Being in a relationship with someone who has a drug addiction can be a painful and complicated ordeal for both people involved. In many situations, an issue of codependency can make the problem even worse and create a barrier for resolving or ending the relationship. Often codependency can develop when one person has an addiction because their partner diminishes their own needs in order to help the addict with all of their problems.
Drug or alcohol abuse can make relationships more volatile, lead to more frequent arguments and fights or create distance between partners. When codependency develops a certain cycle occurs which can perpetuate the addiction and the negative aspects of the relationship indefinitely. Until the addict gets help for the substance abuse and the codependent partner learns to distance themselves from the situation, the cycle will become more destructive over time.
Unfortunately drug addiction codependency often go hand in hand and make it very difficult for each individual to move on and make healthier choices. In order for the relationship to be resolved, both people need to focus on their individual issues and how they both affect their connection to each other. Both behaviors must be minimized or eliminated in order for the marriage or partnership to work.
How Codependency Occurs with Addiction
There are many reasons that drug addiction can lead to codependency in a relationship. Typically a drug abuser can become manipulative and learn how to get their partner to behave in ways that allow them to continue using drugs. They can figure out ways to get their partner to lend them money or forgive them for any mistakes because they have such a strong influence on them.
The codependent partner in the relationship can quickly become an enabler for the addict. Because they care about them and want to help them they may allow them to continue their abuse by hiding their behavior, covering up for them or even lying to other people about their drug habit. They will often put their own needs aside because they want the relationship to work and are afraid of confronting their partner about the addiction.
A codependent person may simply be passive in allowing their partner to behave recklessly and will always try to help them instead of allowing them to experience their own negative consequences. This type of enabling behavior can keep the person addicted because they don’t realize the impact that their abuse really has. A codependent person may give up a lot of their own identity so that they can satisfy their partner’s needs and may stay quiet about how the addiction is hurting them.
Ending the Cycle of Addiction and Codependency
A codependent relationship where one person abuses alcohol can cause more problems to occur over time and both issues tend to grow worse. These kinds of relationships often end drastically and can be difficult to repair. However, if both individuals seek treatment and help then it is possible to save the relationship or allow it to end constructively.
It is crucial in any relationship where one partner has an addiction for that person to attend rehab treatment and get the help they need to become sober. There is no way for a relationship to function in a healthy way if one person is severely abusing drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse creates instability and a marriage cannot survive with that element always causing issues.
If the addict chooses to seek treatment then it is also important for the enabler or the codependent partner to look for a support group or a therapist that can help them resolve their own problems. They may not be aware of how their behavior helped perpetuate their partner’s addiction and they need to learn how to be supportive of their sobriety while also taking care of their own personal needs. Support groups for partners of addicts and codependent people are available to provide knowledge and guidance for those in need of help.
It can also be very helpful for the relationship if the partners both attend couples or family therapy. This may be available through the rehab program or an independent therapist who has experience with both addiction and codependency. Seeking help alone and together can help each person in the relationship resolve their own issues and the problems that they experience with each other.
To end the cycle of a codependent relationship and drug addiction there are plenty of resources that are available for both issues. As the addict recovers from their addiction and the enabler learns to be more independent the relationship may change significantly. Whether the couple chooses to stay together or go their separate ways it is important that they both take care of themselves and manage their problems so that they don’t continue down the dangerous path of codependency.