Recovering from Codependent Relationships

Close to twenty million Americans battle addiction each year but many are winning the war.

Nearly 10% of American adults are in recovery from addiction and most will tell you it was the best decision of their life.

While most of those changes are welcome and positive in their lives as they gain control over their addiction there are some things that are difficult to adjust to.

One of the biggest challenges can be how the codependent relationships that existed in the midst of addiction need to evolve. Now that you’re getting healthier they need to be healthier and supportive of recovery.

If those relationships don’t change as the person makes healthier and happier choices there can be a backlash or negative effects on the relationship and the path to sober living.

Keep reading for tips on recovering from codependent relationships and how to encourage a healthier more supportive connection with the people you care about.

Honesty is the Best Policy 

The best thing you can do for yourself, your loved ones, and your relationship is to be honest. Be honest about how you feel, what you need and what you think. 

Addiction is often shrouded in secrecy, dishonesty, and manipulation. When the focus of the addiction is now shifted to recovery it can be hard to change. Many other behaviors, relationships, and feelings have become habits and are used as coping mechanisms. 

It will be an adjustment for the addict and the people in their lives. Trust, honesty and healthy communication will take time to build. The relationship won’t change at all if you don’t consciously work at it.

Talk About It

Communication is something that takes practice. It requires two people to work at it and build trust with each other. That can only happen as you both open up about what you need.

This may be in the form of asking them for more support or expressing to them that you were hurt by something they said or did.

Your loved one can’t know what effect their words and behaviors are having on your emotions and overall recovery. This is an adjustment for both of you. Addiction affects everyone involved.

Each person will need time, patience and commitment to make healthier choices.

Talking about the things each of you need can help the other person know how to offer support.

It can help you both recognize and change what is not working in the relationship. It will also help you know whether they are willing to work on being healthier.

You have expressed how they can support you in being healthy and it is now up to them whether they choose to be positive.  They may be excited to be a part of your recovery or they may choose to be something you need recovery from.

You Do You

Many people are afraid or unwilling to change which means no matter how much you want a healthy relationship with a loved one it just can’t happen.

There may be some toxic relationships that you have to accept as they are and not let someone else’s unwillingness to make healthier choices affect your recovery. 

Find the people in your life that are supportive of your positive choices and that want to see you succeed. Gain strength from them and remember that you deserve a happy life.

If others don’t see your worth and want your life to be happy then you may need to reevaluate their place in your life and the weight their opinion has.

I Got Issues, You Have Them Too

Everybody has their own set of issues, have struggled through their own personal hell and developed their own coping mechanisms to get through life.

Some people are aware of their own issues and try to work on self-improvement. Others may not even realize the issues they have. It can be helpful to remember this when interacting with your loved ones. 

You don’t have to accept toxic behavior in your life. It can be easier to accept the weaknesses, choices, and defensiveness of loved ones if you work at understanding where their behavior stems from. 

Most times people that hurt others are coming from a place of hurt themselves. This doesn’t mean their behavior is acceptable or that you should put up with it. It does make it easier for you to realize it may be their issue and pain that needs working through.

Time Goes On So Carry On

Taking responsibility for your own life and actions can be an empowering and liberating feeling. You are a changed person but it can take time for others to trust that change. 

It may take you a lot of time to build trust with loved ones who witnessed and were affected by your addiction. Some choices you made or situations in the past may have led to hard feelings and lack of trust. This is common when addiction comes into play.

The only thing you can do is to live your best life and carry on with your recovery, no matter what anyone else’s reaction is.

There may be some hesitation to trust you. As time goes on trust can be built within the relationship and it can be changed to a positive, supportive force in your life.

Forgive and Forget

Every relationship has ups and downs. Rarely does a relationship exist where there haven’t been disagreements when feelings can be hurt.

Forgiving someone isn’t about accepting negative or toxic behavior. It is about not letting someone else’s toxic or negative behavior continue to hurt or manipulate your emotions. You let go of it and focus on your own peace.

You may need to not only forgive the other person but to forgive yourself for the choices you made. You need to know you deserve better than to be treated poorly and set boundaries for yourself and others to follow. 

Codependent Relationships Can Improve

Don’t let only habits or dynamics remain just because that was how they’ve always been. Codependent relationships can improve and grow as you work on your own self-improvement.

You can be a shining example and mentor for your loved ones by working on yourself, setting boundaries and living your best life.

If you or a loved one needs support living your best sober life connect with us today.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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