When Prince penned his now iconic love hit “I would Die for You”, it’s safe to assume that he was taking certain hyperbolic liberties. For many people, however, these sentiments are far too real, and while many of us may not be willing to literally “die” for the person we love, it’s far too easy and common to routinely put their needs ahead of our own. These toxic and dysfunctional relationships occurs through what is known as “codependency”. Codependency is defined as excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one who requires support on account of an illness or addiction, and a condition that lead to or perpetuates drug or alcohol abuse. As another Valentine’s Day draws near, and many are concentrating more than usual on the presence or absence of love and relationships in their lives, it is worth exploring the relationship between addiction and codependency.
Signs You’re in A Codependent Relationship
While each individual’s journey toward co-occurring addiction and codependency is unique, 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; inability to say no to your partners request for your time and energy, no matter how difficult or inconvenient it may be for you; rationalization or hiding your loved one’s substance use and associated legal and lifestyle troubles; obsessive preoccupations with the opinions of your loved one and of others, in general; a feeling of being trapped or suffocated within a relationship because of guilt, obligation or validation; and staying silent or constantly capitulating to avoid an argument or making your loved one angry.
Within the context of simultaneous addiction and codependency, a person may do things like give an addict money or rides to buy drugs, constantly make excuses for their behavior and enable them in a variety of other ways.
Addressing Addiction and Codependency in Treatment
When an individual suffers from simultaneous addiction and codependency, their addiction may be tied to their relationship; however, it winds up a separate issue that needs its own level of intervention. Comprehensive behavioral rehab, including group therapy, individualized counseling and family therapy can help participants address the root causes of their addictions while they get the acute medical help that they need for their substance use disorder through detox. The cycle of addiction and codependency ensnares thousands of people. If, during this Valentine’s Day, you discover that you’re in a codependent relationship that is linked to your substance use or that of your loved one, get the help you need.