Original working title: Hunger to Help: Sorting Extraordinary Legacies
Current favorite working title: What the Others Are Here for (And What If I’m One of Them?)
A memoir of recovery from codependency, both personal and familial.
Both Buddhism and Christianity teach us to “help others.” Recovery work for codependency teaches us to focus on self-care and “stop bothering everyone else.” Barbara West lives at the intersection of these seemingly paradoxical imperatives.
The book opens with her mysterious breakdown in a movie theater as the credits for Edward Scissorhands are rolling. Over the course of thirty years, only-parenting a son, she demonstrates how our imperfect impulses to help so often hurt others and ourselves. Starting from a family of radical Christians, she moves through apprenticeship in her adopted Buddhist lineage, and lands in the folding chair rooms of 12-Step Recovery.
Having been raised to save the world, she learns to save herself.
This may be turning into a memoir-in-essays. See recently published for a list of excerpts.