When Herbert Armstrong was all positive, looking good, trying hard, looking great and making promises — we would have our high. When he showed us news of the world which supported his prophetic nonsense, we seized on that because we were dependent upon it for our high.
A&E Network Television Channel has a program called Intervention. It has 14 seasons so far about people who have serious life threatening addictions. A&E sends help for an Intervention for these people and their families. Seasoned professionals counsel with the family. Both the addict and the family are offered treatment. Often the treatment saves the life of the addict and the family members.
Play and watch the above Intervention about Shane: Shane was a talented cellist and an aspiring music producer, whose musical aspirations were out of reach because he abused prescription drugs and dealt drugs out of his grandmother’s house where he was living. He also used cocaine. Jeff Van Vonderen, the facilitator of the Intervention had this to say to the family in the pre-intervention meeting:
Delusion turns into denial and delusion isn’t just really bad denial, delusion is a whole different thing. Shane doesn’t know he’s lying any more. You guys know when you’re lying, don’t you, OK? Look at it like this: It’s like this thinking grid, you give him this picture of reality and on the way in, it takes a couple of hits and gets twisted up and looks different, so when he gives you his answer, it’s based on his picture, and he is so sincere and convincing that you start thinking you saw it wrong in the first place. That’s why, when he tells you his answer, he’s not lying. He’s telling you the truth. That’s why it seems so crazy.
Learn to ask yourself, this is the quick test, “Do I agree with this?” If you don’t agree with it, don’t let it happen. We call him the dependent, because he’s dependent on the chemical for his high; we call you guys co-dependents because it’s actually possible for you to become dependent upon the dependent for your high. Which means when Shane’s looking good and trying hard, looking great and making promises, your mood alters up; and when he’s being scary and dangerous and doing bad stuff, your mood alters down. But now put yourself in his place, where now he has to do well, so you guys have a good day….
Let’s pause for a moment and look back at Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God with his multiple addictions to narcissism, needing constant praise and adulation, needing to feel important and following his addiction to buy expensive material things to satiate his lust for self-importance, his panic following the manic phase of realization that he’s overspent, requiring him to loudly demand the membership to make sacrifices to resupply the money to support his destructive habits with money and prestige being his drugs of choice. Over the years, we’ve covered this topic in various ways. What we have not covered is our own codependence.
When Herbert Armstrong was all positive, looking good, trying hard, looking great and making promises — we would have our high. When he showed us news of the world which supported his prophetic nonsense, we seized on that because we were dependent upon it for our high. He offered us British Israelism to support our codependence. And, of course, when things went south and he started yelling about how “this WORK could go down!” our attitudes and mood would alter down. This kept us in the nightmare of being subjected to his moods and whims for our highs and lows. We lived on his promises that we would become God as God is God for our codependent high and faced the imaginary reality of the Great Tribulation for our depressive lows, only to be raised to manic levels on the promises of a Place of Safety, to sink back to the lows of the reality of life, only to be lifted again in enthusiasm with the promise of attending yet another “Best Feast Ever!” spending, as it were, 10% of our gross income in 10 days to experience the excessive highs stimulating the endorphin flow from sumptuous eating, drinking, travel and activities that supposedly reflected the addictive highs of being Kings and Priests in the millennium wielding great power over masses of people under us, vulnerable to our own mood swings.
Subjecting ourselves to this addict was not healthy. He was not living a sane healthy balanced life. He lived a life of excess, bracketed by real alcoholism. We allowed him to manipulate our thinking in inappropriate unhealthy ways, and, in many cases, causing many of us to follow him to become addicts ourselves as well as being codependent.
After the death of Herbert Armstrong and the collapse of his empire, the problem became worse: Addicts like Roderick Meredith, David Pack, Gerald Flurry, Ronald Weinland and so many others, made codependents of their followers, draining the followers of their resources to support their habits of addiction. People could sit in services at United each week and hear the Regional Pastor express his desperation about not having enough money for retirement and discuss salary and money problems. It was clear where his priorities were. Those of us listening to him week after week, year after year, wallowed in his self-pity, which was also accompanied with his revelation that his parents were alcoholics and addicts who beat him as a teen. This was a gross transgression against the 5th commandment, but we were all hearing it through his twisted grid of reality, fed back so that he altered our moods to make us codependents. In fact, at every turn, the delusions of the addict leaders of Armstrongism make their followers codependents.
The solution, of course, is to stop providing the addict with an environment in which he can abuse himself with his addiction and refuse to be a codependent where his moods are reflected in our own.
In the case of Shane’s family, two members had to get treatment from the Betty Ford Clinic to wean them from their codependence and live their life, not for Shane, but for themselves. Without altering their behavioral responses to Shane, they would provide the environment to support Shane in going back to his addictions after his own treatment.
The final result of this is that Shane beat his addictions and has been living sober since November 2nd, 2009.
If you are still codependent with Armstrongist addict leaders, what’s it going to be for you?
Living a nightmare of someone else’s making?
Or getting free to live your own life?
It’s way past the time to move from codependence to independence.