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What is Codependency in Addiction?

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We all know that a healthy relationship requires a significant degree of giving and taking. Whether it is a friendship or an intimate relationship, you will put your own needs aside from time to time to make others feel loved and appreciated. For those in a codependent relationship, one person gives too much of themselves to make the other happy. As a result, they neglect their own health and well-being, and they can develop significant issues, including addiction. When codependency and addiction intertwine, it creates dysfunction to the degree that the relationship is beyond repair.

This article will dive into the question of what codependency in addiction is. We will dive into the connection between codependency and addiction and how codependency enables addicts. Additionally, you will learn where to find codependency addiction recovery. If you are struggling with codependency addiction, Thrive Treatment can help. Call us toll-free today and learn more about our evidence-based codependency addiction treatment programs in Santa Monica, CA.

What is a Codependent Relationship?

Codependent relationships are often referred to as a “relationship addiction”; in fact, they are one-sided and emotionally destructive. Simply defined, a codependent relationship is a circular relationship where one person needs the other, who needs to be needed. The codependent person—known as the giver—sacrifices their well-being for the enabler—known as the taker. The giver in a codependent relationship feels worthless and inadequate unless they fully take care of the needs of the taker.

For those in a codependent relationship, the one in the giver role is unable to find satisfaction in their life outside their relationship. Frequently, the giver recognizes they are in an unhealthy relationship but stays in that relationship. Most importantly, people in codependent relationships give all of their support to the other at the cost of their own physical, psychological, and emotional well-being.

What is Codependency in Addiction?

Given the facts above, there is no surprise that codependency and addiction are strongly connected. In fact, many codependent relationships often have substance abuse issues at their core. This can be a partner taking on responsibility for a loved one’s addiction or the giver having a family history of addiction and being the caretaker for a parent or sibling. To better answer the question of what codependency in addiction is, the following signs show how both conditions go hand in hand:


A common sign of codependency addiction is when the giver in the relationship takes on a caretaking role for the addicted partner. Instead of trying to support the addict in a healthy manner, the caretaker will try to help by manipulating and controlling the addict. Unfortunately, the caretaker enables the addict to continue using without consequence. In fact, the addict controls the caretaker, and the caretaker will continue to help to feel needed and loved.

Putting Others Feelings Before Their Own

Codependent people lack self-esteem and self-worth. As a result, they will focus on their partner’s concerns in hopes of finding self-fulfillment. The codependent often becomes “absorbed” by the addict and will submit to their wants and desires. Eventually, the person in the caretaker role feels increasingly worthless and can be pushed into making unhealthy choices in their own life—including using drugs and alcohol.

Keeping the Relationship Alive by Any Means Necessary

The codependent is “all in” regarding their relationship with the addicted partner. Despite the toxicity of that relationship, the codependent will do anything to keep that relationship alive. To do so, they will rationalize or make excuses for their behavior. Even though the codependent knows what they are doing is wrong, they stay vested due to fear of rejection and losing that relationship.

Inability to Set Boundaries

Codependent people have great difficulty setting healthy boundaries. Boundaries provide a solid division between what is yours and someone else’s, and they protect your feelings, thoughts, and needs. Addicts are excellent manipulators, and they can easily violate whatever boundaries (if any) are provided by the codependent. When the codependent’s boundaries are weak, the codependent feel’s responsible for how others feel. If the boundaries are too rigid, they can withdraw from others and not allow others to get close.

How to Find Therapy for Codependent Relationships

Those struggling with a codependent relationship need to find a specialized therapy program specifically created for this debilitating and destructive behavior. Fortunately, an increasing number of rehabs feature codependency addiction therapy. These specific rehab programs feature couples therapy to help both parties understand their roles in codependent behavior. In addition to couples therapy, codependent therapy programs also utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy and family therapy. Call Thrive Treatment today if you are looking for codependency treatment at a Santa Monica treatment facility. Our skilled and experienced clinical staff administers our evidence-based treatment programs. Our comprehensive programs are individualized to meet your unique needs. Call us today and begin the healing process.

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