Watching a loved one helplessly spiral downward from substance addiction is extremely taxing on an emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial level. Often times, the loved one will intentionally or unintentionally take advantage of the people around him/her to fuel the addiction. On the other hand, the addict’s family, friends, or SO (significant other) will knowingly or unknowingly enable the addiction in return out of love, worry, or pity for the addict. This is what is known as a classic codependent relationship.
Codependency is extremely toxic in nature, and it can be a very difficult cycle to break. As time goes on, the loved ones begin to see enabling the addiction as an acceptable alternative to watching him/her suffer the consequences of the lifestyle.
These situations are challenging for codependents (the loved ones of an addict) because they are caught between their compassion for the person in question and the illusion of helping him/her via enabling behavior. In reality, the addict is not getting any closer to recovery.
Symptoms of a Codependent Relationship with an Addict
Even in blatant situations where codependency is alive and well, it can be difficult to tell “from the inside” whether it is occurring or not. Common signs of codependency are as follows:
- Feeling moved to take responsibility for your loved one
- Feeling the need to “rescue” or “protect” your loved one
- Feeling diregarded and hurt when your efforts are not recognized
- Feeling as though “enabling” is the best possible solution given the situation
- Feeling sickened by the idea of your loved one facing the consequences of his/her lifestyle
- Having a history with codependence and/or unhealthy relationships
- Desiring control over others
- Fearing the idea of being alone
Examples of Addiction Enablement
The chances are high you may not even know you’re currently enabling destructive behavior. However, coming to this realization is the 1st step in correcting the unhealthy relationship. These are just a few examples of things codependents commonly do to “protect” their loved ones:
- Assuming the addict’s responsibilities (paying their bills, raising their children, running their errands)
- Sweeping the addict’s mistakes and accidents under the rug
- Accepting the addict’s excuses for using drugs
- Helping the addict escape financial hardships related to the drug use
- Cleaning the addict’s living space
Who Suffers From Codependent Relationships?
Addiction can cause both the addict and his/her loved ones to do things that are totally out of character. Likewise, addiction and codependency are not biased in the types of people they can affect.
Codependency actually requires very little to manifest from substance abuse. All that is often needed is a struggling user and a circle of family and friends who want to see the best for their loved one.
If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction and/or codependency, we can help. Contact us today to jump start the recovery process and begin your journey to a new life.