In can be very difficult being the codependent in a relationship that revolves around drug and alcohol addiction, but there is hope. Although it may seem as if you are the only person in the world struggling with the issue, rest assured that you are not alone. However, in the codependent relationship, the importance of self-care is critical to getting through the difficult times.
Defining the Codependent
The codependent is in most cases a spouse, partner, parent, child or close relative. The codependent will make unhealthy behavior choices such as being controlling or passive, in an effort to influence the substance user. The codependent person will sacrifice their own self-care for their loved one with drug or alcohol addiction. Learning the difference between offering healthy support and providing harmful enabling is important not only the recovery of the loved one, but is also critical for the self-care of the person without substance abuse. Another important aspect is being able to help your loved one with drug or alcohol addiction without passing judgment, in a calm and loving manner. Many spouses, partners and parents become codependent when they fall into the “control trap” – meaning they try to use their role in the relationship to try to force the individual to stop using drugs and alcohol. When the threats go unheeded and the individual gives in to the substance user, it enables them to continue their addiction. Denial is an obstacle for the enabler or codependent. The desire for the loved one with substance abuse to stop using, to change or get better, or to be committed in recovery can be so overwhelming that the codependent will live in denial and reject that their belief is not valid.
Embrace the Recovery Process
A very beneficial and key element to self care is for the codependent to embrace the recovery process and to engage with others struggling with similar situations. Understanding how alcohol and drug abuse or addiction occurs and how to address the challenges that individuals with substance abuse and their spouses, partners or parents face can help to make the path less traumatic. Many find that participating in a 12-Step support group or non 12-Step group for families of addicts and alcoholics is very helpful. Families need support too! The reality is that when addiction is an issue – it includes every member of the family – and no member is immune to the effects. Relapse is another issue that is often times reoccurring for the addict and codependent. The fact is that relapse is part of drug addiction and alcoholism. The chance, at some point, that your loved one will relapse is very likely. Relapse is another topic where many codependents live in denial.
Breaking the Codependent Cycle
One way to break the codependent cycle is to set boundaries and to detach, which is also a form of self-care for the individual. In many cases, substance abuse is interlaced with mental illness which can make setting boundaries and detachment more difficult. On the one hand, the individual wants what is best for their loved one, but at the same time they cannot let go.
Keep a Journal
Journal writing is one avenue that individuals wanting to break the codependent cycle can use for expression and can also play a crucial role in self-care. Journaling gives the writer an opportunity to get it all out, without the physical blow-ups or confrontations that can occur when trying to reason with a drug addict or alcoholic. Keeping a journal can also help the individual work through their issues and how their enabling or denial has played a role in their loved ones’ substance abuse. If your loved one is ready to take a step toward recovery, Gallus Detox Center can help. Call us today to learn more about our facility and detox method. 855-338-6929.