Celebrate Recovery® at CRBC

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Testimony (Vickie Boals)

Hi, My name is Vickie Boals and I’m a believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with Codependency, Food & Shopping issues.
If you’re like me, you’ve heard the term codependent but have no idea what it means. It wasn’t until George and I attended the Celebrate Recovery Conference in August of 2004 that I realized that I WAS codependent and that I needed recovery as much as George needed it for his alcoholism.  While we were at the conference, I read something entitled “What is Codependence?”, which is a list of statements that I answered yes to, on almost every statement.  Statements like:

  • My good feelings about who I am stem from being loved by you.
  • YOUR struggle affects my serenity.  My mental attention focuses on solving your problems or relieving your pain.
  • My fear of your anger determines what I say or do.

Then I heard the testimony of the founder of Celebrate Recovery, John Baker and his wife Cheryl.  During her testimony, I realized for the first time that I was codependent and that I needed recovery.  Because of Celebrate Recovery, I now realize that my codependency started a long time ago as a child.

I grew up in a wonderful Christian home and I’m the youngest of 4 children. I have 2 sisters and a brother.  My mom was always a stay at home mom and was very dependent on my dad, so I grew up learning to be codependent without even realizing it.   I was always dependent on George for my happiness, just like my mom was dependent on my dad, but I now see that my codependency started long before I even met George. I wish Celebrate Recovery existed back when George was drinking because I now realize how my codependency enabled George to keep drinking.  My codependency also had a lot to do with some of the things I did in my teen and young adult years.

I was saved when I was 9 years old and lived a very good Christian life but I was very sheltered.  I grew up in a great Baptist Church and was very active in my youth group and youth activities.  But, the summer before high school, my best friend and I decided that to be “popular”, we would have to learn to smoke cigarettes and drink beer.  We tried it and for me it was pretty disgusting.  Looking back, I now realize that this was the first sign of not depending on God.  I put my values aside for my friend, who was a Christian but as a teenager, I had a need to be accepted by the “in crowd”. 

Even though the smoking and drinking didn’t last long for me, it would come back later in my life.  I went through high school always looking for something or someone to make me happy.  After high school I went to a local community college and then transferred to a Baptist college in West Virginia.  I wouldn’t say it was a Christian college because it was there, that I pledged a Sorority and started drinking again.  Spending time with my friends became more important than spending time with the Lord and I grew farther and farther from the Lord, because I wasn’t spending time with Him daily.  I was still searching for happiness and the next summer, I became friends with someone that was in the “popular” crowd in high school and my codependency showed up again. Because I was not walking with the Lord, she was able to talk me into transferring to West Virginia University which was a big mistake.  After 3 different colleges and several different majors, here I was at WVU, partying every night and hanging out with people I never would have dreamed of being friends with in high school. It was here that I lost my virginity and found myself pregnant and scared to death. How would I tell my parents that their good little Christian girl was pregnant? So I told my roommate, and she said she had had 3 abortions and that it was no big deal. So, once again I put my values aside for a friend and I had an abortion. The emotional pain and guilt became so overwhelming that after my first semester at WVU, I was drinking way too much,  I was flunking all my classes and I was so unhappy with my life that I quit school and went home to get my life back together.  So I thought.  I felt I was too old to be living with my parents so after a few months I got a job, and found an apartment and I was out on my own.  Again, I found myself with the wrong crowd and the partying continued.  I see now that I was looking for that perfect man that I thought would make me happy.  It was during this time that I met George and thought I had found happiness.  After a few months of marriage, my “Knight in Shinning Armor” started to rust a little at a time.  At first we partied together which was my life style at the time but then the Lord started tugging at my heart and I decided that since I was married now, it was time to grow up and stop all this nonsense.  George continued to drink which put a real strain on our marriage.  You see, I wasn’t the person that George married because I wasn’t living for the Lord when we met.  Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.  And I was going back to the way I was raised which was in a Christian home with NO alcohol. George and I wanted to start a family and I didn’t see alcohol as part of that family.  We had been married for about 4 years when I got pregnant with our daughter Meredith and for those of you that have heard George’s testimony, you know that when I was 7 months pregnant, George lost his job and all I could say is “Praise the Lord”.  That’s because George was the manager of a Restaurant which was really a night club and he could get all the alcohol he wanted for free. He would work till the club closed and then go out after work and sometimes we wouldn’t see each other for days.  There were many nights that I would be up most of the night worrying about him and I would even call the hospitals to make sure he hadn’t been in an accident.  I prayed all the time and sometimes I would just say “God help me” because I couldn’t even find the words to pray. At that time in my life, I felt so all alone and I had no where to go and the few people I could talk to were telling me to leave.  George and I were going in opposite directions and I felt unloved and isolated.  Bitterness started taking control of my heart and my love for George became very distant. We grew so far apart that I thought there was no hope for our marriage.  But I stayed, because I was very scared and didn’t want our baby to grow up without a father, like George did.  Sometimes I even wondered why God was allowing this to happen to me.  What could I do to make him stop drinking?? If only he would stop drinking, our marriage and life would be fine.  But because I was so dependent on George, I forgot to rely on God’s power and I was trying to do it on my own.  I forgot to pray for God to give me the strength to change myself and to forgive.  Galatians 3:3 says, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” I was trying to do it all by myself.  And now we know that George was trying to do it on his own too.  He told me he prayed that God would help him stop drinking but that his prayers didn’t seem to work. It never occurred to me that he wasn’t saved.  It wasn’t until we moved to Northern Virginia and came to Calvary Road Baptist Church, that he realized that he wasn’t saved.  So, on November 5th, 1989, he was saved and I thought all our problems were solved.  Again, I thought I had found happiness but I was still looking in the wrong place.  Every time George did something that I thought was wrong, I was unhappy and couldn’t believe he was doing this to me again.  This all goes back to my codependency, being dependant on George to make me happy.

 I now know that true happiness can only be found in Jesus Christ.  Once I realized that I couldn’t change George or make him stop drinking, The Lord was able to do a great miracle in our lives.  I realize now that I can only change me and my reaction to my circumstances and that Jesus Christ alone has the power to change our circumstances. We are powerless to do anything on our own. In II Corinthians 12:9 Jesus says “My grace is sufficient for you, for MY POWER is made perfect in weakness”.  I was trying to play God and thought I could change George and make him the person I thought he should be.  Once I started focusing on what God wanted for my life and stopped trying to change George, God was able to start working on recovery for both of us.  My heart was softened to George and the Lord gave me a renewed love for him. We still have challenges in our marriage and we continue to work on our relationship but because Christ is at the center of our marriage and family we know that all things will work for good. We just need to get out of God’s way and let Him work His plan.

It’s been several years since George has had a drink and I am so thankful to the Lord that He helped us put our marriage and family back together.  We have 2 wonderful children, Meredith and Chandler and I’m so thankful that the Lord spared them from knowing and growing up with an alcoholic father. 

Because of Celebrate Recovery, I have been blessed with new friendships in my life which I know will last a lifetime. I now look at people in a different way because you don’t know what they are going through and we should never judge anyone else. But, my greatest blessing, is that George answered God’s call to lead Celebrate Recovery.  I am so very proud of him and love him with all my heart.  It’s through Celebrate Recovery that I continue to see that true happiness is having a day by day, moment by moment relationship with Jesus Christ.

Celebrate Recovery is not just for alcoholics or drug addicts. It’s for anyone that struggles with any kind of hurt, habit, or hang-up, which we all have.  I want you to know that Celebrate Recovery is a SAFE and loving place and if you work the program it will work for you.  It has truly changed my life and my relationship with my Creator.

Thanks for letting me share.


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Last updated 9/26/09