Most folks understand that addiction is a lifelong disease and that everyone suffering from addiction needs the right kind of help to get clean and stay that way. However, not everyone realizes the role that relationships play in addiction. When we think about a person abusing drugs or alcohol, we tend to place all the blame on them.
The truth is some relationships form negative habits, and that can lead to the perpetuation of a person’s addiction. When people are in a relationship, and one person develops an addiction, it impacts both people in that relationship. Still, if one side does not realize the need for help and treatment, it can make addiction worse. When both parties in the relationship are completely dependent on each other for their total existence, this is what is known as a codependent relationship.
At My Recovery Source, we know that relationships and addiction are complicated and that each of these things impacts the other in some way. Only by recognizing the link between addiction and codependency is it possible to get someone the help they need and rebuild the relationship into a more positive situation for both parties.
My Recovery Source can help you find the best rehab near you, no matter your needs or goals.
What is Codependency?
Codependency in a relationship is defined as excessive emotional or physical reliance on a partner in a relationship. Sociology goes a step further and defines codependency as one who relies on a partner due to behavioral issues such as mental illness or addiction in which the supporting partner allows the dependent to continue their negative behavior. Essentially both partners in the relationship become dependent as one needs the other for constant support, and the other feels gratification and satisfaction for being needed.
The trouble with a codependent relationship is that it is not healthy for either party. The dependent party often engages in negative behavior while getting help from the supportive party and thus cannot take care of themselves. The supporting party, meanwhile, gets satisfaction and a feeling of self-worth from taking care of the dependent, and so they typically refuse to alter the relationship, even if the dependent is engaged in behavior that is hurting themselves or others.
What Are the Signs of a Codependent Relationship?
There are several signs that a relationship has become codependent. Certain behaviors from both partners can signal codependence.
For the dependent, they often have poor self-esteem, which in turn makes them feel as though they have a low sense of self-worth and cannot do things on their own. They may experience emotional outbursts of sadness and anger and feel as though they can’t do anything for themselves. They may have trouble making decisions for themselves, and this is what allows them to become dependent on another person.
The dependee in the relationship typically exhibits poor boundaries with people. They find themselves to be a caretaker and may even obsess over that fact. They may experience poor self-esteem as well, which triggers their obsession with caring for others as they need to feel needed as a form of validation.
Can Codependency Impact Addiction?
Codependency has a major effect on addiction. The reason that a person becomes completely dependent on another is tied directly to negative behavior. They become so involved in that behavior that they can no longer properly take care of themselves. In the case of addiction, addicts become hyper-focused on drug-seeking behavior and on doing the drugs they acquire. This makes them neglect self-care, which leads to dependence on others.
The dependee gets much of their self-worth and fulfillment from caring for the other person. They often have trouble forging other relationships because of the person they are caring for, and this makes it hard for them to break the cycle. To continue caring for the person, they will overlook drug abuse and the consequences of addiction, even going so far as to cover for the person and make excuses. This prolongs an addiction and makes it so that the addict cannot get the help they need.
How to Find Treatment For Drug Addiction and Codependency?
Once you realize that you are in a codependent relationship, it’s important to take the steps necessary to get help for both yourself and your partner. Not only does the person with the addiction need professional help to get clean and sober, but the relationship needs help to break the cycle of dependence. My Recovery Source is here to help you find the types of treatment you need for both the relationship and the addiction. By taking one of our assessments we can help match you with the treatment and other services you need in your area. We have partnerships with service providers in several states, so we work to find a treatment that works for your specific needs at a facility near you. Don’t struggle alone, contact us to get the help you need today.