Addiction and co-dependency

When we speak of addiction, we also have to investigate co-dependency.

Addicted people often have  a counter part – another person, who is the enabler and who is involuntarily,  but ver effectively doing everything to keep the addicted person at his or her habit. This is difficult to understand, if you have not made the experience of being co-dependent yourself, or have watched someone close to you in such a relationship.

Co-dependency is not unusual. We are all co-dependent to some degree, as we are all connected and locked in the world of opposites. This is the victim – offender analogy and it means that in each victim, there is an offender and in each offender, there is a victim. We are all related and often attracted to the very personality traits, that we have to develop ourselves.

You see this very clearly in the relationship of the addict and the co-dependent person. By caring for the addicted person, denying the seriousness or the damage that is being done to everyone involved, or seeing themselves as indispensable, the co-dependent person allows the addicted person to stay in the chasm of self-destructive behaviour, and more often than not keeps them in it.

People who are co-dependent are addicted as well and there is a personality pattern, that is prone to developing codependency. Codependency is defined as an an emotional, behavioral, and psychological pattern of coping which develops as a result of prolonged exposure to and practice of a dysfunctional set of family rules. In turn, these rules make difficult or impossible the open expression of thoughts and feelings. Normal identity development is thereby interrupted; codependency is the reflection of a delayed identity development.

What is is the co-dependent person gets out of it ? I think it is a sense of control, of being needed and being superior. The relationship of an addicted person and the co-dependent ally is one of a power struggle. Codependency is, essentially, an addiction to another person; the compulsive need to control that part of their life that is out-of-control. It has been said that “When a codependent dies, someone else’s life flashes before their eyes!”

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
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7 Responses to Addiction and co-dependency

  1. toortsie says:

    Thank you. I am doing a task on co-dependency and want to use this information if you don’t mind. I’ll give this webpage the necessary credit.

  2. Pete says:

    Great article.

    I agree with what you write Michaela.

    I would just make the personal point that my (childhood) story prepared me well to be an addict, alcoholism being the most obvious and co-dependancy.

    Now I think of it as the little boy lost in the forest – a nightmare.

    Now I ( the adult) take care of that little boy with love and compassion when he needs it. He’s a sweet little boy, a good boy, hurt, rebellious, angry, sad, lonely, an idealist. I love him.

    To put it simply I had to and am still ‘letting go of the crap’ but at least I am aware of the emotions and thoughts and can observe and detach quicker these days (mostly)

    See it for what it is.

    And the great adventure is being game to tear up the old patterns and take responsibility for myself. Not perfectly of course but the fruit and rewards are wonderful.

  3. mainbean says:

    I recognize myself in Pete’s story. I too was raised in the perfect situation for becoming an addict myself but “chose” co dependency instead. It has taken 4 years of hard personal work to start seeing the part i play in a very unhealthy relationship. It’s such a struggle to see the truth and so painful once the truth is recognized. Even after all that person growth to come to that point is nothing compared to the work i have to put in to stop my behaviors and thought patterns! I learned co dependency I wasn’t born like this.

  4. Pete says:

    Exactly mainbean! But hey we’re finding the way out!
    When you see it it is hard for a while but what has helped me is ET’s teachings on you are not that. It IS conditioning.

    We are growing up or into who we truly are.

    There is a beautiful free audio download on adyshanti’s site called “Our Unborn Nature”. It was meant for us. Please listen and let me know your experience.

    kindest regards


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