Hi, my name is Glen, and I am a beloved friend of Jesus Christ.
I’m in recovery because of my learned codependent behaviors and the unhealthy coping skills I’ve acquired over a lifetime. I’ve been a Christian for over many years, but I have regularly battled against my compulsive behaviors and thought patterns, and the devastation they’ve left in their wake.
Before I get into my story, I thought it might be helpful to share with you what some of my codependent behaviors look like. As a codependent, I feel responsible for other people’s feelings, thoughts, actions, wants and overall well-being. I am often compelled to solve other people’s problems. My tendency is to try to please others instead of myself. I feel safest when I’m giving to others. I can get angry, feel victimized, unappreciated and used when others don’t receive my help. I often blame myself or others for everything. I tend to think that I’m not as good others. I can become emotionally controlled by circumstances or people. I’m prone to having bouts of depression or illness. I struggle with feeling happy, content, or at peace with myself.
Codependents many times come from families where there has been physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, and some, like myself, have experienced significant loss or abandonment in their lives. These are just a few of the characteristics of codependency. There are dozens more.
I would like to start off by telling you about the circumstances that brought me into recovery.
It was in June of 2014 that I suffered several debilitating work injuries that left me unable to work physically. I’m a small business owner and have always depended on my physical ability to work to earn a living to support my family. But, prior to my injuries, God had been speaking to me about trusting Him with my business and the new role He wanted me to play in it.
My wife and my two sons would regularly tell me to slow it down, loosen my grip a bit, relax, and trust God and let Him transition me into this next season of life and business. You see, I was almost sixty years old and knew God wanted me to surrender to His new plans for me, but I wasn’t having any of that. In my heart, I knew that His new plans would be for my good, but the truth is, I was afraid to trust Him and give Him that kind of control.
So, instead, I chose to keep pushing myself forward in my own strength.
And then it happened. I pushed myself too far.
As I mentioned, in June of 2014, while working with my two sons on a challenging retro-fit framing project, I felt the need to play Superman one more time as I made the conscious choice to strap on my tools and take the lead. In my gut, I knew this was a bad decision, but I convinced myself to believe that I had no other option than to take control of the project to ensure its timely completion and profitability. As a result of this very foolish decision—and others I’d continue to make in 2015 & 2016—today, I am living with debilitating injuries that daily remind me that I’m an just an older man, not a superman.
After I went through four surgeries in fifteen months and nine months of physical therapy, God had my full attention. I had never experienced a series of rapid fire physical, emotional, and spiritual setbacks like this before.
1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “So if you think you are standing strong, be careful that you do not fall.”
Up until this time in my life, I believed that I was standing strong—but I soon found out that I wasn’t standing on the Rock of Jesus Christ but, rather, on the shifting sands of my own self-sufficiency and pride, and I was in denial.
So there I was, at fifty-eight years old, a physical, emotional, and spiritual mess. In hindsight, I wished I’d listened to my wife, my kids, and to God about trusting Him and slowing down physically. But I didn’t, and now I was paying the price for doing things my way.
Well, I struggled along for another year or so until I finally could admit to myself, to God, and to someone I trusted that my life was out of control and that I was powerless to fix it. During this time, I wasn’t able to work at all physically, and I was angry at God and slipping into a deep depression. I was frightened, anxious, and exhausted from trying to figure out what my next move should be while leaving God out of my decision-making process.
After all, I thought, I’ve really made a mess of things this time, God wouldn’t possibly be willing to help me, even if I were to ask Him.
My compulsive behaviors and negative thoughts were increasing until they plateaued, leaving me feeling emotionally crippled and stuck as I finally came to the end of myself and hit a new low. Ephesians 6:11 tells us to put on the full armor of God; so that we can stand up against the devil’s schemes. But there I was, standing armor-less, fully exposed and vulnerable, allowing the evil one to take a secure foothold in my life.
It was at this point, by God’s grace, that I made an appointment to see a Christian counselor. After meeting and talking with him a few times, he suggested that I check out a local Recovery ministry. I had never heard of a Recovery Ministry, but I listened to him, found a local meeting, and began attending. As I did, I saw firsthand how God was using this biblically based, fellowship-driven ministry to lead men and women into life-changing healing and recovery.
Later that year, I signed up and began the Recover twelve-step study program. This is where God began exposing my deep-rooted hurts, sinful compulsive habits, and the pride I was using to cover them up. For me, this study was extremely challenging, deeply exposing, and emotionally draining; yet, at the same time, it was liberating and life-giving.
During this twenty-eight week twelve-step study, God revealed life events and memories that I had suppressed for over fifty years. The first was my early childhood years, specifically, my dysfunctional and abusive home life. I learned that, as a child, I unknowingly learned these unhealthy codependent coping skills out of my need for survival.
Through recovery, I began understanding that it was my responsibility to admit my wrong doing, stop blaming those who hurt me, and get the help I desperately needed to break this cycle of insanity in my life. I also came to believe that Jesus Christ’s plans for me included giving me a way of escape, and that way of escape was the twelve “Biblical Steps” and the eight recovery principles found in Jesus’ Beatitudes and the recovery ministry.
During my thirty-six years as a Christian, I have served as a member of a growing local church. Over those years, I would be involved in a number of couples’ and men’s study groups. I would even lead a few.
But I was never able to experience the true healing power of Jesus Christ until I got into Recovery.
For me, God has used the Recover ministry, the Twelve-Step Study format, and courageous men and women I’ve met to help set me free from the spiritual and emotional bondage that had held me captive for more than fifty years.
I have learned that I am not God and that I am powerless over my compulsive behaviors. In Romans 7 verse 5 the apostle Paul talks about his inability to do the right thing when he pens these words: “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate!” Paul was simply admitting to his own powerlessness apart from Jesus Christ.
Today, I am more freely able to receive and experience God’s unconditional loving-kindness.
Through the Recover ministry, God has equipped me with His powerful biblical tools to recover, and I have been released from past hurts and sins and healed in ways that I never thought were possible. For the first time in my life, I am beginning to trust God with areas of my life that have previously been off limits.
While taking a fearless moral inventory of myself, I listed those whom I needed to make amends with for causing them harm. Starting with my wife Lorrie, then my oldest daughter, Amanda, and my two sons, David and Ben. I set up a private time where I sat with each one and, to the best of my ability, admitted the exact nature of my wrong doing, claiming full responsibility for all my actions. I apologized, asking each family member for their forgiveness, expecting nothing in return. Gratefully, each one extended their forgiveness to me.
Amanda’s hug and kiss on my cheek after we met had the most profound and liberating impact on me.
I’ve learned that healing is designed to be done in community and that it doesn’t happen until we verbally confess our sins one to another.
James 5:16 says this: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective!”
I have also been able to forgive myself, and I have forgiven those who have caused me great harm. I have written letters to people I have hurt and to those who have hurt me. Although some letters couldn’t be mailed, writing them was a necessary part of my recovery. I have released each person and forgiven them from their wrongs against me. I no longer am resentful toward them, nor do I wish them any harm.
I can’t thank God enough for the work He is doing inside of me, for showing me my own sin and wrong doing, and for abundantly forgiving me. Because of His grace and mercy, I am able to more freely open up with my Recover family, my wife, my kids, and my friends about my personal struggles and my victories.
I am learning that we are all recovering from something. And I am learning that true recovery is an ongoing, lifelong process that needs to be worked at daily. These days, I see God’s hand of affirmation on me in new ways.
Although I will never experience my full healing this side of heaven, I am beginning to find hope again, and I am beginning to dream about the plans and purposes God has for me in my future. For the first time in my life, I am beginning to live one day at a time. I am looking less in the rearview mirror of my life, and I am more hopeful about my future. I am choosing to believe God’s got me right where He wants me for His purposes and His reasons. I am enjoying more of those “Breakthrough Moments” that come in the course of each day when I let God have His way in me.
I still struggle, but now, I’m aware of my compulsive tendencies, and with God’s help, I am making better choices and living a more balanced life. I thank Him every day for the love, compassion, and Grace that He pours out on me in full measure.
If I could encourage one person, I would say this:
It is never too late, no matter how old you are, to find healing, rest, and recovery for your soul. I am so grateful to God for giving me the gift of Recovery at the age of sixty.
And please remember, God is nearest to us when we are brokenhearted, lonely, or fearful. It is the LORD’S absolute desire to take our mortal hurts, sinful habits, and emotional hang-ups and exchange them for His wholeness.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you!