Codependency is the Emotional Foundation for Addiction

I was what was termed a “high-bottom” drunk because I suffered no rejection because of my alcohol use. In fact, when I quit, most of the drinkers I knew said that I couldn’t be an alcoholic because they drank more than I did. I always related in meetings that you don’t have to get hit by the train to hear the whistle blowing. That statement shut up my loudest critics. I can’t say that I was deeply loved for it though.

But I was fortunate to have a father who had progressed farther in his drinking career and I realized I was going in the same direction. He and I became best friends later after he quit drinking also. How beautiful it was for Dad, Mom and me to be in recovery together. I only say was because they are waiting for me in Heaven. I know they are still here with me also.

Codependents are a trip though. Mom was forever calling me up to say now this isn’t being codependent, is it? I would just laugh because I loved her so and tell her that she wouldn’t be calling me if she didn’t know that whatever she had done was being codependent.

I believe codependents (which I believe means all of us at one time or another) have the hardest recovery because the world rewards us for our behavior. Anyone who smells of alcohol, slurs their words and wants to fight the lamppost doesn’t get rewarded.

I didn’t understand that my codependency was my main addiction until I was 69 years old. Nov. 24, 1976 was when I began my alcohol addiction recovery. And I have recovered from some other addictions as well. But the codependency was what I based my happiness on. I felt good helping others. I still help others. But now I go through some checks and balances that I am not in a one-sided relationship. I was the top-dog–no problems and no help needed. the problem is that I lose self-respect when I allow someone to take advantage of me. So I live now with a rule that I will help someone 2 times. Then if they show no inclination to help me with my life, I move on to helping someone else.

From Anything is Possible: “Getting Real About My Mess”:

“Codependency is still part of my life. After years of recovery meetings, step work, and reading daily meditations for codependents, I still worry too much about other people’s mess – what they think about me, how I might be able to fix help them, etc. But I’m making progress. I don’t let codependency run my life like it used to. I’m a “Recovering People Pleaser,” but some days, I’m still too nice. Or when I’m not nice, because I’m tired of being nice, I feel guilty. The good thing is I feel guilty for minutes or hours instead of days and weeks.

I struggle to let go of my adult children. Not as much in my actions as in my thoughts. Their lifestyles and beliefs are not what I imagined for them. I worry about them. I know some of that’s normal. My parents must have felt the same way about me. But it sure is uncomfortable sometimes. I’m slowly learning to let go.

I’m still more sensitive than I’d like to be. My feelings can get hurt by little things which don’t seem little and which I dwell on too long. Intellectually, I can tell myself all kinds of reasons not to let it get to me, but it’s a struggle.

With all this residual sensitivity and codependency, I get to work on issues with the love of my life. We both have issues. Now we get to work on them together. That’s why we are in the relationships we’re in. And to support each other and have fun. Let’s not forget that!”

Photo credit.

One comment

  1. I appreciate you including me here and your insights about how hard recovery can be. Society does reward codependent behavior. I like the clarification about losing self-respect when I allow someone to take advantage of me. A couple of days ago I felt guilty for not helping someone. But something about the situation reminded me of having been taken advantage of. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to trust my gut. Yep. I needed this reminder!


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