Drug and alcohol addictions affect more than just the addicts themselves; everyone around them is affected, as well. This circle of influence plays an important and instrumental role in either enabling the drug or alcohol addiction or or encouraging recovery. And the difference between being loving and encouraging and becoming codependent can be a fine line.
What is Codependency?
A codependent is someone who has developed an extreme dependency on another person. Codependents are often spouses, children or other relatives of the addict. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), “codependents become codependent because they have learned to believe that love, acceptance, security, and approval are contingent upon taking care of the addict in the way the addict wishes.” Symptoms of a Codependent Person:
- Judge themselves harshly
- Takes on the shortcomings of others
- Constant need for approval
- Does not feel empathy for themselves
- Continuous feelings of guilt
- Minimizes personal achievements and talents
- Personal criticism makes them feel scared, shame or embarrassed
- Tolerates hurtful behavior
Codependents take on the needs and problems of the other person and develop a very high need for approval and affection. It is important to determine if any of the addict’s support group is codependent because codependency frequently leads to denial and enabling actions.
The Problem: Codependency Leads to Enabling
Codependents look kind and giving, but they seek out and enjoy relationships with people they see as victims. They take unrealistic responsibility for others’ actions and their acts of kindness are a result of their belief that they can manipulate the addict to bring about positive change. In an effort to deal with the addict’s destructive behaviors, they have developed harmful behaviors of their own. Codependency can be detrimental to recovery because the codependent’s actions unintentionally help maintain the addict’s destructive behavior. Many codependents also move from unintentional actions to enabling. Instead of helping the addict confront their addiction, they will make excuses for them and either directly or indirectly encourage them to continue the substance abuse.
Do What’s Best for Them
Being a family member or friend of someone with an alcohol or drug addiction can be difficult; you want them to know they are loved. But it is important to remember that the most loving thing you can do for an addict is encourage them to get help. Support the person, not the addiction. Encourage your friend or loved one to seek a medical detox program that will help remove them from their debilitating drug or alcohol addiction. Let them know you will be there for them every step of the way and be ready to hold them accountable. You or your loved one can get help from the caring medical professionals at Gallus Detox. Contact us online today or call 855-338-6929.