Codependence is one of the many issues that families must deal with when one member has an alcoholism or drug addiction problem.
It consists of dysfunctional behaviors exhibited by the family members without the addiction, which arise in the emotional pain of trying to help the addict.
Unfortunately, codependency is not helpful at all. It unintentionally supports the drug or alcohol addiction and makes it easier for the individual to continue a destructive lifestyle. However, family members don’t do this on purpose. They generally have the best intentions in mind.
Codependence is the rule rather than the exception in families with addiction. Ideally, the family will learn to deal with the situation in a more constructive manner to help get effective addiction treatment for the individual. It often happens that codependency remains even after the alcohol or drug addiction has been resolved. Some signs of codependency are caretaking, being controlling, avoiding emotions, perfectionism, and distrust.
The codependent person gets accustomed to living in a dysfunctional home. Eventually they forget about their own emotions and go against their normal desires to help someone else. They often make excuses about the addict’s behavior or give them money in order to protect them from the negative consequences of their behavior.
This person is dependent on the alcohol or drug addict’s behavior to give them a sense of self, usually unconsciously. They think that their actions are an attempt to help the addict, when in actuality they are acting out of emotional problems.
Codependency is one of the many reasons why it’s so important for family members to get help along with the addict. Many rehab facilities offer family counseling sessions for everyone when an individual is in addiction treatment. Individual counseling can help, and there are also support groups specifically for people who deal with codependency.