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Codependency in a drug abusing relationship is characterized by the sober partner fixated on helping the addict meet their needs, to the detriment of their own. It’s a family issue that is very common, fueled by the emotional fact that is difficult for anyone to watch a loved one spiral out of control. As the codependent partner focuses on helping the drug addicted partner fulfill life’s duties, it is quite often that they actually enable the continued use of drugs and irresponsible behavior.
People who engage in codependent behavior may be someone with low self-esteem. But, quite often the personality traits are those of a people-pleaser or even a person who is a caretaker by nature. But one thing is certain, the danger of a codependent drug abusing relationship, is that it is unhealthy for both the addict and the loved one. The lack of healthy boundaries allows the addict to engage in manipulative behaviors. And for the codependent, they can become addicted to a “hero” mentality and may begin to feel responsible for the other person’s life.
Drug Use Fuels Codependency
As drug addiction or alcoholism begins to take its toll on a person’s life, they need more and more help from the codependent partner. Often, the relationship becomes abusive, either mentally, emotionally, or physical – as the drug uses is as dependent on the partner in a way that is similar to their drug of choice. The increased drug or alcohol use will fuel the codependent relationship as the addict experiences the consequences of using:
- Losing financial income or job creates a need for money to buy drugs
- When they fail to take care of bills, they need someone to help pay them or let me live with them
- If their driver’s license is suspended, they need someone to drive them to work
- After friends and family turn away, they rely on the codependent relationship even more
Soon, the family dynamic is focused on the addict and the codependent relationship. There is a serious risk of the codependent developing addictions. The codependent’s healthy relationomships may begin to break down, and the burden of caring for both themselves and the addict will take a heavy toll on their life.
Breaking the Cycle of Codependency
A codependent person will need to seek help for themselves, usually Al-Anon, or a drug rehab center will offer group meetings to deal with living independent of a drug user that shares the home. It is critical that a codependent begins to practice self-care to begin breaking the cycle of codependency. Other helpful measures include:
- Setting realistic expectations for yourself – it is impossible to do everything for both persons
- Take the initiative to do more things by yourself, even going to the movies or dinner alone.
- Practice setting boundaries, and learn to say “no”, which may be difficult but very necessary
- Get help to deal with any past trauma to start your journey to emotional well-being.
Bay Area Recovery is able to help family members make intervention on behalf of a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. We Can Help You Plan, Stage, and Carry Out an Intervention to get both partners in a codependent drug abusing relationship the help they need.
See also: How to Support a Person in Addiction