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My Mom Is Homeless and I Can't Help Her

I am the 34 year old daughter of a drug addict/alcoholic. I have spent half of my life rescuing her because I didn't know any better.

She has been in and out of jail and rehab for years, and I have been picking up the pieces - up to and including raising my two younger brothers while she was 'away', paying her bills, acting as her therapist, etc. etc.

She relapsed again last year and a light finally came on for me - I finally realized that I wasn't responsible for her well being, and that all of the 'help' I was giving her wasn't helping at all.

So I left her to her own devices and removed myself from the situation completely, I honestly did not have one ounce of energy left to spend on solving her problems.

This triggered a major downward spiral which has resulted in my having to file a protective order to keep her from harassing and threatening me, as well as her homelessness.

I struggle daily with whether or not I'm doing the right thing. I have been her rescuer (enabler) for so long, maybe it's just taking awhile for my new boundaries to cement themselves in my brain?

I can't help but feel like I'm being cruel by allowing my own mother to live on the streets - and that is, of course, how she would have me feel - but I have spent many years and thousands of dollars trying to prevent it from getting to this point.

All to no avail. Am I doing the right thing? Answer

You've absolutely done the right thing. As much as you love and want to help your mother, if she doesn't want to help herself, there is nothing you can do.

You have to learn to let go. Guilt and doubt are natural human emotions, even though they usually aren't helpful. Now you have to start focusing on your own life and well-being and trust that whatever fate awaits your Mom is the right one.

You've done everything you can. But your Mom has made her choices, and it's not up to you to keep picking up the pieces. You're right, boundaries do take time to establish and get used to, but you need to trust you've made the right decision.

It may mean getting some therapy to help you get through this. But more than anything, the stronger a support network of family, friends and even support groups like 'adult children of alcoholics' or Al-Anon you can surround yourself with - will help you get through this and move forward. God Bless

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