We have needs and wants and know the difference. You may look at that statement and say “Duh!” So let me illustrate with an example in my life.
After a couple of years of being in Christian Recovery in my early 40’s I had an accident, that is a fellow decided to run a stop sign and parked his very large Oldsmobile Toronado in the back seat of my ’77 Dodge van. While it totaled my van I was only blocks away from the school where I had dropped off the last of 3 children and I felt extremely thankful none of them had been in it during the accident. I did spend the next few hours in the ER getting checked out but had no serious injuries but the van’s violent encounter left me with $2,800 from my insurance company since the other driver was an uninsured motorist with little means to really repay me for my loss. The next day I was in a Recovery leader’s meeting when something quite extraordinary dawned on me. I realized what I wanted at the time to replace my precious van was another brand new one that cost $25,000 but all I had in hand was merely a tenth of that and my bank account and monthly income wouldn’t support the necessary payments. My realization was that I knew what I wanted but I also know that what I needed was a transportation vehicle. Prior to Recovery I probably, most likely would have felt I NEEDED that $25,000 brand new van and would have finagled to get it only to have it repossessed six months later because I couldn’t afford it. What I did was to buy a car for $3,200 that I drove for the next 5 years until I could afford something closer to what I wanted. I had discovered that I had a legitimate want but what I could afford was to fulfill the need for transportation at the moment that didn’t put my family in jeopardy financially.
It is perfectly ok to have wants and dreams but so many times me mix up a want with a need and it leads us into a ditch along our road of life. When we reclaim the characteristic of Dependency we learn we don’t have to live needy or wantless lives. Every need isn’t a priority and we don’t need to feel ashamed because we want something better than what we can afford.
Damage due to the denial of the characteristic of Dependency leads to some of the most destructive of consequences. Adult Codependency leaves us in this area not able to take care of our needs and wants for ourselves and those to whom and for whom we are responsible. This is the root of so much of our addictive behavior but it can also come out as mental illness or physical illness. This doesn’t mean that all mental and physical illness has roots in the denial of our authentic self. Nor does this in any way indicate that mental and physical illnesses are not real, it just means that there are circumstances that call for a healthy look into places in our lives where we are not allowed to be our authentic self.