Codependency Can Be Detrimental to Addiction Recovery
There are millions of people currently battling drug addiction and many of them also battle codependency.
Many have tried to quit unsuccessfully because they either lack support from their loved ones or…
It is their loved ones who enable them.
Enabling doesn’t usually happen intentionally.
It is often done accidentally and many people who do enable addicts have a problem with codependency.
It’s quite interesting how codependents require someone who needs their help…
And how they have an almost insatiable desire to have that person in their life no matter what the costs.
The combination of codependency and addiction can be detrimental.
Codependency & Addiction
Many people make the mistake of putting the blame of addiction fully on an addict.
People who have never suffered from an addiction claim that the addict chooses to do drugs and if they wanted to stop they could simply by making a decision to quit.
That isn’t always the case because addiction is a disease.
Quitting isn’t easy because the addiction is often physical, as well as mental.
Unfortunately, there are some people who are in codependent relationships with addicts who actually contribute to them staying addicted by being overly supportive of their addiction.
Believe it or not, there are times where you can be too supportive of an addict.
Giving them money to “pay their bills” when you know there is a good chance that the money is actually going to buy drugs is being too supportive.
Telling someone that you love and support them no matter what they do can actually be too supportive because it gives them leeway to continue to do drugs.
When people hear the term intervention, they often think that it can only be used when confronting an addict with their addiction, but that isn’t the case.
Interventions sometimes need to be held for those that are supporting an addict, as well.
People who don’t realize that they are in a codependent relationship with an addict sometimes need to be confronted with facts in order make changes that will actually help the addict get clean.
What is Codependency?
Codependency occurs when one person is dependent on another person just as much as that person is dependent on them.
It often occurs between a parent and a child but can occur in other relationships as well.
Parents often don’t want to see the negative sides of their child and will often overlook or downplay the facts because they want to believe that their child is wonderful in every way.
Parents who are codependent often need their child to need them.
They need to know that they still hold a valuable role in their lives and don’t realize that it’s actually doing more harm than good.
Signs of Codependency
There are many different signs to look for if you think that someone may be in a codependent relationship including:
- Completely selfless to the point of their own detriment
- Helps uncontrollably, often without even being asked to do so
- Feels that they know what’s best at all times even without any facts to back up their statements
- Who crosses boundaries without seeing any issues with their intrusion
- One who puts judgment on others who try to give helpful advice
- Who gets annoyed or frustrated when anyone attempts to correct their codependent behavior
- Makes excuses for the person with which they are in the codependent relationship
How Do People Become Codependent?
Codependency occurs for many different reasons.
Someone who is codependent on someone else often has emotional issues that they have not dealt with in the past.
Many people who are in codependent relationships had struggles in their childhood that made them feel that they have to go above and beyond in order to show someone that they care or love them.
This can lead to them putting the person before themselves to extreme measures.
There are some parents who are so codependent with their child that they will actually put themselves at risk of getting arrested by going to buy drugs for their child when they see them start to detox.
They want to do anything to help their child not feel pain and think that it is a way of showing their child how much they care.
Many people who are codependent have very low self-esteem.
They are very easily manipulated because the addict will know exactly what they can say and do to get the person to do their bidding.
This can lead to a very outrageous downward spiral for the person who is being manipulated.
There are many times when the person who is being controlled does things without even realizing that they are doing them.
This can happen when the addict has them convinced that they have made a change, are clean, or really want to get help without having any intention of doing so.
How Does Codependency Affect Addiction?
Codependency is detrimental to addiction because it creates an endless cycle for the people in the relationship.
The addict uses the person until their breaking point.
When the person finally snaps they are ready to force the addict to get help or threaten to kick them out of their lives.
The addict then makes the person feel guilty for even thinking those thoughts and brings them right back into their web and the whole cycle starts over again.
The cycle for codependency often repeats itself for many years and sometimes for generations throughout families.
If someone was raised by someone who was codependent, there is a good chance that they will be codependent too.
They don’t realize that they are enabling the person because they don’t realize that someone enabled them growing up.
It can be hard to support someone through addiction treatment when you think that you are providing them with the best care possible.
In order for someone to be able to stop participating in a codependent relationship they first need to identify that they are in one.
Interventions often help, but the people involved in the intervention need to make sure that it is done in the right way.
Many family members get frustrated with someone who supports an addict blindly because they feel that it is uncalled for and can’t understand how the person doesn’t recognize they are being used, lied to, or simply taken advantage of.
It’s best for loved ones to get together and gather evidence that can be shared with someone before holding an intervention for codependency.
The person needs to see specific instances where the addict took advantage of them in order to be able to finally accept the information that is presented to them.
Being overly emotional or losing control during the intervention could lead to the person shutting down and isolating themselves with the addict away from everyone else.
This won’t be helpful because it will leave the addict with the ability to manipulate the person even more than they already were without anyone knowing the extent of the manipulation that is taking place.
How Addiction Intervention & Treatment Can Help?
It’s important to do whatever it takes to get an addict into treatment to get help with their addiction, especially if they are in a codependent relationship. When they are in the treatment facility they will not be surrounded by people who support their addiction. They will learn how to set boundaries so that someone cannot help them get drugs, push them to use, or support the negative decisions that they make.
When someone is in a treatment facility they also learn about why they are dependent on someone else and how they may have manipulated the situation. In order for someone to be able to recover from addiction, they need to be able to overcome their physical and their mental addiction to the drugs.
Through counseling, the person learns why they started using the drugs and why they continue to use them.
They work to accept the poor decisions that they made during addiction.
Realizing just how these decisions affected others.
Seeing the reality of their codependent relationship and how it caused negative things to happen.
Addicts rarely intentionally hurt others.
Hopefully, they realize how much their addiction did hurt the people they love and they turn from their ways.
Seeking forgiveness is an important part of recovery.
It’s important to know that codependency results in enabling and needs to be addressed as quickly as possible so that the enabling can stop.
An enabler may need to go to a counselor to learn why they are an enabler.
They will have to learn how to stop engaging in the behavior.
The enabler may need to go to a counselor to learn why they allowed themselves to engage in the behavior.
Take our codependency quiz if you think that there is a chance that you may be enabling someone through a codependent relationship.
It will allow you to look at your relationships in a different way.
Finally, an outside perspective on your relationship could help you to see that you are being used, taken advantage, or are simply enabling someone.
Learning about what steps to take so that you are able to help your loved one get clean.
No matter what they choose to do, they must resolve to no longer enable them.
In early recovery, an addict is likely to still carry codependency issues they need to work through.
If they push forward, they will not only conquer their addiction, but they will learn to be healthier and overcome codependency.