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Opinion: Why are so many people in recovery codependent?For those of us in recovery we have come to the realization that our addiction to drugs and alcohol is only a part of the problem. In fact many of us have come to the realization that drugs and alcohol weren’t even part of the problem but were actually the solution to our problems. And if this is the case, then what is the problem? Well, the problem is the discontent, the hole in the soul, the restlessness, the trying to get outside of ourselves by using people or things to make us feel better. And this, this search for absolutely anything to solve the actual problem is what I believe leads many people in recovery to be codependent.

What is codependency?

It is uneasiness with one’s self. It is not accepting who you are. It is looking for that “something” to make you feel complete in another person. It is using people to solve your “soul” problem.

I like to simply think of codependency as like an addiction to a person instead of drugs and alcohol. Codependency is when we rely on someone to make us happy just like we used to rely on drugs and alcohol to make us happy. And when something makes us happy, guess what we do? We latch onto it. We don’t want to ever lose it! And we will do everything we possibly can to keep it. Unfortunately, latching on to people and doing everything possible to keep them doesn’t work out so well because, well, they are human beings. And just like we do what we want, so do they.

Why so many people in recovery are codependent and how it affects them

It is only natural for an addict who has just given up their drugs to seek out some kind of other “solution”. For most addicts and alcoholics in recovery this tends to be in the shape of a person. Why do you think so many early timers end up in relationships? Why do you think rehab romances happen? Why do you think these relationships are so unhealthy?

The relationships formed out of a “need” to be filled or completed; the relationships that are codependent are based on selfishness. Codependency arises from the belief that you aren’t enough on your own. This belief could encompass the thought that you don’t have enough love inside of yourself when the truth is the love inside of you is infinite. The only reason you would need love from outside things is because you are under the false belief that you don’t already have tons of it within you. You don’t actually need someone to fulfill that part of you.

We give in order to recieve. Once you realize all of this you can then begin to give in your relationships and you will want to give to someone a part of the infinite love you have, instead of needing to take what love they have for yourself to be ok (codependency).

Codependency also I believe arises out fear and the need to possess. The truth is you can never own someone. No person ever is actually yours. It isn’t your friend; it isn’t your boyfriend or girlfriend. How do I know this?

Because eventually that person will leave; either through death, or a geographical change, or the relationship ending; whatever it is this person doesn’t belong to you because eventually they will leave you. If they belonged to you this wouldn’t be possible. Everything disappears at some point, nothing truly belongs to you. We are all just passing and meeting and interacting in this time and space for right now. Realizing that no person is yours, but is just another speck of the universe created to spend some time with you can help with codependency. People belong to their own higher power and their own reality. Not to you.

Of course these things that I believe are what I learned through my first year of sobriety. As a newcomer I wasn’t aware of this. It wasn’t until after a few goof ups that I finally realized the true meaning of love which is very different than codependency.


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