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Codependency and Substance Abuse Treatment

by Landmark Recovery

June 28, 2022
A pile of newspaper clippings that all have the word codependency on them, which takes the focus off substance abuse treatment.

Codependency is a learned, behavioral, emotional condition preventing you from living a healthy, productive life. It does this by making your relationships dysfunctional. It’s not just the people addicted to drugs or alcohol who need help. It’s also those in codependent relationships with people in need of substance abuse treatment. Keep in mind: the definition of codependency varies so broadly that defining it gets complicated. That said, one key observation will typically spot an enabler in the mix. 

Mental Health America and countless other organizations have presented thoroughly comprehensive descriptions of the traits and patterns of codependency. They’ve especially analyzed codependent persons linked to others experiencing addiction. These relationships are often one-sided, emotionally destructive and can become abusive. For those in a codependent relationship with someone abusing drugs or alcohol, there is a way out. Landmark Recovery can help you.  Here’s a look at patterns and distinguishing characteristics of codependency: 


Many codependents assume others can’t care for themselves, which is at the root of a subset of codependent behaviors. They offer a lot of advice and resent those who decline that advice. Then, resentment leads them to avoid those people. However, this is like a test. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they’re looking for a personality onto which they can latch. That’s someone whose thoughts, actions and feelings they can efficiently influence. 


By and large, codependents are generally very loyal. As a result, they often stay in relationships that are potentially harmful for too long. They set aside their own interests in order to accomplish what others want. Codependents are hyper-vigilant about the sentiments of others, yet they frequently assume those same feelings themselves. They also sacrifice their own principles and integrity in order to prevent rejection or hostility. 

Withdrawal Couple enabling each other via codependency instead of helping each other seek substance abuse treatment.

Codependents often hold the belief that other people are incapable of taking care of themselves in certain circumstances. They make it a point to try to persuade other people of what they should think, do, or feel, readily provide counsel and guidance without being asked, and feel angry when other people turn down their assistance or refuse their advice. 


Codependents often reduce, distort, or reject their emotions, and they may also have difficulties recognizing such sensations. In addition to this, they think of themselves as entirely selfless and devoted to the welfare of others, and they believe that they do not need any assistance in order to care for themselves. 

Low Self-Esteem 

Codependents generally have trouble making choices, severely evaluate what they think, say, or do, perceive their acts as never being good enough, and feel humiliated when they get acknowledgment, praise, or presents. Codependents are also more likely to blame others for their problems. 

Dynamics of codependent Relationships 

There is a possibility that some codependents have the idea that they can alleviate someone else’s pain. As a result, codependents may unintentionally encourage their loved ones to engage in dangerous conduct and feed their self-esteem and self-worth by enabling this behavior. That’s often where the rubber meets the road when it comes to substance abuse. Finally, a caregiver who is codependent may get resentful as a result of the other person becoming unduly dependent on it. 

Codependents can’t develop or sustain good relationships or healthy identities if they’re in a relationship with someone who allows their caretaking or excuse-making activities to continue. codependents fall into one of three general categories. In addition to this, there are codependent relationships based on addiction, abuse, and peer pressure among others. In the case of addiction, rehabilitation or even the consideration for treatment is often hindered by the relationship unless the person with the codependent traits is convinced to engage. 

What’s the Treatment for Codependency?

A person’s upbringing may be the source of codependency, thus therapy generally includes an examination of that person’s early experiences and their connection to present harmful behaviors. In addition to individual and group therapy, treatment involves educational sessions, experience groups, and individual and group therapy for codependents. 

Furthermore, the treatment aims to assist patients in reclaiming sentiments that were suppressed as children and reestablishing familial ties. The ultimate aim is for them to be able to feel all of their emotions once again. The good news is that there is recovery outpatient rehab available if you or someone you care about has been reliant on another person’s drug usage or has become sad or worried as a result of their reliance. 

Codependents with a family history of drug misuse may benefit from therapy — even aside from substance abuse treatment, though that may also be necessary — and other forms of assistance in order to regain their independence. Anxiety and depression may make it difficult for people with these conditions to feel powerful in their lives. It’s possible to change; A treatment center can help you choose whether residential treatment is the best choice for you. 

Where Does It Come From? 

Codependency is an acquired habit, but it can be handed down from generation to generation. People who suffer from this condition struggle to form healthy, mutually gratifying relationships with others. The word “codependent” was originally used to describe people who were in a relationship with someone who was addicted to drugs or alcohol. 

Relationship addiction is a term now used to describe a tendency toward a different type of codependency wherein one develops or perpetuates one-sided, emotionally harmful, or violent relationships. Years of research into the families of alcoholics yielded consensus about the condition being legitimate roughly ten years ago. A child learns codependent behavior by seeing and mimicking the conduct of other family members. People who are close to someone who is struggling with substance abuse like opioid addiction and marijuana addiction may similarly find themselves in a codependent situation. 

Persons who are in relationships with someone who is chronically sick or who mentally ill show similar tendencies. However, the definition of the word “codependent” has since been widened to include anybody who is a member of a dysfunctional family. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction Landmark Recovery can help. Call our admissions team today at 888-448-0302 to learn more about our treatment options.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.