Are you in a relationship with an addict? Have your attempts at helping that person failed? Do you feel powerless?
Co-dependency is a term used when one person develops unhealthy patterns due to the involvement with another person who has the disease of addiction. Some of the negative patterns that develop include enabling, denial, low self-esteem, and control issues. While these patterns don't happen overnight, most people who live with an addict for a sustained period of time, eventually fall into some of these behaviours.
Have you taken on the patterns of co-dependency in your own life? Answer the following questions in order to discover the answer:
1. Do you have difficulty sleeping at night because you're worrying about the addict?
2. Do you feel as though you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders?
3. Do you take on many of the addict's responsibilities?
4. Do you constantly threaten to leave the addict, or kick him or her out, but you never follow through?
5. Do you fantasize about something bad happening to the addict, and then feel guilty?
6. Do you fall for the same lies over and over again?
7. Are you suffering financial difficulty due to the addiction?
8. Do you feel tired much of the time?
9. Do you avoid social functions out of the fear of shame or embarrassment?
10. Do you avoid doing things away from home because you want to keep an eye on the addict?
11. Are you losing or gaining too much weight?
12. Do you sometimes feel out of control?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the patterns of co-dependency may be affecting your life. The more "yes" answers, the deeper the patterns. You owe it to yourself to start letting go and detaching from the problems surrounding addiction.
While it may seem like a difficult feat, it is possible to detach from the problems of addiction. Yes, you are in a relationship with an addict, but in order to love him or her you do not need to stay in the storm. You can rise above the dark clouds. You can serve as an example of health and happiness. Not only is it possible, but it is the best thing that you can do for yourself and the addict.
So what are the steps for moving forward? The first, and probably most important step, is to reach out for help. You don't have to do this alone. Aside from family and friends, there are countless forms of support available. Some examples are family support groups such as Al-Anon, a counsellor, or a personal coach.
Most rehabs will have a family counsellor. At Hope Trust, each client's family is offered the Hope Family Support Program that addresses issues with family members affected by a loved one's addiction.
If you've never visited an Al-Anon meeting before, then now is the time to give it a try. What better group of people to turn to for comfort and support than those who are living with the same struggles? Through Al-Anon you will learn the tools for recovery. There are also countless books available that teach these tools.
It is your right to be living a happy and healthy life. When you become consumed with the addict, and the problems surrounding their addiction, you are no longer living your own life. Instead you are living for the addict. As a result, your physical and emotional health can suffer.
You are here to live your own life. You deserve to have, be, and do everything that you want -- and you can. The addict is not holding you back. The only person in control of your life is you. You are offered endless options every day and you make the choices. Choose happiness!