are dedicated to learning about healthy eating.
  • We are committed to learning the difference between physical and emotional hunger.
  • We are willing to turn to God when we are not physically hungry.
  • We will begin to view food as fuel for our body so that we will not eat unless we are physically hungry and stop when we are physically full.
  • We are willing to begin the process of recovery and working through the 12 steps to heal ourselves, and start living the life God has planned for us.
  • We are willing to find a Sponsor and Accountability Partners.
  • We realize our group provides a safe place to share our fears, hurt, or anger and is also a place to rejoice in victories.
  • We are willing to face our character defects and work through these feelings in our group.
  • We are willing to take the focus off of food and focus on God.
  • We recognize that recovery from food addiction is not about our body image or what foods we eat, but it is about trusting God and having an intimate relationship with Him.
  • We are willing to believe and trust in God’s love for us, and to see ourselves as He sees us.
  • We are willing to seek a closer relationship with God.
  • By facing our fears, we have realized that we need Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in our life to overcome those fears.
  • As we surrender our food addiction to God, we will come to know that He is all we need.

Eating Disorders

The Problem

Eating disorders involve extreme disturbances in eating behavior. An eating disorder can begin to reveal itself very early in life, and is no respecter of race, gender, or ethnicity. An eating disorder can be characterized as:
  • an excessive or compulsive consumption of food (bingeing)
  • and/or getting rid of food (purging) It may also be characterized by
  • self-induced starvation and excessive and unhealthy weight loss

It may also show itself in any combination of these extreme eating behaviors, bringing with it strong feelings of being completely out of control. We may manifest inappropriate behaviors to compensate for our unhealthy eating behaviors, including, but not limited to:
  • excessive use of laxatives and/or enemas
  • frequent dieting
  • an overall unhealthy obsession with body weight and shape
We may have believed the lie that our bodies define who we are, and that changing our body image to fit an imagined standard would bring fulfillment, peace, and acceptance into our chaotic lives. We may have jeopardized our relationships, health, jobs, morals, and values to ensure we meet these imagined standards.

We may have used food as a means to control. We felt our circumstances and relationships were unmanageable. We compulsively obsessed over food as the one thing in life that we could bring order to.

We may also have rationalized our addictive behaviors, justifying our unhealthy relationship with food as “health conscious.” We may be living a double life, secretly acting out, ashamed of our lack of control, ashamed of our bodies, ashamed of our destructive and irrational behavior.

We became disconnected from reality making true intimacy with God or other people seemingly impossible. Some of us cling to the false sense of control and power our behavior gives us. Some of us sink into despair as we cycle through the endless shame and pain that the disordered eating brings us.

The Solution

Healing begins NOT when we change our behaviors, but when we change our beliefs about
  1. who we are, and
  2. what God created food for
We let go of the lie that our bodies define who we are. We let go of the lie that food is a means to control and manipulate our disordered eating. We begin to believe the truth about who we are. Then, the truth about God’s purpose for food can bring about healing.

With support from our recovery group, our Sponsor, and our Accountability Partners, we can begin to renounce these lies and believe the truth that
  1. God loves me unconditionally, He gives me my value and I do not need to change my body to have worth and significance, and
  1. God created food for His purposes: to fuel my body, to enjoy in moderation, and to celebrate in community

Freedom From Anger

The Problem

Every person has a “Pattern of Toxic Behavior” that can significantly damage the important and intimate relationships in his or her life. Anger is one of our 10 basic, God-given emotions. This emotion can be CONSTRUCTIVE or DESTRUCTIVE — depending on our response. We should give Jesus a “NANO SECOND” (just one billionth of a second!) to help us learn to use all of our emotions according to God’s design for our lives, and to change our pattern of relating to others and our responsibilities appropriately.

We learned how to express anger inappropriately from others. We did not realize that when we lashed out in anger, we were ignoring our fear, pain, or another deeper hurt, hang-up, or habit. Many of us did not even realize we were struggling with anger because we did not express it, but rather, we stuffed it down and kept silent.

When most of us think of an “angry” person, we think of someone who destroys themselves and their relationships through uncontrollable outbursts of rage. This is only one part of anger, as anger has many faces. Suppressed or “stuffed” anger is equally damaging and destructive. All anger, if allowed to, will continue to destructively influence our behaviors and attitudes, and will eventually erupt from deep within the heart.

As our lives and relationships progressed we may have become addicted to the physical symptoms of anger. Some of us may have felt a momentary euphoria as we released the anger. Some of us justified our anger. We did not recognize we were actually hurting our loved ones and ourselves. In the heat of the moment, releasing our anger was all that mattered.

Many of us feel intense shame and guilt over the actions that we have committed during our unhealthy expressions of anger. We vowed never to act that way again, only to find ourselves back in the same situations, unable to change it under our own power.

Complete the following questionnaire. It may reveal more about your anger than you realize. It may help you decide if your anger is reaching a destructive level in your life. (*Adapted from The Anger Workbook, written by Dr. Les Carter and Dr. Frank Minirth.)

Check the statements that apply to you:

__ I become impatient easily when things do not go according to my plans.

__ I have critical thoughts toward others who don’t agree with my opinions.

__ When I am displeased with someone I may shut down any communication with them or withdraw entirely.

__ I am annoyed easily when friends and family do not appear sensitive to my needs.

__ I feel frustrated when I see someone else having an “easier” time than me.

__ Whenever I am responsible for planning an important event, I am preoccupied with how I must manage it.

__ When talking about a controversial topic, the tone of my voice is likely to become louder and more assertive.

__ I can accept a person who admits his or her mistakes, but I am irritated easily at those who refuse to admit their weaknesses.

__ I do not easily forget when someone “does me wrong.”

__ When someone confronts me with a misinformed opinion, I am thinking of my comeback even while they’re still speaking.

__ I find myself becoming aggressive even while playing a game for fun.

__ I struggle emotionally with the things in life that “aren’t fair.”

__ Although I realize it may not be right, I sometimes blame others for my problems.

__ More often than not, I use sarcasm as a way of expressing humor.

__ I may act kindly toward others on the outside, yet feel bitter and frustrated on the inside.


The Solution

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
Recognizing and accepting responsibility for toxic patterns of behavior is the first step toward true freedom from anger. Walking through the recovery process with Jesus Christ as our Higher Power allows us to admit our powerlessness to control our anger. He will help us overcome our destructive habits.

EVALUATE THE ANGER
There are two kinds of anger: healthy adaptive anger and unhealthy needless anger. Healthy anger is based on being protective of myself or others. Unhealthy needless anger is based on my resentment, which leads to wanting revenge. It is healthy and necessary to feel anger and to talk about anger. I should recognize anger as my own emotion and avoid hurting the objects of my anger — keeping my anger as a feeling not an action. Looking at anger as a feeling may also reveal a larger hurt, hang-up, or habit that is hiding behind the anger. It is what I do with my feelings that will allow me to fall into sin. I need to check the motives for my behavior. Rudeness under the disguise of being honest is still rudeness.

DAILY QUIET TIME WITH GOD
Anger causes me to live in conflict and not in peace. I will try to remember that God is in charge of my life and He loves me unconditionally. I will commit to having a daily quiet time with God. During this quiet time with God it would be helpful to identify some helpful Scriptures and write them somewhere to read throughout during the day. Some suggestions include the Serenity Prayer, Ephesians 4:31-32, and James 1:19-20.

TAKING A “TIME-OUT”
When I feel body arousal, I need to recognize that as a sign that I am getting angry. I will use a “time-out” to isolate myself from the trigger for my anger and to prevent the anger from becoming too intense. I will ask myself, “What is making me angry?” I will reappraise the situation to keep my behavior under control. I will do something physical to release the adrenaline rush and energy in a healthy way, such as going for a walk or cleaning a closet. I will avoid alcohol, caffeine, or other medicating substances during “time-out.”

CONFRONTING IN LOVE
After the time-out, I will go back and deal with what made me angry. If I leave an issue unresolved, it is likely to return later. I will not use the confrontation as an opportunity to blame, shame, seek revenge, or to rationalize my anger. Examples of confronting in love while stating my feelings are: “I love you; here’s how this action makes me feel,” or “I feel devalued when this is said or done.”

WORK THE 12 STEPS AND CONNECT WITH OTHERS
I will commit to working the 12 Steps, to attend regularly the Celebrate Recovery meetings, and to getting an Accountability Partner and Sponsor for my anger management.

FORGIVE
I will become willing to forgive myself and others (Colossians 3:13). Forgiveness is NOT forgetting what has happened. Forgiveness IS changing the way I think. Forgiveness IS giving up my desire for revenge.

Love & Relationship Addiction

The Problem

This group provides a safe place to deal with the depression, isolation, lack of trust, and the unhealthy use of love and relationships as means of achieving worth, that are characteristic of Romance and Relationship Addictions.

Addicted to “Love” characteristics are:
  • Lack of nurturing and attention when young
  • Feeling isolated, detached from parents and family
  • Outer facade of “having it all together” to hide internal disintegration
  • Mistake intensity for intimacy
  • Hidden pain
  • Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at all cost
  • Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
  • Inner rage over lack of nurturing, early abandonment
  • Depressed
  • Highly manipulative and controlling of others
  • Perceive attraction, attachment, and sex as basic human needs, as with food and water
  • Sense of worthlessness
  • Escalating tolerance for high-risk behavior
  • Intense need to control self, others, and circumstances
  • Presence of other addictive or compulsive problems
  • Using others alter mood or relieve pain
  • Continual questioning of values and lifestyle
  • Driven, desperate, frantic personality
  • Existence of secret “double life”
  • Refusal to acknowledge existence of problem
  • Defining out-of-control behavior as normal
  • Defining “wants” as “needs”
The Solution

The goal of recovery is to achieve and maintain sobriety. In most addictions, sobriety can be defined simply by ceasing the unhealthy behaviors. Stopping and staying stopped are the goals. For most types of problems, the slogan “just say no” is appropriate.

Staying sober is more complicated with people addictions. The aim of recovery cannot be the complete avoidance of all forms of romance and relationships. It is similar to the challenge faced by people addicted to overeating; they cannot simply give up food. Rather, they must learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy eating. They must eliminate the unhealthy while promoting the healthy behavior. In the same way, for those addicted to love, the goal of recovery is not to become a hermit living in the mountains. The goal is to foster healthy relationships and eliminate unhealthy ones.

Asking the following questions can help you determine if a particular behavior will contribute to a healthy relationship or lead to addictive behavior.
  1. Will I later have to deny that I did it?
  2. Is it self-centered?
  3. Is it abusive to myself or to others?
  4. Is it inconsistent with my values?
  5. Would I refuse to do it if Christ were standing here with me?
  6. Is it an action without an underlying commitment?
  7. Will I feel better or worse about myself for having done it?
  8. Will someone else feel worse for my having done it?
  9. Is this a waste of my time or the time of others?
  10. Am I doing this to escape painful feelings of reality?
A yes to any of these questions should be a “red flag” that the behavior being considered may be unhealthy. When romance and relationships proceed with these types of dynamics, they are likely to be dysfunctional and addictive. Sobriety means establishing and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. At the same time, staying sober is always more than the mere presence or absence of certain behaviors. Sobriety is more than just “not doing” certain things. It involves personal growth. It is not what we avoid, but what we grow toward, that makes sobriety meaningful. As we have seen, growth must occur in several areas of our lives. We must look to our physical health. We must be concerned for our emotional, social, and mental welfare. Spiritual growth must be the foundational block, upon which, all other growth is built and sustained. Balance is the key. Romance and relationships have been the dominant factors in the life of one addicted to love. Recovery is the time for these relationships to find their rightful and healthy place as a part of the whole person, not as tyrants which control and consume a person.

Recovery is meant to be far more than survival or another coping strategy. Recovery is to lead to an intimate relationship with Christ, and to a re-birth of the heart. The goal is for the healing of a broken and empty heart and the filling of that heart with a love for God, for others and for yourself. Life’s central truth is that GOD LOVES US. Christ sacrificed himself because of His love for us. His sacrifice made it possible for us to be women who love. Entering into God’s love, making it our own, and being able to share it with others—that is the goal of recovery.

Definitions of Sobriety

The key to co-dependent sobriety is learning how to have healthy relationships and how to establish and enforce appropriate boundaries that we may accurately establish where we end and another person begins.

I can recognize co-dependent sobriety when I have not actively sought to control or manipulate others, given unsolicited advice, or based my self-concept on the well-being or approval of others.

While working toward co-dependent sobriety I’ll make a faithful commitment to consistently work the program, which includes working or having worked through the CR Step Study Group, steady attendance at the Friday night meetings, service, and accountability to a Sponsor and Accountability Partners. We advocate journaling, daily inventory, transparency, and rigorous honesty.

Sobriety for Sexual Addiction
For the unmarried Christian, sexual sobriety means having no form of sex with self or with anyone else.

For the married Christian, sexual sobriety means having no form of sex with self or with anyone other than his or her spouse. The married person may need to consider a “season” of abstinence from sex with his or her spouse, especially early in the recovery process.

And for everyone, sexual sobriety means seeking and achieving progressive inner sobriety.

Sobriety for Co-Dependency in a Relationship With a Sexually Addicted Person
• A state of confidence resulting from a reliance and trust in God
• Focusing on God and relying on Him to meet my needs
• Letting go of control and trusting God for the outcome
• Not taking responsibility for the addict’s behavior or recovery
• Allowing the sex addict to be responsible for his own actions and recovery — no rescuing
• Being honest with myself about my need to be in recovery
• Minding my own business; no checking up on or spying on the addict, trusting that God will reveal any necessary information
• A commitment to growth through prayer, educational reading, and Accountability

Sobriety for Physical/Sexual/Emotional Abuse
Our definition of sobriety is to discover our purpose, to build our self-esteem, and to repair any damage done. We will allow ourselves to feel our feelings, to accept them, and learn to express them appropriately.

We will not partake in any addictive or self-destructive behaviors that so easily entangle us. We will not allow the pains of our past to keep us as victims but grow from God’s healing. In order to change, we as survivors of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse cannot use history as an excuse for continuing our destructive behaviors

Sobriety for Food Issues
Sobriety means I have not overeaten compulsively, binged/purged, starved myself/over-exercised, or engaged in any ritualistic eating pattern. Rather, I have released control of my food and way of eating to the control of God and sought to eat in a sane and healthy manner.

Sobriety for Anger
Sobriety means I have not lashed out at others or harbored ill will toward others but have taken appropriate steps to forgive others and resolve conflicts. I have also not shut down emotionally, giving in to depression, which is anger turned inward.

Sobriety also means working or having worked through a CR Step Study Group, steady Attendance at the Friday night meetings, serving, and accountability to a Sponsor and Accountability Partners.

Sobriety for Chemical Dependency
In order to attain sobriety from chemical addiction I need to abstain from alcohol and all drugs one day at a time and continue to apply the recovery steps and principles in my life.

Sobriety for Financial Issues
Living by God’s Financial Guidelines:
Tithe 10% - Save 10% - Living on 80%

Sobriety for Gambling
Sobriety for the compulsive gambler is defined as follows: complete abstinence of any betting or wagering, for self or others, whether for money or not, no matter how slight or insignificant, where the outcome is uncertain or depends upon chance or “skill” and constitutes gambling.