My dad left my mom for another woman when I was 11. I was the oldest of five children, so a lot of weight fell on my small shoulders when Mom had to go back to school and get a job. Because of my responsibilities at home, I didn't have a typical teenage life. I finally got away from home when I went to college, and I thought everything was fine.
But it wasn't. A boyfriend at the Bible college I attended got my attention when he told me our relationship couldn't continue to grow as long as I was overly dependent on him. I decided I needed to do something to work through the issues that were causing my behavior. I met with a college teacher once a week for counsel and encouragement. She helped me a lot, but I never really got to the heart of my problems.
My boyfriend and I worked through our problems together and eventually we got married. Then, we noticed that our church had a 12-step group for people from dysfunctional families. It was just what I needed! Still, I had to give it a lot of thought, and I needed the encouragement of my husband to go to that first meeting.
That was more than two years ago. I finished that group, and now I am helping to lead other similar groups in our church. Being in a recovery group helped me deal with the issues from my past. I learned to deal with feelings, of neglect and guilt. We discussed self-esteem, forgiveness, and trusting God, among other issues, in our meetings. It was hard and at times painful experience, but it was a time for growth and healing.
A 32-week group has not changed a lifetime of wrongs, but it has helped me get started. That's what "recovery" is—a process. It's a process of growing and maturing into the whole person God intended for me to be.
—Name withheld ...