When you are in a relationship with an addict or alcoholic, it sometimes happens that you develop what is known as a co-dependency. Co-dependency is defined as an ‘excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner’. This means that you are attached to your partner, and you place their health and well-being in front of your own – to your own detriment. It is an unhealthy situation that can prove to be damaging to both partners and has severe long-term effects.
How Do I Know If I’m Suffering from Co-Dependency?
If you are in a co-dependent relationship, you will typically obsess about your partner to the point of losing sleep over their well-being. This may cause you to fall physically ill, neglect or even abandon your daily routine, do things you would not normally do, and even say ‘yes’ when you actually mean ‘no’. This, in turn, will result in you becoming angry or upset when you are unable to help your partner. Eventually, you develop feelings of worthlessness because you cannot manage your partner’s crisis in his/her life.
Overall, you are refusing to accept who your partner really is. You live in constant denial about the situation that you find yourself in and will claim that you are ‘only trying to help’ when people confront you with the reality of your situation. You’re basically addicted to helping. Without that element in your life, you are at a loss as to what to do with yourself.
Unfortunately, co-dependency is very difficult to identify and to treat. Once a co-dependent person is aware of their co-dependency, he or she may tend to relapse more regularly than an addict. It’s hard to treat because it’s a loud cry for help – one that needs to be attended to as urgently as that of an addict trying to break their addiction.
How Can I Get Help?
Recovery Lighthouse is an addiction treatment centre with the knowledge and expertise to help treat addicts and those who are in a co-dependent relationship. Years of experience and research have helped our therapists and counsellors to identify and treat co-dependency.
The first step, however, is always to admit to having a problem. This may be more difficult than it seems. People who have co-dependency issues are generally seen as looking out for the health and welfare of their partners. They are very self-sacrificing and may seem to do everything in their power to help their partners with their illnesses and addiction. The truth is that should the ‘ill’ partner become sober or healthy, the co-dependent partner will be at a loss and may go into an emotional withdrawal.
That is one of the signs to look out for. If you feel worse because your partner does not need you as much as they used to, you could be in a co-dependent relationship and you should seek help as soon as possible.
At Recovery Lighthouse, we have clinics and therapists who are able to help you with your co-dependency issues by teaching you new life skills and coping mechanisms to deal with your helping addiction. We will teach you how to build a healthy relationship with your current partner or with any future partners that you may have. You need to rely on the help and guidance of your therapist and counsellor to avoid relapsing on a daily basis. Eventually, relapses will only occur every few weeks, and finally you will be able to establish a healthy, interdependent relationship with a healthy partner.
We are a phone call away, and we are always ready, willing, and able to help you with advice and recovery treatment options whenever you are ready to ask for the help. Recovery Lighthouse will provide you with access to the treatment that you need as well as the support that you need on a daily basis to help you recover from your own addiction.
Take the step now and get the help you need in order to lead a full and emotionally healthy life.