Your loved one is an addict, but are you helping or hurting? These 5 signs let you know if the relationship is codependent – and what you can do to help.
Would you be surprised to learn that addiction is a group problem, not an individual issue?
Addiction affects a whole social group, be that a family or a circle of friends. Not just the addict.
And if you’re prone to codependency, it can bring out the worst in you.
Over 15 million adults over the age of 18 suffer from alcohol use disorder in the US alone. That means a lot of other people being affected by that form of addiction.
So read on to learn 5 signs that you may be in a codependent relationship.
1) You maintain you’re not the one with the problem
Do you find yourself saying things like “I’m not the one with the problem”? Or “I’ll be fine when she gets herself better”?
Denial is a sign of codependency. You’re trying to externalize the problem by placing it elsewhere instead of just facing it.
You can’t access help until you acknowledge that there’s a problem. But you’re never on your own in this situation.
Services like Prescott House Alcohol Treatment Center can help you by providing the help your loved one needs. You don’t have to be their sole source of support.
2) You think everything will be okay if you can just help them quit their addiction
It’s only natural to want to help. And it’s a logical assumption that if you change their addictive behavior, the addiction goes away.
But if you keep trying to control the behaviors without acknowledging the problem, you’re not helping.
Only the addict can change their behavior for the better, not you.
Recognize that it’s only natural to worry about an addict. But you can’t put the addiction the center of your relationship.
3) You feel responsible for solving your loved one’s problems
You can see your loved one has a problem. Maybe they acknowledge it themselves, or maybe they think everything is under their control.
But if you’re codependent, you’re convinced the addict needs your help. They can’t function without you.
So you might provide a stream of advice that you expect to be followed. And you might feel unappreciated if the advice isn’t taken.
You need to step back. The addict is responsible for their addiction, not you.
4) You take everything personally
If your loved one lapses, you’ll rush to blame yourself. If only you’d been good enough, they would have stayed sober.
Or maybe you worry that you put them in a position that drove them to relapse.
Not everything that your loved one does is a reflection on you. You have to allow them some agency in their own decision making.
Your need for control makes you take on responsibility that you don’t need to shoulder.
40-60% of those treated for drug addiction relapse. That’s compared to 50-70% of asthma patients who suffer a relapse.
It’s a medical condition. It’s not your fault.
5) You put your loved one’s needs before your own
You never express your own thoughts or feelings. You focus exclusively on the addict’s emotions.
Does that sound familiar?
Putting your own needs first may make you feel selfish. Or you may be so concerned with winning your partner’s approval that you always put them first.
Either way, it’s a dangerous situation. Because you’re actually enabling the addiction.
You feel needed because your loved one can’t cope without you. But the addict maintains their habit because they feel they need to indulge because it’ll keep you around.
Don’t panic if you recognize yourself in these signs.
It’s time for you to seek help for your own addiction.
Recovery from codependency needs you to work on detachment. It sounds harsh, but don’t let the name fool you.
It doesn’t mean you need to detach from the person – far from it.
Instead, you need to separate the addict and their behavior. Respond to your loved one – not their addictive tendencies.
Just make sure you seek support. Both for their addiction and yours.
But together you can do this.