How does codependency relate to addiction?
Am I codependent?
What is codependency?
Well, simply put, codependency is a people addiction.
We’re in a series taking a glance at the (Concerned Persons) course, offered as one of our Ready Now Recovery support groups. If you have a loved one that’s in a life-controlling addiction, you may often have asked yourself, “what is codependency, and is this something I am dealing with?”
On night three of our Concerned Persons group, we help participants understand codependency better.
The chapter lists four indicators of codependency, as it relates to our loved one who is struggling
A codependent takes ownership of another person’s problem
They might judge themselves so harshly, that they blame themselves for their loved one’s problem. They are quick to try and “fix” things or cover up for their loved one’s selfish and foolish behavior. “Johnny is just having a bad day- he didn’t mean to drive drunk.” “The truth is, I haven’t been around much to cook meals for him, so he’s been acting out.”
A codependent gets his or her well-being from the other person.
A father might find his value in being his daughter’s caregiver or rescuer. He will feel better about himself if he has been able to “bail” her out of trouble.
A codependent allows themselves to be controlled by someone else’s dependant behavior.
This person might constantly be covering up or making excuses for their loved one’s behavior. “But Johnny has had a tough life. He’s a good boy but just lost his way. Johnny is complicated.”
They might find themselves overlooking bad behavior or making their own plans around the other person’s behavior because it’s easier than confronting the individual.
The loved one becomes the master of the codependent’s life and takes the place of God.
This person will not listen to others pleading to find real help for their loved ones. Since they are addicted to their loved one, they cannot truly see the role of God that their loved one is filling in their lives.
Did you see yourself somewhere in these descriptions? Many times, people in codependent situations struggle with a lack of self-awareness in their situation.
Our “Concerned Person’s” groups gently but firmly walk family and loved ones through the painful but healing process of becoming more self-aware of how their loved one is controlling them.
If you saw yourself in one of these places, let me take you through some ways that you can return balance to the relationship with your loved one. I want to encourage you to consider what we call the “Three C’s”.
I didn’t cause it.
I didn’t cause the problems my loved one is in or creating. It’s easy for us to try and “pay the price” for past mistakes we may have made. We need to be reminded that our loved ones are responsible for the choices that have led to their problems, no matter what the circumstances may be. Continual self-punishment will not help our loved ones, and it certainly will not help us.
I can’t control it.
We simply can’t control our loved one’s dependency. Many times, a codependent tries to actually be the manipulator by dominating or throwing guilt onto their loved one. This is entirely a futile habit that will bring an even greater loss of energy. Stop trying to control your loved one and come to a realization that you are powerless- This is a crucial first step toward freedom for the codependent.
I can’t cure it.
Similarly, we can’t cure our loved one’s dependency. Our best caretaking efforts will not succeed in curing their problem. In fact, we are not even responsible for our loved one’s cure! If we have centered our lives around our loved ones, it’s time to reaffirm who we are, individually, in Christ, and the freedom we ourselves can have in Him. He alone will be the cure for both our codependency and the dependency of our loved ones.
Instead of an individual and singular focused approach to codependency, God calls us to interdependency.
Romans 12:4-17 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 are two great scriptures reminding us of the importance of interdependency.
“…so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Rom 12:5
“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27
Each of us need each other. We need the support, love, and yes, honesty from others so that we can gain a good perspective to successfully help our loved ones find the right help.
We are not created to be defined by our loved ones- in good ways or in bad ways. Each of us has been preciously created by Him to live successful lives. This only occurs if we focus away from our loved ones, and on Him, as he guides us to how best to help them.
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:2
I encourage you to take a moment to evaluate your own situation and see codependency has come to define how you are approaching the addiction crisis in your family or circle.
Let us know how we can pray for you.