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.


  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham

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