Hi, My name is Robin and I am the wife, daughter, step-daughter, co-worker, and friend of alcoholics. And I’m codependent, to boot.
I never would have considered any of this if I hadn’t quit my cushy job as a restaurant manager and started working at my church. Before that life was fine, but just fine. As my tolerance waned and my tummy grew from the emotional eating, I started to realize something wasn’t normal, right, or complete.
I left my awesome job, and the sweet treats that went with it, for a humbling part-time, barely pay the bills job, at my church. I was hired to run childcare for the recovery program called Shift. Sitting in my interview, I suddenly heard my mouth saying things and telling stories that, in any other interview, would have gotten my application shredded before I even left the building.
I told of how my parents divorced when I was 3 because my dad couldn’t control his drinking and substance abuse. I talked about how, after the divorce, I spent most of my time in childcare at the bowling alley, because that’s where mom spent most of her time. I explained how I sat back and watched as my mom remarried another alcoholic when I was 9 and how he abused both my sister and I until my sister finally ran away. I went on and on, telling my story for the first time ever, about how I majored in sociology, hoping that someday God would give me strength to help these kids who were stuck in the same cycle I was. To help them have a chance, to help them have a person in their life who was safe, who could say “I’ve been there, and I know it hurts.” When I finished telling my story, they hired me on the spot. I was the perfect person to come along side these kids, they said.
What I didn’t know was that God put me in that place, 2 1/2 years ago, to change my life forever. The longer I was on staff the more tasks I was put in charge of. Before I knew it I was scheduling counseling appointments, and talking to people who were hurting and in distress. I would listen to some and think, “wow you have it so bad, how do you carry on?” But more often than not, I would listen and think “Wow, that’s my story.” On Friday nights I started to do A/V programming, hearing teaching after teaching, 8 principles, Serenity Prayer, testimonies. All of it sinking in. One day about a year into the job I was listening, and I heard screeching tires and thought “Oh, Robin. You’re married to an alcoholic.” Things changed in that moment.
I was able to start seeing my husband as broken, and myself as codependent.
He was getting worse, and I thought I was keeping boundaries, but when you do boundaries wrong all you do is drive distance between each other. Slowly, through therapy, I began to course correct my life and focus on things that nurtured me and sharing my feelings with my husband.
Fast forward to this week. I was riding with a fellow staff member to a meeting and she shared that she wanted to go to an Al-Anon meeting because someone in her family was struggling with it. And out of my mouth I heard the words “I want to go with you.” Was I being codependent? Or had I finally had enough? Either way, at 9 o’clock this morning I found myself sitting in the beginners meeting at Al-Anon. I haven’t decided if it’s the place for me, quite yet. We like to say at church, there’s 2 deals on the table, the life that you’ve been trying over and over and it isn’t working, and the life that God wants for you. Pick the better deal.
I think this morning I took a step towards the better deal.