January 10, 2014
The early stages of recovery provide a newly sober individual the opportunity restore their physical and mental health. It also provides the addict the environment they need to make amends to those they harmed during their active addiction. The repairing and restoration of relationships are arguably the biggest goals for those who are looking to achieve a meaningful long-term recovery. These relationships give the newly recovering addict a sense of love, belonging and security, and it forms the foundation for a strong support network they can depend on when their recovery is on shaky ground.
Having the strong sense of love and connection of relationships is paramount for long-term sobriety, but relationships can also cause great turmoil in the life of a recovering addict–and can even lead to a relapse. Whether it is with a family member, friend or spouse, a codependent relationship can sap the energy and focus away from the addict and their goal of building their confidence and esteem. One must be wary early in their recovery of codependent relationships, but oftentimes people who are involved in them don’t see the signs until it is too late. It is important to understand codependency as a concept as well as knowing the telltale signs that you are involved in a codependent relationship in recovery.
What is Codependency?
It should come as no surprise that codependency is the biggest obstacle that most people face in their relationships, especially those who are recovering from substance abuse. More often than not, the signs and symptoms of codependency fly under the radar because we’ve been taught to believe certain myths about how relationships work. What exactly is codependency and how to codependent relationships form? In its simplest definition, codependency occurs when a relationship is one-sided and tend to be emotionally abusive and destructive.
Co-dependency is often seen as a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. For those caught in a codependent relationship, it is psychologically and spiritually draining since all of a person’s attention and energy is focused on fulfilling the unrealistic needs of another. This type of relationship is dangerous in all situations and especially in you are in recovery from substance abuse. Not only do codependent relationships block people from accessing who they truly are, it also blocks the potential for further growth–and growth is an absolute must if one’s recovery is to flourish.
What are the Signs of a Codependent Relationship?
The following are telltale signs that you are involved in a codependent relationship:
1. You Feel You Can’t Live Without The Person
It is important to understand that connection and attachment are two different things. The connection occurs when you and another person share deep bonds and have mutual respect for each other. On the other hand, attachment arises out of a need to be loved without loving ourselves first. If you find yourself feeling that you cannot live without someone when you know the relationship is not equitable, you may be in a codependent relationship.
2. The Other Person Needs To Fit A Certain Mold
Another sign of a codependent relationship is that one person in the relationship feels that the other needs to think and act in a certain way. This can also be considered conditional love in the respect that one person in the relationship cannot accept the other for who they truly are.
3. Blaming Others
In active addiction, many addicts blame others for the way they feel and act when in reality they need to take a look at themselves. This rings true in regards to relationships with others. In codependent relationships, people will often lash out and others and blame them for their own negativity.
4. You Care For Others and Not Yourself
Every human being is capable of taking care of their own needs. In healthy relationships, both parties are able to take care of themselves and are able to provide encouragement and support for the other without trying to shoulder their burden. In a codependent relationship, it can often appear as one person is the adult and the other is the child. Playing caregiver for the others physical and emotional needs causes neglect of your own needs.
5. The Concept of Control
In a relationship that is codependent, there is the intense need to control the other person, whether it is their specific actions and who they are as a person in general.
6. Happiness Is Based On Others and Not Yourself
True happiness lies within and is cultivated when we connect with our inner selves through meditation and other practices. When we are in codependent relationships, either party in that relationship looks for their happiness in the other person and relies on that person as the sole source of their contentment and being.
7. You Don’t Feel Free
Perhaps the most compelling sign that you are involved in a codependent relationship is the feeling that you are trapped. Instead of feeling unconditional love and acceptance, you may feel like you are living under a set of strict rules that are enforced by the other person in the relationship. Being kept in a box or trying to live under the preconceived notions of others won’t allow you to grow into the person that you were meant to be.
Your recovery is your number one priority, and a major part of growing as a recovering person is learning to love yourself for you who truly are and not let the past define you. If you find yourself in a codependent situation, you must take every step to end those relationships. Notice your negative self-judgments and challenge your beliefs. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to seek help from people who truly understand you for you. If you need help, Ocean Breeze Recovery Center can provide you the programs, support, and encouragement you need to leave your addiction behind and embrace a new life full of self-confidence, love, and hope.
Call Ocean Breeze Recovery Center toll-free today and learn to love yourself again.