Helping is important to me. It was something I was taught to do. I felt I was obligated to help those I love. I became terribly confused about helping before I started attending Nar-Anon. It took time and much introspection to realize that I am supposed to help people in ways that demonstrate my love for them and are not harmful or demanding of something in return. In Nar-Anon, I am learning a new way of helping, a way that I hope will move my loved ones towards courage, independence, a full life, freedom, and joy.
What I used to think of as helping was really interfering or enabling. When I think of helping someone today, first I stop and think:
Why am I helping?
Who am I helping?
Is this really help?
Did they ask for my help?
I also ask myself if the help I am offering is similar to a pair of cement shoes that drags them down and keeps them there, or is my help going to be more like a spring breeze that gently provides a lift to a child’s kite.
In Nar-Anon, I am learning I play a role in the family disease of addiction and I do have options. When I am clear about the part I play, I can stop and look at what I am doing before I act and choose my behavior. I now know that when I feel resentment or I am expecting a change as the result of my helping, then it is enabling so I do not have to do it. I only prolong the addict’s struggle when I meddle.
Thought for Today: Helping others build personal strength and independence is giving someone a helping hand. Helping them avoid the consequences of their actions or doing for them what they can do for themselves, is giving them a permanent crutch.“We can stand back, without losing our love and compassion for them and ‘Not Do.’ It’s OK, it doesn’t cause a dramatic change, it didn’t change when we ‘Did’ either.” ~ The Nar-Anon Twelve Step Program