Understanding codependency in recovery

Codependency and addiction are two complex issues which often intertwine. Understanding the relationship between them can help with developing healthier and more balanced lives for all involved.

What is codependency?

Codependency is a relationship dynamic whereby an unhealthy reliance is held by one person on another. This reliance is generated when a person has a strong need to be needed and will do everything they can to help and please another person. It can be extremely difficult to break the cycle of codependent behaviour.

Some behaviours that may be associated with codependency include:

  • Feeling responsible for someone else’s happiness and wellbeing
  • Trying to control or being overly involved with managing someone else’s behaviours
  • Excessively fearful, worried, and anxious about the consequences of someone else’s behaviours
  • Neglecting their own needs in order to care for someone else

Codependent relationships in recovery.

Codependent relationships can often be found between family or friends trying to help their loved one combat their addiction. It is important to be aware that not all relationships where addiction is involved include codependency. Codependent relationships can exist without addiction. However, when present, addressing codependency in recovery is important for ensuring the best addiction treatment possible.

It can be difficult to recognise and accept that codependent behaviours may be present. Especially when the dynamics between addiction and codependent behaviours can perpetuate one another. However, identifying any unhealthy behaviours on all sides can assist with addiction treatment. Setting healthy boundaries is an important aspect of treating addiction and codependency together.

Our Family Support Program is designed to assist friends and family to support a loved one in their recovery journey. Whether there is codependency involved or not. The program will help to set healthy boundaries, and heal relationships.

Overcoming codependency and addiction.

There are generally underlying psychological, emotional, and behavioural patterns that may trigger both codependency and addiction. Low self-esteem, shame, or unresolved trauma may be present with those experiencing addictive or codependent behaviours.

Once codependent behaviours have been acknowledged, efforts can then be made to help address these. Counselling and therapy can assist with identifying and addressing underlying issues that may be contributing to unhealthy behaviours.

We understand that it can be challenging to unpack and resolve codependency and addiction. Our evidence-based treatment programs are designed to help individuals and their support networks to build healthy relationships for the long term.

If you are concerned about codependency in recovery please contact us on 03 9533 7888.