A Look At Addiction and Codependency
Dominic NicosiaJanuary 8, 2020
Updated February 14, 2023.
When Prince penned his iconic love song “I Would Die for You,” it’s safe to assume that he was exaggerating. For many people, however, these sentiments and possibilities are far too real, as are their struggles with addiction and codependency.
It’s a reasonable assumption that many of us may not be willing to literally die for the person we love. While love addiction is real and thriving, the majority of people struggle with less present attachment issues. However, the reality is that it’s far too easy and common to routinely put others’ needs ahead of our own.
Many toxic and dysfunctional relationships occur because of codependency. Codependency is defined as excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner.
Typically, this partner will require support on account of an illness, drug addiction, or other unhealthy living habits. The sad truth is that this condition will often lead to or perpetuate drug or alcohol abuse.
Another Valentine’s Day draws near, and many are concentrating on the presence of love and relationships in their lives. In the spirit of healthy love and relationships, we think it’s worth exploring the relationship between addiction and codependency.
Common Origins of Codependency
Codependent relationships can start in multiple ways. Some start when one person internalizes feelings that they’re not good enough and the other, wittingly or unwittingly, leverages the fear that they’re going to leave to get what they want. This is more common in romantic relationships than familial, but it can also occur in families or within platonic friendships. Other common causes of codependency include, but are not limited to:
- Childhood Trauma
- Anxiety or Depression
- Fear of Abandonment
The reality of codependency is that the feelings that drive it generally start in childhood. Addressing these issues and identifying how they’ve led to codependency can take a long time and should be guided by an experienced and qualified mental health professional through therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and others.
The Different Kinds of Codependent Relationships
While they might arguably be the most common, romantic relationships aren’t the only kind of codependent relationship. Some people struggling with addiction may find that their family members or friends are enabling their behaviors.
For many people, their codependency may exist in a parent-child relationship. Some parents may see their child battling addiction and believe that their love and support can fix the situation. Other people might see their parents struggling and believe that they must take care of them at all costs.
Any kind of relationship can turn codependent without healthy boundaries and a sense of self-worth from both parties. Someone caught in a codependent relationship will feel unnecessary stress and pressure that shouldn’t be present in their relationship.
Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship
It’s fairly obvious that no two relationships are the same. What may be a safe and healthy relationship for one couple could be disastrous for another.
Relationships are as varied and unique as the people in them. Generally speaking, however, there are consistent habits that are indicative of a healthy or unhealthy relationship. So what are the symptoms of a codependent relationship?
Each individual’s journey toward co-occurring addiction and codependency is unique. However, as with anything unhealthy, there are often patterns of behavior that point toward codependency. Some of the primary indicators of a codependent relationship include:
- When your sense of purpose and identity is intertwined with your loved one’s happiness
- Not being able to say no to your partner, no matter how difficult or inconvenient it may be for you
- Rationalization or hiding your loved one’s substance use and lifestyle troubles
- Obsessive preoccupations with the opinions of your loved one and of others in general
- Feeling trapped or suffocated within a relationship because of guilt, obligation, or validation
- Staying silent to avoid an argument or making your loved one angry
If any or all of these issues are present in your relationship, it’s possible that you struggle with codependency. Those in codependent relationships constantly make excuses for their partner’s behavior and enable them in a variety of other ways. For those dealing with addiction and codependency, this can be a fatal mistake.
Should I Involve My Loved One in My Treatment?
The short answer is yes, but it’s complicated. The degree to which your loved one will be involved in your treatment will vary based on factors like the specific dynamics of your relationship, the impact they’ve had on your life, and, frankly, your safety.
Sometimes codependency takes root because one member of the relationship is overtly manipulative and may use the currency of affection or stability to their advantage. They may even try to tell you that you don’t “need” therapy and that you can work it out yourselves.
Other times, however, it’s helpful, and even crucial, for your partner or loved one to be involved in your care because they can grow with you and understand how they can support you in your treatment and ongoing recovery. Very often, this is about two people learning and growing together to establish healthy relationship dynamics.
Addressing Addiction and Codependency in Treatment
When an individual suffers from simultaneous addiction and codependency, their addiction may be tied to their relationship. However, addiction always becomes an issue that needs its own level of intervention.
At Recovery Unplugged, we focus on using music as a catalyst for a life in recovery. Our comprehensive rehab, group therapy, individual counseling, and family therapy is designed to address a variety of issues related to addiction. What we want is to help participants address the root causes of their addictions and codependent behavior.
During their time in treatment and rehab, our clients are given the resources to address their addiction recovery and codependency. Our goal is to give clients the tools to manage their behaviors after treatment, especially with the power of music.
The cycle of addiction and codependency ensnares thousands of people. If you discover that you’re in a codependent relationship that is linked to substance use, we’re here for you. Reach out to Recovery Unplugged today.
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