Many recovering addicts and alcoholics speak of their 'rock bottom' experience consisting of festering in their place of living for weeks on end with only their best friend to comfort them: their best friend being their drugs and/or alcohol. Finding a similarly afflicted person to share this life of constant drug use and isolation seems to bring a rush of comfort and safety to the desolation that their lives have become. It is common for such a couple to rarely be seen, except when emerging to meet their dealer.
Addicts who meet at the height of their addiction and form a relationship rife with co-dependency is not the only way relationship addiction progresses. Two addicts who are not yet in the worst stages of their addiction may become involved with each other, and experience their addiction worsening as their relationship shows increasing signs of relationship addiction and co-dependency. As their drug use spirals out of control and they find their addiction progressing through using harder drugs, they often begin to withdraw from friends and family and only want to spend time with their partner.
For more information or to seek help please click here.
Factsheet on co-dependency
Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.
When co-dependents place other people’s health, welfare and safety before their own, they can lose contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of self.
How Do Co-Dependent People Behave?
Co-dependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to “be themselves.” Some try to feel better through alcohol, drugs or nicotine - and become addicted. Others may develop compulsive behaviors like workaholism, gambling, or indiscriminate sexual activity.
When the caretaking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choiceless and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it.
Characteristics of Co-Dependent People Are:
1. An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others.
2. A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue.
3. A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time.
4. A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts.
5. An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment.
6. An extreme need for approval and recognition.
7. A sense of guilt when asserting themselves.
8. A compelling need to control others.
9. Lack of trust in self and/or others.
10. Fear of being abandoned or alone.
11. Difficulty identifying feelings.
12. Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change.
13. Problems with intimacy/boundaries.
14. Chronic anger.
16. Poor communications
17. Difficulty making decisions.
Questionnaire To Identify Signs Of Co-Dependency
1. Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?
2. Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you?
3. Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem?
4. Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you?
5. Are the opinions of others more important than your own?
6. Do you have difficulty adjusting to changes at work or home?
7. Do you feel rejected when significant others spend time with friends?
8. Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be?
9. Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings to others?
10. Have you ever felt inadequate?
11. Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake?
12. Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts?
13. Do you feel humiliation when your child or spouse makes a mistake?
14. Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts?
15. Do you frequently wish someone could help you get things done?
16. Do you have difficulty talking to people in authority, such as the police or your boss?
17. Are you confused about who you are or where you are going with your life?
18. Do you have trouble saying “no” when asked for help?
19. Do you have trouble asking for help?
20. Do you have so many things going at once that you can’t do justice to any of them?
If you identify with several of these symptoms; are dissatisfied with yourself or your relationships; you should consider seeking professional help.
How is Co-Dependency Treated?
Treatment includes education, experiential groups, and individual and group therapy through which co-dependents rediscover themselves and identify self-defeating behavior patterns.
When Co-Dependency Hits Home.
The first step in changing unhealthy behavior is understanding it.
People find freedom, love, and serenity in their recovery.
Characteristics of Co-dependency.
1. My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you and receiving approval from you.
2. Your struggles affect my serenity. I focus my mental attention on solving your problems or relieving your pain.
3. I focus my mental attention on pleasing you, protecting you, or manipulating you to "do things my way".
4. I bolster my self esteem by solving your problems and relieving your pain.
5. I put aside my own hobbies and interests. I spend my time sharing your interests and hobbies.
6. Because I feel you are a reflection of me, my desires dictate your clothing and personal appearance.
7. My desires dictate your behavior.
8. I am not aware of how I feel. I am aware of how you feel.
9. I am not aware of what I want I am aware of what you want. If I am not aware of something, I assume (I don't ask or verify. My fear of your anger and rejection determines what I say or do.
10. In our relationship I use giving as a way of feeling safe.
11. As I involve myself with you, my social circle diminishes.
12. To connect with you, I put my values aside.
13. I value your opinion and way of doing things more important than my own.
14. The quality of my life depends on the quality of yours.
15. I am always trying to fix or take care of others while I neglect myself.
16. I find it easier to give and comply with others than to express my own needs.
17. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself, feeling no one understands. I think about help, but rarely commit or follow through.
Taken from PsychPage.com