Boundaries and Codependency

Before our daughter agreed to surrender and receive help for her addiction she was deep in the trenches of that chaotic life and my life was in shambles.  I am a mom to 3 other grown children and a wife, but those were all put on the back burner so I could attend to her. My life was consumed with her. Her mess was my mess, her bad decisions seemed like my bad decisions, her bad days were my bad days. Her life was out of control and my life was at an all-time high with trying to fix her.  Codependency was my life. Codependency had its claws stuck in me and I was irritable and discontent.  I could not shake it.  I did not know of a way out of it! I had no boundaries with her.  I thought I could fix her with letting her do what she wanted or say what she wanted or be however she wanted.  If she needed money, I gave it to her. If she wanted to sleep all day, I thought that would help her.  It did not matter what she wanted she knew there were no boundaries and she knew how to play the game and I let her. I just wanted her to be well and I went to any length to try whatever was in front of me to do just that.  With that behavior, there were no boundaries and I could not stand firm. It was the hardest time in my life. I felt hopeless, defeated and stripped of my role as a mom. Nothing was working.

Today after a full year of having our daughter back, present in her life and in ours, things are better.  Codependency will rear its ugly head from time to time but today I can flag it and know what it is. I know it is not a place for me to go. It brings chaos to my life and to the others around me. Today I am prepared to let her have her experiences in her life and to allow her to feel and learn what she needs to in HER life. I am now prepared for hard days and tough lessons. I am prepared to stand firm in my boundaries which are good for me and very good for her. Without boundaries, we set ourselves and our loved ones up for disappointments and expectations that are not attainable. Today I am happy that the relationship that we have is one of trust, love, honor and most of all respect.  Do we have low times, absolutely but we can go through that with the correct tools and grow stronger on the other side. We have learned that boundaries are vital in our relationships and that when boundaries are kept codependency behaviors are minimized.  I am by no means saying that I do not struggle with these but I can see growth. Having a conscience contact with God I can work on codependency and boundaries with her and anyone else in my life.

It states in Step 1 that we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. The word alcohol can be substituted with any person, place or thing that makes our lives unmanageable. Just for today I can live joyous happy and free. Today with 28 years sober in the program of recovery, I can still struggle with codependency and boundaries. But there is always the hope of a new day that I can be better than the day before. My goal is to remain teachable on my good days and my tough days. One day at a time is how I live my life.

Stacy McCarty
BRC Recovery