Handling Codependency Issues Between Friends & Family
Drug and alcohol addiction is a devastating problem affecting millions of Americans. Addiction is a disease that affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. If you are one of many people who have an addicted loved one, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are also resources and coping mechanisms that could make a big difference to you and your family.
Introduction - Be the Change You Wish To See
It’s key to understand through education and experience why addiction is not so easy to stop. Addiction is such a powerful disease, and it is complex and complicated, particularly for those who are not addicted themselves. It’s understandable if you struggle to grasp what addiction is actually like day in and day out. If this is you, try not to beat yourself up about it. Remember that what you’re witnessing and going through is hard, and you’re going to have emotions about it.
Perhaps one of the most difficult things is seeing patterns of codependency. It may be that other family members or close friends are enabling your loved one’s drug use. By being codependent, it’s keeping them from seeking help that could save their life and improve their future. For you, this seems like a frustrating, never-ending cycle involving multiple people you’re close to and care a lot about.
The truth of the matter is that codependency issues are a large part of the reason why people stay addicted. While there is both healthy and unhealthy codependency, it’s crucial to be aware of how one’s behavior may affect others. If your addicted loved one is being held back or even enabled by a codependent relationship, you can help. It’s outside of their control, but you have the power to be a better example for them.
In order to appropriately address the situation, you’ll need to embrace your inner leader. You can be a terrific example to your family and friends. Sometimes, people don’t realize they are “loving someone to death” until it’s too late. This is when you can take control of the situation and help not only yourself, but those you’re closest to.
What’s The Correlation between Addiction and Codependency
Oftentimes, cases of drug and alcohol addiction include codependency. This is defined as excessive emotional and/or psychological reliance on a partner due to an illness or addiction. Codependency can be caused by a combination of several factors, including trauma, environment, upbringing, mental health and more. Those who lived through an abusive or tumultuous childhood or relationship may experience codependency. Sadly, these dysfunctional relationships can lead to one’s downfall.
Unhealthy patterns of codependency addiction include buying drugs or alcohol for the person and participating in these destructive activities together. Doing drugs or drinking when a loved one upsets them is another sign. In some situations, an addicted loved one may be encouraged to keep using, rather than going to rehab. If a person says their loved one is fine, or at least they aren’t hurting anyone, they’re encouraging addiction codependency.
Essentially, codependency puts up roadblocks in one’s journey to get sober and live a better life. Codependency can promote and prolong addiction, as they go hand in hand and can lead to dire consequences. While it’s okay to lean on loved ones, addiction codependency occurs when a person can’t seem to live without another. Their destructive behaviors are intertwined in this relationship.
It will often take people multiple attempts to get clean and stay sober. Addicts need recovery from both addiction and codependency issues, as these problems need to be treated clinically by medical professionals. With expert medical attention and a strong support system in rehab, your loved one will be more successful and sober. The more resources they have, the better. They will only get such access to adequate care and help in a recovery center, not in a codependent relationship.
Urge Your Loved Ones to Get Help
When you have two people with dysfunctional personality traits that worsen together with unclear boundaries, it’s a recipe for codependency. A person suffering from addiction may not be aware of how far they’ve spiraled and how unhealthy their relationships are. This can lead to disaster, so it’s up to you to speak openly and honestly about what you’re observing.
By speaking to your loved ones about codependency, you’ll be opening up the doors for more conversations and communication. You will need to explain how their codependent behavior is affecting them and your loved one. You should also talk about how you can see the negative consequences playing out in front of you. It’s crucial to approach this conversation with care, calmness, and conviction. Even though it will be hard, you need to remain strong and firm in your stance. This way, hopefully, you can breakthrough to your loved ones. Pointing them in the direction of a support group or professional rehabilitation center or guidance counselor can help, too. It’s easier for people to make a tough change if they have their options and resources clearly presented to them.
Follow These Steps to Break Unhealthy Patterns
Caring too much can become a disease, and it’s so beneficial to set a clear example for your loved one. In order to do that, you need to stop helping them all of the time. Whenever they are in trouble, you shouldn’t bail them out constantly. You need to realize that giving them money or a safe space to stay enables their behavior. It’s the same with letting them do drugs or drink in your home. In a way, you must let them hit rock bottom on their own to open their eyes to their self-destruction.
Another way to break unhealthy patterns of codependency is to confront the problem head-on while establishing strict boundaries. The best way to love your family and friends suffering from addiction is, to tell the truth about their behavior. Sometimes, the harshest realities can make all the difference. It’s likely that your loved ones don’t fully comprehend how dangerous their habits are. You can be the one to help them see the light.
Treatment for Codependency Works
Lastly, going into therapy for codependency really does work. By treating codependency issues right alongside addiction, you’re able to get to the root of these behaviors. This also allows you to produce a better plan for the future. An intervention specialist can provide that middle ground to delve deep into one’s past. They’ll also help addicts understand why they are so reliant on certain substances and a particular person. By treating both addiction and codependency at the same time, there’s more room for growth, self-reflection and sober success.
If you’re watching a loved one struggle with addiction and codependency, remember that you are not alone. Call the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on 1-800-662-HELP today to get more resources. There’s hope on the horizon for you and the people you love and care about the most.
Sources Esposito, LCSW, L. (2016, September 19). 6 Signs of a Codependent Relationship. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anxiety-zen/201609/6-signs-codependent-relationship