One of the challenges that I face now that my daughter is in recovery and living responsibly is my desire to help. The problem is that part of her healthy recovery is learning to take full responsibility for her life. It is so easy for me to rationalize in my mind ‘She’s doing so well, she deserves the help’ or ‘If I don’t help and she struggles, won’t that hurt her recovery and possibly drive her back towards her addiction?’ I could go on and on with various examples. The point is that while it’s only natural to help our loved ones, it has to be weighed carefully with how it will actually ‘hurt’ them instead of ‘help’ them. Struggling with this actually makes me sad. I think of growing up in a family where we helped each other, it was just what we did. If I needed a little boost after college and in the working world, my Mom would often be there to help me through a rough patch or to reach a goal I was striving for. It didn’t come with lots of angst about what I might do with the money or if I would take a step back in growing into adulthood.
While I can ruminate all I want about this, the reality of the situation is that I am not my Mom and my daughter is not me. She is in recovery from addiction and I am a struggling co-dependent – our boundaries can go from healthy to dysfunctional in a very short cycle. The positive thing is that I am completely aware of this dynamic. I stop and think about what I am doing and question what is best, not only for my daughter, but also me. Will this help her in her journey to become a self-sufficient adult or will this hinder that very goal? The other positive aspect is that I can openly talk to her about it. Part of our respective recoveries is having the ability to deal with situations as they arise. It is a blessing to be authentic and open in any relationship, and I cherish this with my daughter.