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What is Co-Dependency and How it can Affect One’s Addiction?
Drug addiction is a complex and progressive condition that takes root from a variety of familial, environment and biological factors. When someone enters treatment for addiction, there are some factors that can complicate the recovery process. One of the most common obstacles that can complicate recovery is codependency.
This article will give you a better understanding of codependency. In addition, this article will describe in greater detail the typical symptoms found in codependent people. Additionally, you will learn why you should get treatment for codependency if it is present in your or a loved one’s addiction. If you need further help in understanding codependency and available treatment options, call Hawaii Island Recovery toll-free today.
In layman’s terms, codependency occurs when one person puts the needs and wants of another person over their own needs in a relationship. In this type of relationship the person that sacrifices their own needs takes on a caregiver role and becomes the primary decision-maker. Codependency can be found in friendships as well as intimate relationships.
Codependency in borne of a human’s innate nature to help loved ones in times of crisis. When a loved one or friends experiences a crisis, loved ones can and often will spare no expense in trying to get their loved ones help. While helping in this way this is admirable and full of good intentions, codependency can create feelings of helplessness and resentment. As a result, the codependent relationship turns dysfunctional and toxic over time.
In reality, a codependent relationship is akin to taking a person hostage. For those who are codependent, they want to help not out of pity, but to restore their own self-esteem and identity. While the codependent person feels better, they neglect their health and needs. Additionally, the action of a codependent person does nothing to address one’s addiction if that is present. In fact, codependent behavior enables and encourages and supports the unhealthy drug or alcohol habit or other behaviors.
The Relationship Between Codependency and Addiction
The relationship between codependency and drug addiction is complex. In this type of relationship, the person who assumes the caretaker role will engage in enabling behaviors. These behaviors involve attempts to fix or solve the other’s problems. Examples include paying for one’s rent, groceries, or covering for their destructive behavior. When these actions are done in a codependent relationship, the person who is addicted never faces the consequences of their actions.
In a codependent relationship when addiction is involved, the “caretaker” experiences great harm. They will do anything and everything in their power keeps the relationship alive even when they are enabling. Not only does this come at the expense of the person addicted to drugs, there is a greater price that the “caregiver” feels because they are neglecting their own physical and psychological needs.
It is not uncommon for those in the “caregiver” role to come families with a history of substance abuse. In these cases, the codependent person was forced into a caregiver role at an early age. Additionally, those who are codependent may have undiagnosed mental health issues. As a result, they may resort to using drugs and alcohol themselves.
The Core Symptoms of Codependency
The core symptoms of codependency are marked with a profound sense of powerlessness. Symptoms include poor self-esteem, an inability to set healthy boundaries, not accepting their own wants and needs, and ignoring reality. Those who are codependent have a sense of value that fluctuates. Those who are codependent base their worth on what others tell them. This also includes their sense of self-esteem and confidence as a person.
Is co-dependency bad? Should it be treated?
Yes! Co-dependency is a self-defeating habit. It is an unhealthy coping mechanism used by an individual habitually in order to survive. What does this mean? It simply suggests that you take care of another person in a way which is not healthy for both of you. As a result, you cannot maintain a functional relationship anymore; the addict’s or the alcoholic’s addiction worsens and your health, finances and personal relationships crumble.
You’re a co-dependent if you support the person’s addiction by giving them money to buy drugs or alcohol, bail them out when they’re in trouble because of substance abuse, and do anything that would shield them from facing the consequences of their drug or alcohol habit.
People with co-dependency are hostage takers. Here’s why…
Here’s the harsh reality-if you’re a co-dependent, you are taking the addict as the hostage while feeling that you’re the victim. You want to help them not because you pity them, but to restore your emotional losses, increase your self-esteem and to build your identity. But in the end, you may end up smashing your bank account, neglecting your health and needs, and putting the addict’s health in danger because your acts encourage and support the unhealthy drug or alcohol habit.
Here are the five core symptoms of co-dependency according to an expert…
Pia Melody, an expert on co-dependence and recovery said that a co-dependent has the following symptoms of powerlessness: poor self-esteem; inability to set boundaries in dealing with others; ignoring reality; not acknowledging or accepting responsibility for own needs and wants; and inability to express and experience reality moderately.
Pia explained that co-dependent has a fluctuating sense of value. You depend on the universe to tell you about your value. There is no self-love because of who you are but your worth depends on what people tell you. “The most important symptom (of co-dependency) is that people do not esteem themselves from within and they’re dependent on other people to esteem them. So they are experiencing fluctuating self-esteem and it fluctuates between feeling less man and better man”.
What makes you a co-dependent?
There are various reasons why a person becomes a co-dependent. One of the causes of co-dependency is growing up with or living with people suffering from addiction or alcoholism or with co-dependent loved ones. These homes create an environment that discourages talking, feeling and trusting. On the contrary, it promotes rejection that leads a person to develop self-defeating habits to avoid the addict’s or alcoholic’s anger.
Having a drug addict or an alcoholic at home is like living in a home full of stress and anxiety in every corner. You don’t know when the bomb will drop so you try to yield to whatever will be best for you that is to keep quiet, follow without objection and hide your own feelings and opinions about it. You do not impose rigid rules anymore to avoid escalating anxiety and stress.
What’s the difference between a healthy family and a co-dependent family?
There is freedom to say what you want to say and to feel what you really feel in a healthy family. But in a family where members suffer from co-dependency, you always guard your mouth from saying or doing things that can hurt the person with addiction, even if it means suppressing your feelings, thwarting your own belief systems and supporting their unhealthy habits just to avoid situations like fighting or physical and emotional abuse. Oftentimes, people with co-dependency lose themselves in the process, forget who they really are and become unwilling supporters of the drug addict or alcoholic in the family.
Can a non-alcoholic or non-drug addict influence your co-dependency?
Yes. Anyone can suffer from co-dependency whether you are sober or addicted to drugs or alcohol as long as you deal with these four types of people-an a co-dependent parent or spouse; an addicted child, parent or spouse; and someone whose child or spouse is an alcoholic or drug addict.
Getting Professional Help for Codependent Behaviors
In order to help those addicted to drugs and alcohol (as well as other behaviors), there must be an acknowledgment of codependency and that it exists in a relationship. Once that is addressed and confronted, people who suffer from codependency can get the help they desperately need.
Hawaii Island Recovery has a special individualized program for non-addicted individuals with co-dependency as well as co-dependents with addictions. The treatment staff shall start with a pre-medical approval/assessment to determine your physical and psychological needs. Afterward, the staff will work with you in creating an individualized treatment plan that will meet your needs. There are consultations with addiction professionals (for people with addiction), medical management (if necessary), and process counseling and group therapy to help you deal with trauma and behavioral issues.
Hawaii Island Recovery offers holistic and adjunctive therapies to relax your mind and body through massage, reiki and acupuncture. You can also swim with wild dolphins and let go of your fears and discover yourself in the process! You can also take care of horses during the equine therapy sessions.
Co-dependency treatment also focus on your ability to take care of your own needs and wants, that’s why HIR offers fitness consultations and personal trainings, group outings, and other recreational activities. There are also 12-Step support groups for alcoholics an addict’s and their loved ones, family education and support and recovery coaching as well as relapse prevention classes.