For Tilly (not her real name), there was more to the problem than just her daughter's drug addiction.

"I believed it wasn't me with the problem," Tilly said. "I thought I could go home and fix my daughter. But in reality, I was the one aiding the problem."

Tilly is a facilitator in the Spouse, Family, Friends of Addicts program, part of the LDS Addiction Recovery Program. She meets weekly with people whose loved ones are suffering from addiction.

Tilly has had a history with addicts in her family, including her father and ex-husband. But her path to helping others began with her daughter.

"Everything she did was one step ahead of her age group," Tilly said. "Her friends would start to date, and she would go after college boys."

Tilly tried relentlessly to show her daughter what was right and wrong during her high school years. By the time she was 18 years old, Tilly's daughter was off to a technical college in Utah County and the rebellion, which included drug and alcohol abuse, was in full force. Tilly described it as "letting her out of a cage."

Within a few years, her daughter married a man who, according to Tilly, "was worse off than her." They took their drug-addicted lifestyle to Chicago. Her daughter returned home when the marriage failed, and Tilly believed she could help by giving her daughter whatever she needed to get her life back on track.

"I wanted to pay for everything and not have her feel the pain that what she did was bad," Tilly said.

As Tilly filled the role of co-dependent, it started to affect other relationships in her life, including her marriage to her second husband. Tilly realized that sometimes cutting off a loved one is necessary in their steps towards recovery.

"It was like divorcing my child," Tilly said. "It was the worst time in my life. I was putting all of her needs before my husband."

With stricter ground rules, Tilly had to kick her daughter out, hoping she could live a better life.

Tilly began attending the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, where she was introduced to families dealing with the same issues.

"It's where I needed to be, and we have had huge success," Tilly said. "We use a different manual than the LDS Addiction Recovery program and we have around 30 to 40 people a class."

Although her daughter had some rough patches once on her own, including a DUI and a reckless driving ticket, Tilly believes she has handled the responsibility well in recent years.

"The more independent I become, the more she can live her life," Tilly said. "She's happy and she is finally seeing good choices can breed a good life."

Tilly continues to help people through the program and always has a manual on hand or in her car.

"If parents want a difference, they need to look at themselves and set boundaries," Tilly said. "The process still hurts, but I have the tools that help me get through it."

email: mmckinlay@desnews.com