Posts tagged "codependence"

MY BOYFRIEND, HIS ADDICTION, AND ME blog post header couple on brick wall

My Boyfriend, His Addiction, and Me

February 8th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Disease of Addiction, Opioid Epidemic, Recover, Treatment 0 comments on “My Boyfriend, His Addiction, and Me”

This is a story of a different experience of addiction, his addiction that became our addiction. Fortunately, I am not an addict or an alcoholic. I am considered by most to be a “good girl,” raised with values and morals in my very close family in the Philippines. I was the baby of four sisters and when I finally made it to America at age fifteen. It was here in the States that I met the love of my life, Joey, who suffers from the powerful disease of addiction.

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is drinking ruining your relationship

Is Drinking Ruining Your Relationship?

October 1st, 2018 Posted by Blog 0 comments on “Is Drinking Ruining Your Relationship?”

The reasons why people drink alcohol are as varied and numerous as the individuals themselves. Some drink socially while others drink to relieve stress or chronic pain. Regardless of the reason why people drink, it can have an effect on the relationships with those they love. The foundation of any successful relationship is built on love and trust. When relationship problems start, it can be difficult to see the connection between drinking and the relationship difficulties.

If you are wondering if alcohol consumption may be related to the relationship problems in your life, this guide will help you understand the connection better and when it may be time to get help.

 

What is Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

Since the 1930s, the definition of what constitutes an alcohol problem has changed. Models that define alcohol use disorder have grown beyond the number of drinks you have or how often you have them. Now, the definition of alcohol use disorder takes into account how alcohol affects your life. Nearly 14 million Americans are considered to have alcohol use disorder.

The most important thing to understand is that alcohol use disorder occurs along a continuum. For some people, it can mean binge drinking on the weekend but does not have a significant effect on their ability to maintain a job, have a relationship or affect other areas of their life. For others, it can be a significant part of a relationship that is headed for the rocks. The relationship problems only compound a myriad of other issues. In its most serious form, alcohol use disorder can lead to:

  • Financial difficulties
  • Marital conflict
  • Partner violence
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Jealousy
  • Infidelity
  • Divorce

The emotional scars of a relationship affected by alcohol use disorder can last a lifetime, even long after the relationship has ended. It has an effect on any children in the family too. Many couples fail to recognize the role that alcohol plays in their relationship problems. Alcohol use disorder has its own set of problems, but recognizing its role in a relationship can mean the difference between having a loving support system and additional stress and conflict. Here are some of the signs that alcohol is affecting your relationship.

Forgetting the Relationship

Keeping the connections that we feel for others requires work and does not happen automatically. If you have chosen to drink over spending time with your loved one or keeping promises to them, this is one of the first symptoms that alcohol is affecting your relationship. If you have ever had to cancel plans because you were hung over, or you’ve forgotten a special date or anniversary due to drinking, this is a warning sign that alcohol may have become more important to you.

One of the symptoms of alcoholism is impulsiveness when you drink. If you have ever been out drinking with your buddies and suddenly decided to cancel a date with your significant other, it will have an impact on your relationship. If you promised to be home at a certain time and then don’t come home for hours or all night because you were drinking, this is another sign of an issue. From the other person’s perspective, you are giving them the signal that they are not the top priority in your life anymore.

woman on bench looking away from her boyfriend in disgust while boyfriend has head down into hands showing disappointment and frustration on a park bench together

Your Activities Have Changed

When alcohol begins to take control of your life, you may lose interest in other activities and things that you used to enjoy. This applies whether you are in a relationship or not, but if you are in a relationship, the other person may wonder why you no longer do the things that once had meaning in your relationship. Alcohol can affect your sex drive, which is another sign that alcohol may be affecting your relationship. Doing things as a couple plays an important role in keeping the spark alive. Love is not a one-time occurrence; doing things that you enjoy together as a couple can build the connection and keep it alive.

Going on dates together and doing things that you enjoy can keep your relationship stable when life’s troubles try to get in the way. If you are missing out on the things that you used to enjoy as a couple, it may be time to consider whether alcohol is playing a role in your relationship troubles.

Personality Changes

This can be a difficult one to spot in yourself. If you become a different person when you drink, it could have a significant impact on your relationship. For instance, if alcohol makes you violent, or perhaps you tend to fling insults at your partner when you drink, it can lead to serious trouble. You may think that what you are doing is all in fun and not having an effect, but these little insults and injuries add up over time and can destroy a relationship.

Your partner may or may not tell you that what you are doing when you drink hurts them, but this doesn’t mean that they are not hurt. Some people feel that they become more sociable and likable when they drink, but not everyone sees it the same way. Your partner may not say it directly, but the way you become when you drink could make them feel uncomfortable to be around you. If your partner has become disinterested in going places with you when you will be drinking, it may be time to consider that this is a sign they do not like who you become when you drink.

Red Flags

If your partner has ever said to you directly that they do not like who you become when you drink, you should take it to heart. Another sign of more serious relationship problems is if you have started hiding your drinking from your partner. If you have ever hidden money that you spent for alcohol or actions that you took while you were drinking, it may be one of the signs that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

Relationships are built on trust, and the other person needs to be able to trust that you will not do things that could place them in financial jeopardy or make them feel emotionally vulnerable. There are many different elements to building and keeping trust in a relationship. Unfortunately, once this trust has been broken, it can be difficult or impossible to recover.

When to Get Help

If any of these scenarios sound like you, it may be time to take a serious look at how alcohol is affecting your relationships and the other areas of your life. Most people focus on relationships with a spouse or significant other, but alcohol also affects relationships with family and close friends as well. If any of your relationships seem like they are in decline and you cannot seem to figure out the reason, you need to take a serious look at whether alcohol could be the culprit. If this is the case, getting help sooner rather than later is the key to getting your life back on track and repairing damaged relationships.

Can the Relationship Be Saved?

If you have had the realization that alcohol may be ruining your relationship and it is time to get help, the next question you’re probably wondering is whether the relationship can be saved. First, there is no easy answer that will apply to every situation. It can depend on the dynamics of the relationship before alcohol was involved, how long the problem has been going on, how far the problem has progressed and other factors that may affect the ability to recover. The amount of damage that has already been done and the personalities of the two people will be keys to determining whether the relationship can be repaired.

The worst thing that you can do is become involved in the blame game. It is easy to lay the blame on the other person and to see them as the reason for your own actions. This is the road to a failed relationship and must be stopped before it gets started if the relationship is to stand a chance of being saved. Regardless of how it seems, the problems are usually not the result of one person. It takes two to make a relationship, and it takes two to break it.

The only thing that’s certain is that the problems will not get better until the underlying issues are addressed. You will have a better chance of recovering your relationship if your partner sees that you have taken responsibility and are getting help for the problems in your life caused by alcohol. Even if the relationship is too far gone to save, getting help to move on and rebuild a stable life is an important part of the recovery process for both of you.

The Recovery Process

It is important to understand that even if the both of you decide to continue the relationship, you cannot expect to go back to the same relationship you had before the damage occurred. Many times, the best that can happen is to build a new relationship built on communication, trust and new skills that you both learned through the recovery process. Regardless of the outcome, couples therapy, individual therapy and treatment for alcohol use disorder are all a part of the recovery process.

You did not get where you are now overnight, and you cannot expect for all of the problems to simply go away immediately. Recovery and rebuilding relationships will take hard work from the both of you. Repairing relationships is an important part of the recovery process from alcohol use disorder. Having a support network of people that you can trust is a predictor of a successful alcohol abstinence program.

If you feel that alcohol is having an effect on any of your relationships, the most important thing that you can do is call for help and take the first steps in the recovery process. Many people try to do it alone, but alcohol is a harsh taskmaster; there is no reason why you should ever feel that you have to do it alone.

Engaging the help of a professional who understands addiction recovery and how to prevent alcohol from ruining your relationships can help give you insight that will help not only you but also those you care about. If you feel that alcohol is having an effect on your life and relationships, the act of simply reaching out may bring a sense of relief. Talking to someone who has the answers can help you see the path to recovery and taking back your life.

Overcoming Codependency: Am I Enabling or Codependent?

December 17th, 2017 Posted by Awareness 0 comments on “Overcoming Codependency: Am I Enabling or Codependent?”

Overcoming codependency starts with knowing the symptoms and signs that cause its behavior. Identifying traits of codependency can be challenging if the relationship dynamic involves a person struggling with substance abuse. Consequently, family members have difficulty understanding if they are helping or if they’re enabling their loved one’s drug addiction. First, let’s take a look at the two behaviors which define codependency and enabling, making sure we aren’t quick to label ourselves or loved ones.  If you believe you might be codependent and enabling a substance abuser, this information will help begin the journey to overcome codependency. 

What is Codependency?

Codependency refers to the dysfunctional behavior associated with helping or supporting another person substance abuse dependence, poor mental health, or maladaptive lifestyle. Codependent people who themselves are not addicted to drugs and alcohol are considered enablers.

What is Enabling?

Enabling presents itself when the addicted individual’s family or friends support his or her addiction to alcohol and drugs.  Through thoughts and actions those who enable serve as a defense of substance abuse dependent individuals; resulting in the addict’s inability or lack of need to recognize the consequences of their addiction.


The Codependent Enabler

Enabling behaviors, often, result from codependent behavior in a relationship dynamic where addiction is present in one person. The individual’s entire sense of self is dependent on the other. Enabling crosses the line of “support” and allows the addict to continue and escape necessary consequences of their behavior. Keeping the substance abuser dependent isnt what the enabling person wants to do. However, for the codependent enabler to continue to feed their own need, there must be someone to help or support.

Children of Alcoholics: Codependent children of alcoholics and addicts are primarily attracted to substance abusers.  When a parent suffers from addiction, its probably the child grows up despising alcohol and drugs. Notably, as an adult, it is common that they are in a relationship dynamic with an addicted person. Their motive for seeking out people with addictions is to help and fix them, instead make up for the alcoholic parent they couldn’t help or fix.

Parents of the Addict: who their son or daughter is addicted can easly fall into patterns of codepency and enabling.  Instead of letting that child experience consequence and take responsibility, they enable, hence the codependent relationship forms. Many families believe that they are protecting their child. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of their freedom and sanity.

Enabling or Support: Enabling crosses the line of “support” and allows the substance abuser to remain addicted. Keeping a loved one addicted isn’t the codependent enablers desire. Consequently, to feed their codependent needs, there must be someone to enable and the result when we enable, we become codependent. In conclusion, to avoid having to overcome codependency and enable a loved one’s drug addiction you must set boundaries around the addicts’ art of manipulative behaviors.

Overcoming Codependency and Enabling - Serenity SpringsSix Signs of Codependent Enabling

 

1. Patterns of Low Self Esteem

The codependent enablers self-esteem primarily on the behavior of the unhealthy friend or family member. Gaining a false sense of self-worth, self-importance, and power by solving the addict or alcoholics problems drives the behavior of the codependent loved one.

2. Control and Manage 

With control, the codependent believes they know what is best for the addict or alcoholic. Continually managing how the addicted person should behave. They exhibit and use tactics such as guilt, manipulation, coercion, and advice giving to ensure they’re in control of the person and their addiction.

3. Embracing Responsibility

The codependent enables by cleaning up various messes for the addict such as financial responsibilities, legal problems, and emotional chaos. As a result, it interrupts the natural consequences initiated by the addicts’ negative actions and behaviors. Parents and loved ones, as a result, will most likely never overcome codependence when constantly in tune with addicts responsibility and not their responsibility to get well themselves.

4. Denial

Ignoring or pretending the addicted individual doesnt have a problem. The codependent enabler will purposely believe the addict’s fabrications by frequently lying to themselves; staying convinced tomorrow will be different.

5. Protecting Image or Social Position

Offering too much protection for the addict and alcoholic is a typical behavior characteristic most frequently talked about when journeying towards overcoming codependency. The stigma of addiction results in protection of social position or one’s image, creating a co-dependent enabling environment. The codependent enabler shelters the drug addict providing a false sense of comfort to the enabler. As a result, they do not have to experience the loss of control that natural consequences might create.

6. Repression and Dependency

The codependent’s mood defined by the mood of the dependent individual and the dysfunctional atmosphere created by the drug addiction. Putting aside their interest and quality of life while illustrating signs of being addicted to a person dependent on drugs and alcohol.


Codependents lose their sense of self and cannot differentiate where they stop and the other starts. Their role becomes controlling and managing the addict, while the addict’s purpose is to regulate and maintain their addiction. These tactics do not work but will endure for years or a lifetime. The enabler often has the best intentions. They want to care for their loved one. Unfortunately, enablers are unaware of the harm they’re creating. The perpetuation of addiction and a life without ever overcoming codependency is a consequence of enabling which will stop at nothing.

Overcoming Codependency by Setting Boundaries

The substance abuser considers their need for a substance as severe as their need for air or oxygen. The result of this intense demand for addictive substances creates a lying manipulation machine that runs over anything and anyone to get their next fix. Most notably Addiction needs support, and it will find the person who will support it. Overcoming codependency the rely on the ability to set boundaries. First, we have to understand what behaviors and actions not to support or defend.Parents and loved ones are tempted to believe the lies and manipulation the addict and alcoholic have to offer. Know the signs of addictive behavior and overcome codependency. Here are some of the substance abuser’s common manipulations.

Common Ways Addicts Manipulate

  • The addict’s various need for more money.
  • Excuses for being jobless.
  • The insistence on leaving treatment centers or aftercare programs early.
  • Lies as to why not show up for a family function or significant event.
  • Covering up the primary issue of addiction, with things like physical health, mental health, etc.
  • Schemes to get their way.
  • Buying the subtle or aggressive manipulation, the addict uses to place guilt on the parents for their using.
  • The financial assistance to prevent the addict from “needing to steal.”
  • Empty promises the alcoholic offers that things are getting better “any day now.”
  • The claim that they are taking action around self-improvement: “if they can just get a little more money, a little more time, a car, a fill in the blank.”

Begin Your Journey to Overcome Codependency

There is a powerful resistance towards admitting and ultimately surrendering to codependency and enabling. Similar to the opposition the addict feels towards quitting the disease of addiction, so too does the codependent enabler. There are specific steps and many resources that treat and offer large support to reach your goal in overcoming codependency.

Co-Dependents Anonymous CoDA is an excellent resource for those with the desire to overcome codependency. CoDA is a free public twelve-step program similar to the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. CoDA has grown to offer over thousand meetings in the United States. Internationally Coda is active in 60 other countries in addition to offering meetings online.

AL-ANON Overcoming Codependency Serenity Springs Recovery
AL-ANON: Local Meeting Finder
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Overcoming Codependency Serenity Springs Recovery
Alcoholics Anonymous: Local Meeting Finder
NAR-ANON Overcoming Codependency Serenity Springs Recovery
NAR-ANON: Local Meeting Finder
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Overcoming Codependency Serenity Springs Recovery
Narcotics Anonymous: Local Meeting Finder

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