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Why Families of Addicts Should Seek Counseling for Codependency

Why Families of Addicts Should Seek Counseling for Codependency

If you are in a codependent relationship, then family therapy can help you understand and address your problem

Codependent relationships can go on for years, even before you realize what a mess you are in. When you become stuck in the middle of a codependent relationship, the only way out is to change the circumstances. No matter how painful it is, you have to stop supporting your loved one financially or until he shows that he wants to pursue treatment. As long as you give users a place to sleep or a ride to work, you makes it easier to continue the addiction. You must help your loved one begin treatment and then pursue family therapy to unravel the problems in your relationship. Rehab and family therapy will help both of you understand addiction, its role in your codependency and how to improve the relationship moving forward.

Codependent Relationships Encourage Addiction

You may think you are helping your addicted loved one by providing housing or money or by meeting other needs, but, in doing so, you are only making it easier for the addiction to endure. If you are giving material support to someone who is actively abusing drugs or alcohol, then you are contributing to the problem instead of helping[1]. Codependent relationships are emotionally damaging relationships that involve someone who suffers from addiction or mental illness and someone who supports her. The person in the support role may do more and more to help the addict while the addict uses the person to fuel her addiction. Codependency can sneak up on you, because you think you are acting in the best interest of your loved one; however, while it feels comforting to give someone a place to stay and keep her off the streets, you are only providing a free pass for further substance abuse. Codependency has been referred to as a “relationship addiction,” because, the worse the addict’s condition becomes, the more you want to help. But, helping an addict in the right way means pointing her toward treatment; helping her get by will make you both miserable.

Codependency Is Dysfunctional

Codependency creates dysfunctional relationships, because the damage that is done goes unspoken, which can result in resentment and bitterness[2]. In dysfunctional relationships, people regularly ignore problems, and no one talks about issues that affect them. As a result, problems become increasingly worse while people hold back emotion, avoid confrontation and grow detached. In short, you cannot have a healthy relationship with someone if the relationship is codependent, because the co-dependent person focuses solely on helping the addict. In fact, the co-dependent person will sacrifice his time, energy and his own needs to help the addict who does nothing in return except continue down the path of addiction. If you put another person’s needs ahead of your own, then it becomes unhealthy and can lead to mental health disorders, substance abuse and other problems[3].

Changing the Relationship Dynamic

Ending codependency is tough when you want to see your loved one happy, but the only way to recover is to change the nature of your relationship. It sometimes takes a crisis for an addict to realize that she needs help, but start by talking with her about how her addiction has affected both her life and yours. Keep a positive tone and talk about the benefits of rehab, such as understanding addiction and learning healthy ways to cope with stress instead of drugs or alcohol. Starting rehab is crucial for the user to make a lasting recovery; it must be clear that you cannot give anymore material support unless she is committed to recovery. Once she starts a rehab program, then you can incorporate family therapy to begin working through the issues that addiction has brought into your relationship. A family therapist has dealt with codependent relationships before, so he is well equipped to help you improve your relationship with a recovering addict. Make sure all your problems are addressed in family therapy, as continuing to ignore old problems can crack the door to relapse or further codependency.

Help Your Loved One and End Codependency

If you are trapped in a codependent relationship, then the first step to getting out is placing your loved one in rehab. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today to find out more about what your loved one will experience in rehab. Your health insurance may help pay for treatment, so have your policy information on hand when you call. Our admissions coordinators can discuss any issues related to addiction and treatment; let them answer your questions about recovery and refer you to an effective treatment center where you can begin rehab. Call now so you can begin comprehensive treatment as soon as possible.


[1] Are You in a Codependent Relationship? By Shawn Burn

[2] What is Codependency?

[3] Shame: The Core of Addiction and Codependency by Darlene Lancer