Living with addiction means our addiction impacts every single area of our lives. We can see the drastic effects of our addiction everywhere in our lives, and very visibly on the health of our relationships. When we’re addicted, we often attract other addicts, and our relationships are built on a foundation of unhealthiness and instability.
Addiction presents itself in our relationships in various ways. Codependence is one of them. We are not only dependent on our addictive substances and behaviors, we also become dependent upon each other. Our unhealthy relationships can be based on toxicity, attachment and lack of independence. Our relationships become codependent in nature, and we struggle to function independently, to hold onto our own identities and to feel whole within ourselves. We feel like we need the other person to survive. We feel like we can’t live without them. Our relationships are not comprised of two healthy people coming together to share of themselves. Instead, they are two broken people full of insecurity and pain bringing their issues into the mix and bringing each other down. Healthy unions are practically impossible in this kind of climate. Our relationships are so full of our fears and unresolved issues that there is little room for growth and healing. We subconsciously hope that we’ll get better, that the other person will change, that somehow our love will conquer all and cure us. For many of us, though, our relationships only exacerbate our existing problems. We fall deeper into our depressions. We become unhappier and more afraid.
When our relationships grow from a foundation of addiction, they often have nowhere to go but down. We have a tendency to enable each other’s destructive habits and addictive behaviors. We perpetuate each other’s patterns. We make excuses for each other, we lie for each other, we cover up each other’s problems. Our relationship can become a safe haven for our addiction to fester undisturbed. We retreat into the comfort and distraction of the relationship rather than face ourselves. Any willpower we might have had can go right out the window when the people we love are urging us to drink or use with them. We trust the people we’re with, and subconsciously we want to believe that they have our best interest at heart. When they themselves are addicts, though, they don’t have the clarity or peace of mind to act in your best interest, let alone their own. Our self-destructiveness becomes a joint effort, and we self-destruct together. We cause ourselves and each other increased pain, adding a growing list of issues to heal from onto our already existing unresolved issues.
Recovery requires that we take inventory of everything in our lives that is detracting from our capacity for healing, and this often includes our relationships.
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