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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Carpenter

Codependency & Us

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Hey there friends, we are taking an alternate route today. A side quest if you will! I am currently reading Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. I cannot recommend this book enough! If you don’t like to read, get yourself the audible version, I guarantee multiple people you know and love need to hear it.

Thursday posts are about some facet of addiction and recovery which this post absolutely is; however today we are not only talking about those actively in addiction and recovery, we are talking about all the people around them!

Trigger warning: This may be a bit confrontational to any of us that are fiercely independent as a trauma response, extremely high functioning or just firmly in our Gen X angst / over the age of 35 or so.

I personally have a very hard time identifying as codependent. However, it is the ‘dependent’ part that really chaps my ass if I am honest. (raises hand in legit Gen X-er angst) But I fall in to multiple codependent risk groups and I know for a fact that I am.

What IS co-dependency? Well, that is not a simple question. Codependency has many definitions from many people, and quite frankly it is so prolific in society that you can pretty much make up your own meaning that applies to your situation. One of my favorites is from Eamie Larsen which she stated as “those self-defeating, learned behaviors or character defects that result in a diminished capacity to initiate or to participate in loving relationships.”

So, what does this have to do with addiction and recovery? The word codependency was actually birthed out of the treatment scene back in the 1970’s and was used to refer to those people whose lives were affected by their involvement with the chemically dependent. Al-Anon was spawned from the codependent phenomenon. If you are not familiar, Al-Anon is a support program for people affected by those that struggle with addiction. It is a kind of sister program to AA.

Quick fact: An estimated 80 Million people are chemically dependent or in a relationship with someone who is. (This does not have to be a romantic relationship.) These people are probably codependent. In fact many people recover from their addictions to discover that they themselves are codependent.

Here are some possible groups that may struggle with codependency: adult children of alcoholics, people in relationships with emotionally or mentally disturbed persons; people in relationships with chronically ill persons, parents of children with behavior problems, people in relationships with irresponsible people, and professionals in “helping” professions. Anyone that has worked or lived with troubled, needy or dependent people as well as people that grew up in chaotic, dysfunctional, controlling or abusive households. I’m going to add if you are actively parenting, period. “If you are taking care of other people and not taking care of yourself—you may be in trouble with codependency.”

If any of these are even tangentially pinging your radar, I am again going to suggest reading Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

I will probably make this a bit of a series and have additional Blog posts as I progress through the book so that you all can get some resolution on this topic. For now, I will leave you with one more quote from the book: “Recovery (from codependency) is not only fun, it is simple. It is not always easy, but it is simple. It is based on this principle: Each person is responsible for him or her-self.”

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