Codependence and Addiction
Many addicts and alcoholics- and their family members- are familiar with the combination of codependence and addiction. Codependence occurs when someone is unable to have boundaries and relies on another person for their sense of well-being.
For family members of addicts and alcoholics, this can mean enabling addictive behavior. For people in active addiction and recovery, codependence can be a road of use and even relapse. Addressing codependence and addiction is vital to achieving long-term recovery.
Signs of Codependence
Codependence can show up in many forms. It can be hard to identify, especially when someone is in active addiction. The stress, fear, and difficulty of addiction can sometimes overshadow codependence, but it’s essential to recognize it because codependence and addiction can be a deadly combination. Some signs that you might be struggling with codependence may include giving up significant obligations to tend to someone else’s needs. Codependence tendencies include struggling to function without knowing that the other person is feeling okay and content.
Also, having emotions based on another person’s feelings. For example, if you have a great day, and your partner, child, or friend is in a bad mood, your mood might shift to match theirs. Additionally, exhibiting enabling behaviors, such as the inability to say no. As a result, codependent individuals experience feelings of being resentful for all of the support shown for the other person, but not being able to stop. Alternatively, extreme guilt and anxiety are also universal emotions experienced by those struggling with codependency.
These are just a few of the signs of codependence. The bottom line is that if your emotions, behaviors, and thoughts rely on someone else, and you find yourself neglecting your own needs to tend to the other person, you might be struggling with codependence.
Why Are Codependence and Addiction a Dangerous Combination?
For addicts and alcoholics in recovery, codependence can be a vital stumbling block. In a codependent relationship, the other person becomes the most important thing. As a result, this can lead to skipping meetings to spend time with them or, in extreme cases, relapsing when the relationship ends or if the other person starts using drugs again. To maintain recovery, addicts and alcoholics must balance their relationships with their program.
For loved ones of addicts and alcoholics, codependence can have a significant impact on the addict and the loved one. For example, codependence can breed resentment and anger. If you find yourself enabling the addict or alcoholic, you may experience a build-up of sadness, fear, anger, resentment, and lack of connection. These emotions could impact every aspect of life if they treated. Codependence and enabling can also fuel addiction. If you can’t say no to an addict or alcoholic, you can unintentionally support or fund their addiction. For the family and the addict/alcoholic to recovery, both codependence and addiction need proper attention.
How to Recover from Codependence
For addicts and alcoholics in recovery, there are several options for coping with and reducing codependence. For example, the twelve-step program Codependents Anonymous offers mutual support and accountability to help members establish healthy relationships. Individual, and even couple’s therapy, can also help deal with issues like codependence, resentment, and unhealthy balances in relationships.
Family members and loved ones often face difficulty with codependence when a loved one enters treatment. Many desire new, healthier relationships, but don’t have the tools or support they need to create new habits. Thus, at Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we offer a specific, in-depth family program.
Generally, this includes contact with our family support liaison, family therapy sessions, and regular contact with therapists throughout your loved one’s treatment. Thus, our goal is to help the whole family recover and move into honest relationships. If you’re looking for a family-focused treatment experience, please give us a call today.