The Role of Codependency in Addiction
Codependency is sometimes referred to as a relationship addiction. Even the tightest interpersonal ties deteriorate when substance abuse becomes an addiction.
Codependence and addiction frequently occur simultaneously because it can be difficult for someone suffering from addiction to form and maintain healthy relationships. It’s often impossible to tell which disorder emerged first because each one feeds the other. It may be simpler to recognize when it’s time to get treatment if you have a better grasp of the fundamental reasons for addiction and codependency.
How Codependency Developed
Early in addiction treatment history, a behavioral pattern arose that revealed codependency. While alcoholics sought help from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), their partners sought help from Al-Anon, a non-therapeutic peer organization. This treatment paradigm showed that the spouses of those struggling with alcohol abuse shared some common qualities and that those spousal relationships can affect the individual’s recovery.
Many spouses “need” their partners to be hooked. Caring for them in their addiction state may give them a sense of purpose and worth. Making their partner feel better when they are inebriated or acting inappropriately might make them feel valued.
This can allow a spouse to overlook the person’s addiction problem and continue to let them drink or use drugs. When the word “codependent” was coined it was meant to reflect a relationship having a reciprocal dependence on each other’s dysfunction.
Codependency and Addiction
The fact that codependency and addiction can coexist adds to the perplexing link between them. Codependency is frequently discovered by someone in recovery as one of their underlying difficulties. Substance abuse and dependency result in feelings of guilt and shame, which can lead to codependency.
Unless you try to prevent or conceal your feelings, they will dissipate over time. If shame is allowed to fester, it may be a very harmful emotion. Shame has the potential to compound and build cognitive patterns that lead you to act in self-destructive ways. Shame can take the form of some of the following beliefs:
- I am not a good person.
- I am uniquely flawed.
- I am the failure my mother always warned me I’d become.
- I am not genuine.
- I haven’t earned any happiness.
- I don’t matter.
- No one loves me because I’m unlovable.
Shame is a harmful emotion that causes dread and anxiety in those who experience it. People who are ashamed of themselves might sabotage their relationships and even their careers.
Someone who experiences shame may be hesitant to communicate what they mean because they lack confidence in their thoughts and opinions. They can point the finger at others rather than take responsibility for their mistakes while simultaneously apologizing for everything to avoid any potential conflict.
As you try to hide from yourself, shame can develop into addiction. Shame also results in:
- Low self-esteem
- Dysfunctional communication
Codependent Relationships and Addiction
Recognizing codependency in a relationship might aid with one’s addiction recovery. Codependency and addiction, like addiction and depression, must be addressed concurrently to reestablish a healthy connection.
Here are some codependency warning indicators:
- Controlling with words or deeds
- Highly emotional reactions
- Desiring to please others
- Needing to fix someone else’s life
- Weak or non-existent sense of boundaries
- Always taking the blame
Safe Ways to Help Your Partner
It is possible to assist a loved one struggling with addiction without making each other codependent in the process. The goal is to assess how you assist. Before you can safely assist your loved one in overcoming addiction, you must acknowledge the following facts:
#1 Addiction is a problem that causes people to say and do things that they would never do otherwise. Your partner hasn’t changed; they’re simply under the power of an illness that has taken over their mind. Nothing they do or say should be taken too personally.
#2 You didn’t start the addiction and you won’t be able to stop it. Addiction occurs for a variety of reasons, the majority of which have to do with brain chemistry and behavior. The actions of your partner are ultimately their own responsibility.
#3 Addiction is a disease that cannot be cured. Addiction necessitates professional help. Your love and support can be beneficial to the recovery process, but you must enlist the help of professionals. It’s not up to you to keep the addiction a secret. Talking about it with the proper people can help you come up with a solution that is both swift and long-lasting.
Maintaining good relationship boundaries requires separating yourself from your partner’s addiction. Codependency can develop as those lines blur and you become overly invested in the problem and potential remedies. To ensure that you remain impartial, you must continually evaluate your desire to assist.
Addiction and codependency can lead you down a path that is difficult to traverse alone. Contact Mountain Peak Recovery for additional information and assistance with these two conditions. Allow us to answer your questions concerning codependent relationships and substance abuse and to accompany you on your path to recovering your life. To take the first steps toward a better and more rewarding life, contact us today at (801) 824-8829.