Addictions and codependency often go hand-in-hand. A relationship or a family can become dysfunctional if its members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame that is ignored or denied.
Underlying problems may stem from an addiction by a family member (to drugs, alcohol, relationships, work, food, sex, gambling or technology), but also from the existence of physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse or the presence of a person suffering from a chronic mental or physical illness.
Codependency is a learned coping behaviour that affects a spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend or co-worker of a person afflicted by addiction or illness. As a result, the codependents learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. It's all with good intentions. They feel an exaggerated responsibility to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, yet are only helping the needy individual to continue on a destructive course. They develop a sense of satisfaction from being needed but end up feeling choiceless and helpless in the relationship and unable to break away.
Do you or your loved one demonstrate unhealthy coping behaviours or a loss of control over the amount and frequency of substance use, despite experiencing adverse consequences? The first step in changing unhealthy behaviour is to educate oneself and understand it. Reaching out for information about addiction and codependency and the right assistance can help you find freedom, love and serenity in recovery.