Codependency and addiction are often closely linked.  Individuals struggling with addiction may find themselves in codependent relationships.  These relationships are due to the many problems addiction causes in an individual’s life.

These problems often include:

  • Financial trouble
  • Problems maintaining relationships
  • High-risk behaviors
  • A constant need for emotional support
happy family showing life without a codependency relationship and addiction

The constant need for emotional support can lead to overly dependent behavior. In a relationship, both partners have their own needs. It is crucial to have boundaries to respect these needs and wants. The codependent partner may try their best to help their addicted loved one. This can come in the form of enabling their partner’s behavior. In other words, they don’t hold their partner accountable for their actions.

For example, the codependent person may end up engaging in harmful behaviors, like covering up for their partner’s addiction. They may also provide money and other support.

The addicted individual may be codependent in the relationship. In other cases, both individuals engage in codependent behavior. Regardless of the case, both must be treated in a recovery program.

A Note for Individuals Struggling with Codependency and Addiction

The process of realizing you have a problem is painful. Being honest with yourself is painful. Waking up to reality is painful. But the pain that comes with awakening is a beautiful thing. The truth will pave the way for a meaningful and purposeful life. Living in lies will only hurt you in the long run. We’re not here to sugarcoat the process. Rather, we want to show you that the pain you’re feeling can be used to propel you forward in ways you never imagined. This may seem daunting at first but we all need a healthy dose of adversity to have a fulfilling life. You can use the suffering of your past to create a life more beautiful than you ever thought possible.

It’s not about the hardship itself, but the framework in which you view the hardship. Through extensive therapeutic methods as well as support groups and resources, you’ll uncover massive potential within yourself. Codependency and addiction don’t deserve to take over your life. Taking the steps to educate yourself and seek help can return your freedom to you.

What is Addiction?

Addiction, also referred to as substance use disorder is a disease that affects an individual’s brain and behavior. This leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. Substances include alcohol, marijuana, heroin, prescription painkillers, cocaine, and many others.

Addiction can begin with the experimental use of a recreational drug in social situations until it becomes a habit. For others, especially with opioids, drug addiction can start as a result of exposure to prescribed medications.

As time passes, you may need larger doses to get high. The more you use the substance, the more you begin to be mentally and physically dependent on it. Your brain and body begin to chemically adapt to the drug which results in tolerance and withdrawal. This is because your body becomes dependent on the substance. Attempting to stop can lead to severe and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

an addicted person with prescription drugs and alcohol abuse problem

What are the Symptoms of Addiction?

To understand the recovery process for substance abuse and codependent behaviors, we must first educate ourselves on the signs of substance abuse. The signs of addiction vary from person to person. Different drugs may elicit varied signs of addiction.

It is also worth noting that each person struggling with addiction is a unique case. It’s important, to be honest about where you or a loved one is at. In some cases, one sign may be enough to show that addiction is taking place. In other situations, you may find that all the symptoms are occurring.

However, there are general symptoms one can look out for. These include but are not limited to.

  1. Uncontrollable drug-seeking behavior
  2. Little to no interest in activities that once brought joy
  3. Constantly thinking about when you’ll be able to use it again
  4. Problems with relationships, which often involves lashing out at people who identify the substance abuse
  5. Work/School related-problems, such as failure to complete tasks
  6. Secretive behavior, such as hiding substances, paraphernalia, and behaviors
  7. Significant changes in appearance, such as poor hygiene
  8. Increased risk-taking, both to get the substance and while using it

What Is Codependency?

Codependency is a type of dysfunctional relationship where a person’s self-worth, emotional needs and own interests become dependent upon the other person. The codependent person may also enable the other person’s toxic habits without necessarily intending to. Healthy relationships strive to have an equal balance of giving and take. Both partners strive to fulfill each other’s needs in a mutually beneficial way.

In a codependent relationship, there’s an imbalance of power that often favors the needs of the taker. This can result in a draining relationship with toxic consequences. As you read through this guide, be honest with yourself about what signs may relate to you.

If you’re unsure of where your relationship falls into, it may help to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is your sense of purpose centered around making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner’s needs?
  2. Do you find it difficult to say no when your partner makes demands that require your time and energy?
  3. Do you cover your partner’s problems with drugs, alcohol, or the law?
  4. Do you feel trapped in your relationship?
  5. Do you keep quiet to avoid conflict with your partner?

What are the Symptoms of Codependency?

The signs of codependency will also vary from relationship to relationship. You may only resonate with one or two signs. In other cases, all of these may hit home for you.

The following signs of codependency include:

Poor Self-Esteem

Having a low image of yourself can lead to seeking external validation. This validation serves as a way to search for confidence outside of yourself. Consequently, this can lead to a person depending on their partner for self-esteem.

codependent person has low self esteem

Poor Boundaries

Imagine boundaries as an imaginary line between you and others. This line separates your unique thoughts, needs, and wants from another individual. Codependents may feel responsible for other people’s feelings and problems.


A consequence of poor boundaries is that you react to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. As a result, you may find yourself getting easily offended. You absorb their words because there’s no healthy boundaries. This leads to defensive behavior.


You may find yourself in a position where you give up your needs to try and make the other person happy. It’s natural to feel empathy and sympathy for someone, but codependents put those people ahead of themselves.


Control gives codependents a sense of safety and security. It’s normal to want control in your life. You wouldn’t want to live in constant uncertainty and chaos. However, codependents can become overly controlling. Codependents may find themselves trying to change people around them so that they can feel okay.

Dysfunctional Communication

Those struggling with codependency have trouble communicating their thoughts, feelings, and needs. This can arise as a result of being scared to push somebody that you love away. Instead of saying, “I don’t like that,” you might pretend everything is okay instead.

Communication is key in any healthy relationship. If you’re unclear about how you feel, the relationship may end up quite dishonest.

Intimacy Issues

Intimacy issues often involve problematic behavior in relationships. For example, you may become overly dependent and clingy due as a result of weak boundaries. You may fear that you’ll be judged, rejected, or left. In other cases, you may be scared of losing your autonomy thus pushing somebody you love away.

Emotional Pain

Codependency can be very stress-inducing. This is especially true when addiction is involved.  This distress can consequently lead to painful emotions. Shame, low self-esteem, and lack of self-respect can cause anxiety and fear.

This anxiety often stems from:

  1. Fear of being judged, rejected, or abandoned
  2. Making mistakes
  3. Feeling trapped when you’re alone

How do Codependency and Addiction Connect?

Codependent relationships are inherently dysfunctional and toxic to both partners. Codependency becomes especially complicated when addiction enters the picture. For example, let’s imagine two partners; one of which is suffering from alcoholism. The desire to please and avoid rejection can cause the codependent individual to enable the addiction.

In this situation, both the addiction and the codependency must be acknowledged, understood, and worked through in treatment. If your significant other is developing addictions, your efforts to help them may do the opposite. Although the intention may be genuine and rooted in empathy, the actions can end up being damaging.

In the instance that you have untreated psychological issues, your efforts may end up hurting the situation as well as yourself. Fortunately, recovery becomes possible when you take the time to honestly assess your current situation.

Navigating Recovery: How Can I Recognize A Codependent Relationship?

Navigating codependency and addiction means being aware of toxic patterns that inevitably lead to pain. As discussed above, there are symptoms of codependency that you can look out for.

The following signs can be used as additional information that can be assessed to analyze a potentially codependent relationship.

You Feel It Is Your Responsibility to Fix Your Partner’s Addiction.

Codependency and addiction in a relationship often result in one person trying to solve the other’s addiction. It’s important to keep in mind that your partner is the one with the addiction.

If you’re putting immense pressure on yourself, then it’s time to take a step back. It is the addicted individual’s personality to take the necessary steps to overcome addiction. If they consistently abuse despite your efforts to help, it is not your fault.

This need may be caused by fear and anxiety over losing your loved one. Damaged self-esteem also plays a role as it can make you feel accountable for everything that goes wrong in your own life.

Unfortunately, overly helping can lead to enabling behaviors. A person with addiction must understand that it is entirely in their hands to make the necessary changes to overcome addiction. No matter how hard you try, it is ultimately their decision.

Your Partner’s Substance Abuse Problem Makes You Feel Unappreciated and Unloved

When your loved one has an addiction, they may react to your attempts to help with hostility or defensiveness. Your partner may disregard your genuine help and care which then results in painful emotions. It is important not to take this behavior and rejection personally. It is a common behavioral pattern that addicted individuals show. However, a poor self-image makes it difficult to see things from this perspective. The poor self-image frequently leads to sensitivity to others’ words. Especially, when those words are coming from someone you love and care for.

You Occasionally Use Guilt and Shame to Try and Change Your Significant Other

Codependency and addiction in a relationship can ensue manipulative behavior. You may begin using your significant other’s emotions, guilt, shame, or embarrassment to control their behavior. Sooner or later, this method will prove to be unsuccessful. Imagine an instance where your loved one decides to enroll in a treatment program because of manipulative tactics. Although this may initially seem like a positive thing, keep in mind that the individual did not go there by choice. They may easily fall back into addiction because they never wanted to change in the first place.

You Consistently Feel Like the Victim

Despite your frequent attempts to “fix” your partner, you often feel helpless and vulnerable. Codependency and addiction can leave you feeling painfully powerless.

Relationships built on codependent principles do not have a strong foundation. Constantly feeling like you have no control will only hurt you. The issues in a codependent relationship must be addressed and worked through to move forward. Codependent individuals that feel like victims will never truly feel empowered. Thus, action towards an addicted and codependent family member or partner must be taken.

What are the Levels of Care for Codependency and Addiction Recovery?

There are varying levels of care offered at our recovery center for your partner or family members. The program best suited for you will depend upon your unique needs and situation.

Keep reading to receive a brief overview of the levels of care that we offer for substance abuse and mental illness treatment.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

Residential Treatment is the highest level of care for individuals struggling with codependency and addiction. Members of our recovery center will take part in a daily structured routine each day.

This routine will include a combination of evidence-based therapies, treatment methods, community support, and medical care. which will incorporate different kinds of therapies and medical care if necessary.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

partial hospitalization program (PHP) offers a high level of care without requiring the person to live at our recovery center. Members of PHPs will travel to our center to receive codependency addiction treatment sessions for several hours each day, three to five days per week.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment allows your addicted partner to return home after treatment. Treatment also includes many evidence-based methods such as group therapy and one-on-one sessions with a therapist.

There are varying levels of care within outpatient treatment programs, such as intensive outpatient treatment.

codependent person undergoing addiction treatment

Recovery is Possible: Reach Out To Us Today So We Can Show You!

Taking the first step and seeking help is the only way to commit to drug abuse and codependent behavior recovery. Remember, you have the power to turn your pain into massive long-term growth. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here.

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