Codependency refers to a mental, emotional, physical, and/or spiritual reliance on a partner, friend, or family member.
Are you Codependent?
- You find yourself in relationships with individuals who are “troubled” or “needy”.
- You find yourself obsessed with taking care of other people.
- You have a hard time with self-acceptance and feeling understood by others.
- You settle for being “needed” with little to no value placed on the legitimacy of having your own needs met.
- You find yourself constantly redefining your personal boundaries and limits.
Jes’s Story of Codependence
It Starts with One
Jes was originally addicted to validation. Growing up in a home where her father and older brother were both Methamphetamine users and her mom smoked Marijuana, she constantly sought validation from them.
“I just wanted to know why people were always temporary and why nobody was ever around,” Jes said
She believes that is what led her to her getting drunk for the first time at 11. Her father was having a Super Bowl party, Jes thought that the drinks they had looked pretty and asked what they were. One of her dad’s friends told her it was a strawberry daiquiri and offered her one.
“I had one and I loved it and I had another one and I was drunk.”
When her dad found out that she was drunk there were no consequences, that said to her that it must be okay. It set the stage for a mindset that using substances didn’t have consequences.
When Jes turned 14 she found a group of people to look up to, she liked the way they lived their life. Unfortunately, their way of life involved high.
“I wanted to get outside of myself so I tried Ecstasy for the first time.”
For Jes, the experimenting didn’t end there she continued to Marijuana, prescription pills, hallucinogens, Cocaine and then on to Heroin.
Life Changing Choices
“At 17 I met the love of my life – which was Heroin. I smoked it for five days straight, then I had this epiphany … I’m living a double life.”
Jes had played volleyball her whole life, she had a scholarship that she was supposed to be leaving for, only now she was addicted to Heroin.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was trying to figure out if I was going to just leave the scholarship and stay in Arizona or if I was going to … just go out to Kansas and see what happened.”
She decided to go to Kansas for her scholarship but her move didn’t last very long.
After two months she left her scholarship and her Olympic training because of her addiction. When she went back to Arizona she began using Meth.
“[Meth] is something I thought I would never do, especially seeing my dad and my brother doing Meth together.”
Jes started stealing from her family to be able to feed her habit. She sold everything of value that her grandma had and maxed out all of her credit cards. Because of the debt this put on her, Jes’ grandma won’t be able to retire until she’s in her mid-80s.
Jes’ addiction had gotten so bad that at the time, this didn’t mean anything to her, all that mattered was her own needs.
“You just lose yourself, I didn’t have any morals I didn’t have any standards.”
Rehabs and Recovery
Her family started to figure out what was going on and Jes went into rehab for the first time.
It was after her 13th rehab that she was arrested for theft.
“I thought [that] was never going to happen to me, I thought I was completely invincible.”
The case was dropped, Jes considers this as an eye opener for her, but it wasn’t enough to get clean.
“I had a lot of bottoms.”
One of these bottoms was an overdose, which still did not detour her from using. It wasn’t until she hit her emotional bottom that she realized she wanted to be better – she didn’t want to be emotionally bankrupt anymore.
“Inside my heart and soul I wanted to be better, I knew that there was something else out here for me.”
Jes made the decision for herself that she needed to get help. She checked herself into a detox facility and then moved into sober living. For the first time, she was taking direction and listening to suggestions for people who had more clean time than she did.
“I got a sponsor immediately and started working my steps … and I did the work.”
Jes found someone that she knew she could be honest with who was going to keep her secrets and her trust. After finding that one person she began to find more women in her fellowship that she could trust and rely on.
“After doing that I started to see the promises, I found a new freedom and a new happiness. I started have goals and motivation and ambitions again which I had lost so ago.”
The more work she did the better she felt. She started to have love for herself instead of seeking it out from others. She realized that she couldn’t rely on other people for her happiness.
After five months of sober living, she moved out and got an apartment.
“I’m 23 years old and this is the first time I’ve ever lived on my own and I worked for this. I can sit here and say today that everything that I have I worked for and nobody else got me to where I am.”
Jes knows that not everything is perfect but now she has the tool to deal with life when life happens, which is something she never had.
“I keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep trudging and every day is better than the last.”