Do you ever find yourself so focused on something and someone else that you almost don’t even remember what you did all day?
It is as if you have been in a daze all day…almost like you have been hypnotized.
You might find yourself fixated on one person always thinking:
- What are they doing?
- Are they using me?
- Should I be helping them instead?
Oftentimes, those who love and/or live with an addict find themselves in this situation – especially parents and spouses.
By definition, codependence is an unhealthy relationship in where one person helps or enables another person’s addiction – whether it be drugs, alcohol, sex, or something else.
Typically, this is seen in parents as they feel obligated to give their child money, but then the child is just going and using that for drugs and alcohol so therefore, the parent is enabling them.
However, this can also be seen when the parent or spouse just feels guilty for not monitoring the person. For example, they might go on vacation and feel guilty the entire time because the addict is at home alone which leaves them susceptible to abusing their substance of choice.
So, can you really overcome the sadness and anxiety that stems from codependence?
Yes. But, it is not easy.
You are not the addict.
While you might almost feel as though you are, you are not the one who is addicted. The addict is making their own decisions. You have to remember that they are an adult and have free will.
Just don’t do it.
If you are the person who is giving them money or something that you know is enabling them – don’t. Instead, buy them food or clothes, whatever it is they claim they need the money for. This can be compared to how some people will only give homeless people food or gift cards rather than cash. Unfortunately, this is how it has to be with addicts too.
You are not responsible.
If you are the other type of codependent and just feel guilty for not monitoring them constantly, remind yourself that you are not responsible for them. Don’t dwell on that you could be home instead of on vacation or that you could have sent them to rehab instead of buying a new car.
The reality of it is that you still have to live your life and for their recovery to be successful, it has to start with their own decision to make a difference.
Guilt felt by the outsiders in the life of an addict can be great. It can leave you feeling as though you are the addict. Just remember, do the best you can but continue living your life and avoid things that enable their addiction.