The View from the Front Porch: A Codependent’s Journey
HUGE RESERVES An idyllic picture of a sunny afternoon is a little boy on a tire swing, his little toes
reaching high into the sky. Swings are delightful. One of my favorite places as a
young child was the swing under the porch of my great-grandparents’ country store.
Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ tells this story Today one of my favorite places is the swing on my front porch, where I have quieted
of a famous oil field called Yates Pool: fussy babies, spent time in prayer, and listened to the squeals of my grandchildren.
During the depression this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Even though swings go back and forth, to and fro, they never actually go anywhere,
Yates. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay much like codependency. I have had codependent tendencies much of my life, but I
the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his only learned that my disease had a name in the last ten years. Codependents tend to
ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live in a state of chronic anxiety. They are prone to live through and for others,
always trying to protect and/or “fix” the ones they love, especially the ones who are
live on government subsidy.
struggling at the time. Parents and spouses are by nature protective and nurturing,
but codependents take these traits to such an extreme that they almost lose
Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was themselves in the process. They are only happy when the ones on whom they are
no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a codependent are happy; for example, the wife of an alcoholic husband can become
seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there so caught up in “fixing” her husband that her day is solely determined by what kind
might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he of day that he is having. Codependents make decisions often based solely on the
signed a lease contract. supposed effect they will have on their loved ones, not on what is best for all
concerned. In fact, they often sacrifice the needs of other important people in their
At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 lives because they are so caught up in “fixing” the ones who are struggling. They
barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 will seek God’s will for the ones on whom they are codependent, not for themselves,
years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still actually forgetting that God has a plan for their lives as well and seek repentance for
had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. these struggling loved ones, wanting God’s mercy for them, forgetting to maintain
their own relationship with God. In other words, life for the codependent becomes
And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he had received the oil measured by someone else’s decisions and condition, not by his or her own
and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief. A multimillionaire living in personal relationship with God.
poverty. The problem? He didn’t know the oil was there even though he owned it.
Codependency is its own type of addiction, and codependents benefit greatly by
Many Christians live in spiritual poverty. They are entitled to the gifts of the Holy applying the Twelve Steps to their lives. The first step involves admitting “that we
Spirit and his energizing power, but they are not aware of their birthright. are powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives have
SOURCE: Untapped Spiritual Resources, by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, become unmanageable.” Once we realize that we have a debilitating problem that is
Illinois. Citation: Bill Bright, "How to Be Filled with the Spirit" (Campus Crusade out of control, we can move from a state of denial to the “road to recovery.”
Sometimes family members of alcoholics and/or addicts do not realize that they can
benefit from recovery meetings, even if their loved ones are still in active addiction,
so they refuse to go to meetings. The truth is that they need to go to get help for
WOMEN’S REVENGE : "Cash, check or charge?" I asked, after folding themselves. When my husband and I first started attending Celebrate Recovery
items the woman wished to purchase. meetings, we discovered a place of healing and hope. We learned that we were not
As she fumbled for her wallet , I noticed a remote control for a television set in alone, that other people were going through similar struggles. We learned that
her purse. although every story is different, they are still the same, and most importantly, we
"So, do you always carry your TV remote?" I asked. learned that we could not change our loved ones, but we could change ourselves.
"No," she replied, "but my husband refused to come shopping with me, We did not have to spend our lives swinging back and forth, wringing our hands, and
and! I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally." going nowhere. We could choose to live the lives that God intended for us.