Codependency and Addiction


Does your life revolve around an unstable, unpredictable sick person who is controlled by their own want and needs to use drugs and/or alcohol?

Have you wondered if you are co-addicted or codependent? Co-Addiction is the sense that “if the addict is ok then you are ok.” Whether or not the addict is ‘ok’ determines your mood, thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

The codependent’s addiction is the sense of being able to control or as they see it ‘take care’ of the addict. When asked, “What is codependency” it is important to understand how terribly lonely this disorder is.

It takes tremendous energy to make everything appear perfect, when inside it feels as if the whole world is falling apart. You don’t know if you can get through yet another day with even one more superficial smile. How many lies can you tell to keep everyone from knowing what is really going on behind closed doors? Addiction is a progressive disease, as is co-addiction. The co-addict mirrors the addict. If the addict is happy then the codependent is happy. If they addict is upset so is the codependent, but to extremes.

Typically the codependent’s symptoms mirror the alcoholic. There is an increase in tolerance for what the family lives with and covers up and a preoccupation with your alcoholic while they are preoccupied with getting and using their alcohol. The co-addict tends to be the main enabler for the alcoholic without realizing that they are taking on that role. Enablers help get the alcoholic or addict out of trouble, keep things looking good on the outside, and allow the addict to continue functioning and not hitting bottom. “I am ok if you are ok, so I have to work really hard to be sure you do what I think is best so that we can both be ok”.

It is horribly painful to watch someone you love destroying their own lives and those of their family. Whether destroying a career after years of hard work, or failing out of college right before graduation, broken marriages, financial ruin, lost homes and children separated from parents, all heartbreaking. Yet, substance abuse and addiction still goes on. Whether an adult or a child; knowing anyone who abuses drugs or alcohol is incredibly difficult. As a parent of an out of control child, you might even feel you have failed at the most important role of your life.

There is help for codependency. You can change yourself. The good news is that you can also learn things you can do to help your loved one have a better chance of hitting the point where they will acknowledge that they need to change.

Helpful actions include

  • respond in a healthy, appropriate way to unacceptable behaviors
  • set limits
  • express yourself so that you know you are heard

Each situation is different. Help is available for positive change, and assistance in breaking unhealthy patterns of codependency.

For more information and confidential professional help from an addictions counselor in the Morristown NJ area, contact me today. Help is available. Phone (973)359.0662 or email info@bpaolo.com