Does Addiction affect only the individual afflicted by it or does it affect as much the family, friends and people who are closely associated with the afflicted?
The addict’s life revolves around his substance trying to futilely control it and the lives of the people close to him/her- the spouse, children, and parents revolve around the addict in trying to control his usage. In both, the Substance/Addiction is the core factor. Just as the addict loses himself and his individuality in using, the close ones lose their individuality and lives in controlling his/her usage.
This attitude is called Co-dependency. Co-dependency often affects a spouse, a parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with alcohol or drug dependence.
The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the person addicted to continue on a destructive course. When the caretaking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choice less and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it. Co-dependents view themselves as victims.
They thus become enablers to the addict. They undergo the same and deeper denial patterns.
They have difficulty in saying “no”, in just having fun and are filled with fear, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, hurt, and shame which are denied. They mask their feelings of confusion and low esteem by blaming the other person, as they believe that the other is the cause of or are responsible for their emotions.” If he/she stops drinking or using , I will stop feeling the way I feel and I will be fine “ If I lose my watch in a dark room and hunt for it in a lit room what are my chances of finding it? next to none… likewise, what are the chances of the co- dependent finding the solution to all the emotional rollercoaster within them, in the person afflicted by Addiction?? Bingo! Next to none!
Thus, here, where the addict is intoxicated with alcohol & drugs, the co-dependent is intoxicated by his/her emotions.
They do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don’t talk about them or confront them. They become “survivors.” The co-dependent person learns to repress emotions and typically sacrifices his or her needs to take care of a person who is sick. When co-dependents place other people’s health, welfare and safety before their own, they lose contact with
their own needs, desires, and sense of self. They live believing they need an outside person or substance to be complete.
Most people, when they read this, will be quick to say “I never do that.” The reason behind this is, as children people are conditioned to live through others expectations (codependency). Such things as putting them on a rigid schedule and making them eat foods they don’t like instead of offering choices actually causes them to be codependent..
People are so conditioned by adulthood that they have adopted a false self (codependent) and do not realize it. Codependency has become real to them…add Substance here and the scenario magnifies manifold…
The Co-dependents thus require as much Counseling as does the addict.