Are You A Rescuer?

Are you the type of person who keeps trying to fix a friend or loved one’s problems only to find yourself getting totally frustrated when they don’t do the work to fix themselves and instead, continue to repeat the same behaviors?

My hand is definitely raised quite high right now because I’m so very guilty of this. I have spent an incredible amount of energy attempting to rescue those who keep drowning by their own actions, often pulling myself in way too close to the point where they end up trying to drown me along with them. And each and every time I get that close to those going around and around in circles in their lives, I often become the recipient of their guilt trips and shame, which habitually causes me to become angry and frustrated. I began this behavior as a kid with my alcoholic mother and I’m tired of it. It’s time to let this rescuing behavior go and it’s time to let those people go who aren’t willing to help themselves.

Today alone I received three very long voicemails in a short period of time from a guy who was extremely angry and extremely desperate to get from Ohio to Michigan because he believed the legalized marijuana there would help his PTSD and chronic relapses with alcohol and other drug addictions. I had already presented the solution to him a number of times prior, by suggesting the 12 Steps, in patient treatment, and seeking a closer relationship to a Higher Power, but he wasn’t having any of it. Because of this, I decided the healthiest solution for me was to not return any of his calls, as I know it wouldn’t have done any good and only would have caused me to expel energy I don’t want to expel anymore.

It’s time to take care of myself and stop taking responsibility for all those like this who are broken, but aren’t willing to do the work to fix themselves. As I know that no matter how many times I try to fix them, I’ll keep getting burned and be constantly reminded of all my repeated failures to rescue my mother.

My ultimate realization now is that I’m not the cause of anyone’s constant relapses into alcohol or drugs or any other addiction for that matter. It’s also not my responsibility to correct another’s financial problems, relationship issues, health troubles, or any other repeated difficulty they are having. What I can do is pray for them to become truly willing to help themselves.

I’m so ready to take my life back from all the years I gave away to my mother and those like her, who only have ever known how to take and take and take and take, which sadly, I was one of them for periods of my life as well. Thankfully though, I’ve worked hard to change this, but now it’s time to work on the other side of the coin, to not keep giving myself away through rescuing.

It’s time to become a stable, healthy, individual who has boundaries and keeps to them, who helps to lead others to the water, but doesn’t try to force them to drink it. Because the only one who can drink that water, who can fix themselves, who can change themselves, is the person they see in the mirror every day. It’s not my problem and never was to make them see otherwise, or to take ownership of any of their drama either.

It’s time to finally free myself from this burden in 2020. I’m done playing the rescuer. Sink or swim, that’s up to them, but when they finally do become ready to do the work, I know God will give me the strength and guidance to help, as then it will be healthy and productive for both them and me…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson