What Is Codependency?

What Is Codependency?

Codependency is a word we hear tossed around a lot. What is codependency, and how does it affect the life of someone with an addiction? In the context of substance abuse, a codependent generally refers to someone who supplies food, money, and shelter to the person who is addicted. White Sands Addiction Treatment Center in Fort Myers provides detox and rehab programs for substance abuse.

In a codependent relationship, one person has a more dominant personality and receives some satisfaction through his or her control of the other person. Codependency frequently occurs with a husband and wife, but it can also involve a close friend. When combined with substance abuse, it becomes a dangerous cycle. What is codependency in a relationship involving substance abuse? When one person in a marriage or relationship begins using drugs or alcohol excessively, the other person starts making excuses, covering up the behavior, and hiding the truth from other people. In the worst case he or she may even enable the abuse. Love for the substance abuser is the justification the person uses for the codependent relationship, but there are only tragic outcomes as a result.

Codependency In Addiction

Codependency in addiction involves two persons, which are the manipulator and the enabler. In an addiction situation, the substance abuse is usually the manipulator. He or she has influence over the other partner and manipulate him or her into obtaining the alcohol or drugs that are wanted. The manipulation can also carry over to children in a family, and they are used to the substance abuser’s advantage. The enabler in the codependent relationship is the passive partner. He or she supports, enables, and encourages the behavior of the manipulator either knowingly or unknowingly. The enabler makes great sacrifices, including giving up much of his or her identity in order to meet the needs of the manipulator. Many enablers suffer from feelings of low self-esteem and fear of abandonment. This combination of personalities, in a relationship involving substance abuse, creates a cycle of destructive behavior that can destroy families and lives.

Codependency Addiction Cycle

In the codependency addiction cycle, there is always a sense of competition to win the affections of the manipulator.

  • The love of the enabler’s life is the manipulator. The love of the manipulator’s life is the substance being abused.
  • The enabler believes he or she cannot live without the manipulator. The manipulator believes he or she must have the substance to survive.
  • The enabler needs the love of the manipulator to feel self-worth. The manipulator needs the substance to hide from his or her reality.
  • The enabler is loyal to the manipulator in spite of his or her irresponsible behavior. The manipulator is unfaithful to the enabler because nothing matters beyond his or her addiction.
  • The enabler believes that he or she is the “rescuer” of the manipulator. The manipulator requires the enabler to shelter him or her from the negative results of their substance abuse.
  • The enabler becomes overly responsible for the manipulator’s behavior. The manipulator needs someone to blame for his or her irresponsible behavior.
  • The enabler has poor personal boundaries and will compromise his or her values to please the manipulator. The manipulator has no respect for his or her partner’s boundaries and will push them to the limit in order to maintain the addiction status.

The codependency addiction cycle cannot be broken without professional help. Both the substance abuser and the codependent need counseling to change the role patterns they have been living. White Sands Treatment Center in Fort Myers offers intervention when necessary to assist with getting your loved one into detox and rehab programs. A phone call will connect you to a knowledgeable counselor who is ready to get you or your loved one started down the road to recovery.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.