How to Free Yourself From a Codependent Relationship With An Addict
Are you in a codependent relationship with an addict? You may have heard about codependency, but what is it? In a nutshell, a codependent relationship is an addictive relationship where instead of being addicted to a substance, you are addicted to trying to “fix” or control a substance abuser. The problem is that you can’t control the behavior of anyone else; you can only control yourself.
Nonetheless, codependents, either consciously or unconsciously, believe that they can control, save and cure the addict if they just try hard enough or find the right approach. They may even feel responsible for their partner’s substance abuse, while in truth, addiction is a disease that can only be treated professionally. Under no circumstances can it be “cured” by another person, no matter how well-meaning or committed that person might be.
Someone Else’s Addiction Is Not Your Fault
Addicts are always looking for reasons to explain and justify their addictions. They may blame you and say that the things you do (or don’t do) cause them to drink and take drugs. They might even believe this to be true, although it’s not. If you were to walk out of that relationship right now, the addict would simply find other reasons to justify continued substance abuse.
Enabling Addictive Behavior Only Feeds The Addiction
In codependent relationships, the codependent partner actually helps the addicted partner to continue abusing drugs or alcohol. The non-drinking partner makes excuses for the addict’s behavior, believes his or her promises to quit, takes care of the addict when the addict can’t care for him or herself, and generally supports the drinking or drugging behavior while hoping it will get better or go away. Unfortunately, making it easier for an addict to use will only encourage the addict to keep using.
Consequences For Drinking And Drugging May Lead The Addict To Seek Help
Addicts and alcoholics most often seek treatment when they experiences consequences for their behavior. Consequences may include a DUI, getting fired from a job, spending time in jail, or losing loved ones. Ironically, the best and most loving thing you can do for an addict who refuses to seek help is to stop enabling the addiction and leave the relationship.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Codependent relationships are draining, exhausting, and unhealthy. When you are spending all your time being a caregiver and trying to control someone else, you have nothing left for yourself. While leaving the addict may not be enough to cause him or her to seek help, it’s a good idea to get some counseling or join a support group yourself. Al-Anon Family Groups have helped countless codependents to let go of the need to take care of and control others and move into happier, healthier lives. If the addict does decide to get treatment, you may wish to support his or her recovery by attending Al-Anon meetings while your partner attends AA meetings. This will help you and your loved on to establish a new relationship that’s based on recovery from addiction instead of on enabling an addiction.