Addiction and codependency

Codependency and addiction are interconnected phenomena that often go hand in hand, creating a complex dynamic that can be challenging to unravel. Both codependency and addiction can have detrimental effects on individuals and their relationships, reinforcing each other in a destructive cycle. We will explore the nature of codependency and addiction, how they intertwine, and the importance of seeking help to break free from their grip.


Codependency and addiction - hands chained together

What is codependency?

Codependency concerning addiction refers to a dysfunctional relationship pattern where one person, the codependent, becomes excessively reliant on another person struggling with addiction. The codependent may prioritise the addict’s needs and well-being above their own, often neglecting their needs and boundaries. They may feel responsible for the addict’s actions, constantly try to control or rescue them, and intensely fear abandonment or rejection.

Codependency often manifests in various ways, such as:

  • Enabling: The codependent may make excuses for the addict’s behaviour, cover up their mistakes, or protect them from the consequences of their actions. This behaviour can prevent the addict from facing the full impact of their addiction and hinder their motivation to seek help.
  • Loss of identity: Codependents may lose their sense of self and personal interests as they become overly focused on the addict’s needs. Their self-worth may become dependent on taking care of the addict, leading to an erosion of their own identity.
  • Emotional reactivity: Codependents may experience intense emotional reactions, such as anxiety, anger, or guilt, in response to the addict’s behaviour. They may blame themselves for the addict’s actions or try to control their emotions by constantly monitoring and managing the addict’s behaviour.
  • Poor boundaries: Codependents often have difficulty setting and maintaining healthy boundaries. They may tolerate mistreatment, manipulation, or abuse from the addict and have difficulty saying “no” or asserting their needs.
  • Neglected personal well-being: Codependents tend to ignore their well-being, often sacrificing their physical, emotional, and mental health to support and care for the addict. This self-neglect can contribute to high stress, anxiety, and burnout levels.

Addressing codependency requires therapeutic intervention and support. It involves developing healthy boundaries, enhancing self-esteem, establishing a sense of identity separate from the addict, and learning to prioritise one’s physical and mental health.

What is the relationship between codependency and addiction?

Codependency and addiction frequently coexist, reinforcing and exacerbating one another. Individuals struggling with addiction may rely on codependent relationships to enable their destructive behaviour, seeking partners or loved ones who allow or tolerate their substance abuse. On the other hand, codependent individuals may unknowingly contribute to the perpetuation of addiction by enabling the addictive behaviours of their loved ones.

Examples of the dynamic between codependency and addiction can include:

  • Contributing factor to addiction: Codependent individuals may be predisposed to relationships with individuals who struggle with addiction. They may be drawn to people who need their support and desire to rescue or fix them. This dynamic can enable addictive behaviour and perpetuate the cycle of addiction.
  • Enabling behaviour: Codependents often enable behaviours that inadvertently support the addict’s substance abuse or addictive behaviours. They may cover up for the addict, provide financial support, make excuses, or bail them out of trouble. By doing so, they unintentionally reinforce the addictive patterns and hinder the addict’s motivation to seek help.
  • Emotional reliance: Codependents may become emotionally dependent on the addict. They may find a sense of purpose or identity in caring for the addict and derive their self-worth from being needed. This emotional reliance can perpetuate the codependent’s involvement in the addict’s life, even if it means tolerating harmful behaviour.
  • Cycles of dysfunction: Codependency and addiction often exist within a dysfunctional cycle. The addict’s behaviour triggers emotional reactions in the codependent, leading to attempts to control or fix the situation. This, in turn, reinforces the addict’s reliance on the codependent for support, perpetuating the destructive patterns for both individuals.
  • Impact on recovery: In addiction recovery, codependency can present challenges. The codependent enabling behaviour may undermine the addict’s efforts to stay sober or seek treatment. Additionally, if the codependent’s sense of identity is intertwined with taking care of the addict, they may struggle to adjust to a healthier dynamic when the addict begins their recovery journey.

It is important to simultaneously address both codependency and addiction for a comprehensive healing approach. This often involves therapy or support groups for both the addict and the codependent to address their individual needs, establish healthy boundaries, and promote personal growth and recovery.


Codependency and addiction - hands chained together 2


What makes people more likely to become codependent?

Several underlying factors contribute to the development of codependency in the context of addiction. Understanding these factors can explain why certain individuals are more prone to engaging in codependent relationships with individuals struggling with addiction.

Here are some common underlying factors:

  • Childhood trauma and neglect
  • Dysfunctional family dynamics
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of abandonment and rejection
  • Lack of healthy coping mechanisms

It’s important to note that these factors are not definitive or exhaustive, and each individual’s experience may vary. Furthermore, these factors do not guarantee the development of codependency or addiction. However, they can provide insights into the complex interplay between codependency and addiction and help individuals understand the underlying dynamics. Seeking therapy and support within a rehab setting can be instrumental in addressing these underlying factors and fostering healthier relationships.

Does addiction treatment help with codependency?

Throughout your comprehensive rehab treatment programme at Oasis Bradford, you will be provided with a secure and nurturing environment created by our skilled team, who understands the unique challenges of codependency and addiction. An inpatient rehab environment frees you from the daily pressures of life, allowing you to concentrate fully on your recovery from addiction.

We offer various therapies specifically designed to address both codependency and addiction, including:

  • Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): DBT emphasises mindfulness, stress management, and emotional regulation to alleviate codependency symptoms and reduce the inclination towards substance abuse.
  • Detoxification: Detox offers your body an opportunity to eliminate harmful substances with the supervision of medical professionals, ensuring your safety throughout the process.
  • Holistic treatments: Our treatment programme incorporates holistic activities such as yoga, meditation and music therapy. These activities foster a sense of well-being and aid in developing a healthy lifestyle away from codependency and addiction.
  • Group therapy: Group therapy provides a secure and nurturing space where individuals can openly share their experiences with codependency and addiction, gaining insights from others who have faced similar challenges.
  • Family therapy: Family therapy enables you to work on improving your familial relationships and establishes a valuable support network during times of emotional difficulty. It teaches effective communication, healthy boundaries, and repairing any damage caused by addictive and codependent behaviours.

At Oasis Bradford, our commitment is to deliver compassionate and effective care for individuals grappling with codependency and addiction. Throughout your rehab programme, our experienced professionals will be by your side, offering support, encouragement, and guidance at every step.


Codependency and addiction - meditation therapy

Getting help for your codependency and addiction today

If you or someone you care about is struggling with codependency and addiction, know that hope and help are available. By contacting Oasis Bradford today, you can access a compassionate team of experts who understand the complexities of codependency and addiction. We will offer the support, knowledge, and tools necessary to navigate this difficult journey towards recovery.

Contact us today, and take the first step towards breaking free from the chains of codependency and addiction. You deserve support, understanding, and the chance for a brighter tomorrow.