The topic of codependency has been gaining traction in the addiction treatment community in the past decade or so, and for good reason. Codependency, as it pertains to substance addiction, can be viewed in two primary ways. First, there is the codependent relationship that the addict has with their enabler, and second, there are the codependent traits within us that have more to do with the ways in which we manage our emotions and our relationships with others. Let’s first take a look at the ways we, as addicts, engage in relationships with those who enable us.
Generally speaking, the person who falls into the codependent enabler role is typically a family member or a romantic partner. The reason for this is because part of what is required from the enabler in order to perpetuate this unhealthy relationship dynamic is that their judgement and reason is clouded by their love for the addict, or due to the fact that their emotional state is dependent upon the addict. In other words, the enabler has a maladaptive relationship of reciprocity whereby the addict makes the enabler feel good about themselves in order to obtain money for drugs, shelter, and continued support through passivity on the part of the enabler. Often times we hear excuses from the enabler such as, “they said if I didn’t do x, they would go get high.” This tactic of threatening is effective because the enabler knows in their heart that the addiction is slowly killing their loved one, but because of their fear that they might lose their loved one they allow themselves to be intimidated into giving into the demands of the addict. This dynamic can absolutely destroy families and leave the addict with little hope in their ability to take the initiative to get help. Another facet of the codependent relationship with an enabler is that it masquerades as a true relationship; this is not the case, nor can we afford to delude ourselves into believing that this is the case. This agreement between the two codependent parties is simply a business exchange, and while that sounds harsh, the relationship is based off of an unhealthy give and take. The enabler supports the addict in continuing their addiction and the addict continues to lead the enabler to believe that they value the enabler for who they are as opposed to what they are doing in support of perpetuating the addictive behaviors.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.