Codependency in Substance Use Disorders

No one has a perfect family. That does not mean that it is not important to discern what is healthy versus unhealthy within familial dynamics. Some important factors in a strong family system include:

  • High self-worth
  • Rules that are humane, adaptable, and suitable
  • Good communication skills: straightforwardness, precision, understandability, and candidness (this also includes your feelings being verbalized)
  • Having societal connections and openness
  • Family-supported individualized goals with steps of how to achieve them.

Typically, when one member of a family has an addiction, the rules can become screwed. The main focus becomes the drugs or alcohol as well as the addiction itself. There is a denial of the use causing any problems. This can lead to placing the blame on others, living in denial, covering up the use with excuses, or a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy outside of the immediate family. It also encourages a decrease in verbalized thoughts and feelings.

Substance abuse and dependency can change a family structure. Emotions, such as abandonment, distress, nervousness, rage, worry, humiliation, or guilt, can lead to avoiding someone with an addiction. Yet the flip side is also true: substance abuse and dependency and lead to codependent alterations in the family structure. Familial roles in addiction can lead to codependency.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is not only defined by thoughts but also by specific forms of behavior and feelings toward ourselves and others. This characteristic method causes pain to everyone involved and is self-sabotaging.

Codependency in Substance Use Disorders

Individuals that are codependent may have the following symptoms:

  • Caretaking without reciprocity
  • Feelings of responsibility for others, including their future, thoughts, and actions
  • People pleasing behaviors and anticipating other’s needs
  • Feeling safest when helping others
  • Overcommitting
  • Low self-worth and difficulty accepting compliments
  • Fear of rejection and taking most things personally
  • Victim stances associated with guilt and not-so-positive feelings and thoughts about themselves
  • Repression of personal thoughts and feelings, leading to appearing rigid and controlled
  • Obsession, compulsions, and control
  • Denial
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Workaholism
  • Lying to oneself and believing the lies
  • Dependency
  • Seeing love and pain as one and the same
  • Self-sacrificing for other’s potential wants and needs
  • Poor communication skills
  • Misplaced blame
  • Unable to say “No”
  • Poor boundaries, including with sex
  • Untrusting of themselves, religion/God, and others
  • Feelings of anger
  • All-or-nothing behaviors and mentality.

Where to Turn for Help

We know that family plays an integral part in maintain sobriety. We can show you that you are not alone. It is important to remember that you cannot control your loved one’s consumption of alcohol, opiates, cannabis, or other illicit substances. Discovery Place’s family matters program can help you find the support you need to work through the emotional turbulence you have undergone during your loved one’s addiction.

Sometimes, it is difficult to know you are engaging in codependent behaviors due to all the underlying emotions and denial you may be projecting about the situation. Unfortunately, this leads people to stay in abusive situations as well as enable their loved ones in active addictions. Discovery Place of Burns, TN has trained professionals standing by twenty-four seven waiting to help your loved one find, and maintain, sobriety as well as to help you find the support you need. Call us today at 1-800-725-0922.

Speak with someone who understands

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