Codependency is a term that describes a double-sided relationship in which one person enables and the other controls. This relationship can happen between just two people, such as in the husband/wife relationship. However, sometimes, it can be seen in the family unit as a whole. When a loved one has a drug or alcohol abuse problem, the spouse or family members will often respond by attempting to hide the fact from outsiders. Enablers believe they are acting in a loving way when they cover for the abuser. However, they are actually deepening the abuse habit by allowing this behavior. Read on to learn more about the signs of codependency and drug abuse and how you can overcome this unhealthy relationship.
Codependency And Drug Abuse
Given enough time, someone struggling with an addiction will become more focused on getting drugs and using them to neglect responsibilities. This neglect can cause significant damage to relationships, even the closest ones with family and friends. The codependent person(s) in the relationship will try to cover for the neglect by taking on added responsibilities themselves. They may take on extra work in the home, make excuses at the loved one’s place of employment, and lie to others when the abusing person does not show up for important events. This often creates a wedge between the enabler and the controller in the relationship.
Addiction Leads To High-Risk Behaviors
Addiction often leads to high-risk behaviors. For example, it can lead to a drug user driving while drunk or high. Someone abusing drugs may begin to associate with unsavory people or steal from loved ones to buy drugs and more. The codependent enabler will usually act in a couple of ways through this time:
- They may loan the person money to try and keep them from stealing or they may go to great lengths to hide money from them.
- Also, they may become hyper-vigilant about keeping tabs on the drug abuser as well.
- They will exhaust themselves with questions, checking up on whereabouts, plans, and activities.
The codependent enabler believes they are protecting their loved one by covering for them, but the truth is that often their own needs are driving their behavior. The codependent person is not happy with him or herself but does get satisfaction from taking care of other’s needs. The enabler is usually attempting to control the other person. As the codependent person begins to realize the futility of what they are doing, they often become depressed. These high-risk behaviors are not beneficial for either party and can lead to damage down the road.
It Is Possible To Overcome Codependency And Drug Abuse
Codependency and drug or alcohol abuse frequently go hand in hand but it is possible to change the relationship dynamic. It will usually take a crisis in order to get the person(s) to realize that they also have a problem. Sometimes the hospitalization of the drug user will bring on the realization. Other times, drug rehab is the only place where unhealthy relational habits are uncovered. Fortunately, family therapy is an integral part of rehab. Therapy offers everyone concerned the opportunity to see their own contribution to the problem and to learn new, healthier ways of relating and responding. Therapy will allow both parties to talk about how drugs have affected their relationship and help them move forward in a more healthy environment.
If you or a loved one are suffering from drug abuse and it is harming your relationship with them, contact The Right Step at 713.528.3709. Our programs are designed to help you overcome your addiction, improve your relationships, and live a healthy life free of drugs and alcohol.