The Codependency and Drug Addiction Cycle
Codependents and drug addicts commonly go hand in hand. Feeding off each other, one feels as though they can not live without the other. Drug addiction is a deadly disease that not only affects the drug addict, but their loved ones as well. One unfortunate characteristic of a drug addict is their disinterest for the well-being of themselves as well as others. Friends and families of the drug addict are often forced to detach from their loved one because of the harmful behavior associated with the disease. But, there are those that don’t break ties with the addict, but in fact find themselves even more attached – codependent.
Codependency in regard to relationships, is when one person enables and supports the unhealthy behaviors of the other. Codependents have an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on the addict, which the addict feeds off of. A beautiful disaster.
Why are Codependents Drawn to Drug Addicts?
It is common for certain people to cling to people who carry the characteristic traits of drug addicts or are in active addiction. Why do these people willingly involve themselves with people who exhibit extremely self-destructive behavioral patterns?
One theory is that certain people have a strong desire to be needed and find joy in being the shoulder to cry on. They find fulfillment in being a savior of sorts to a person that is struggling with drug addiction. Often times it can be quite counter-productive as the codependent can become an enabler to suffice his or her needs.
Many people who have been codependent on drug addicts have reported as being reserved and not prone to taking risks. Many drug addicts tend to be very outgoing and are highly prone to taking risks and being more adventurous. Codependent people tend to be attracted to those qualities in a person.
Codependency stems from an older psychoanalytic condition of passive dependent personality where a person tends to attach themselves to stronger personalities. Drug addicts are often strong minded and hypersensitive which are traits that are distorted and numbed through drug abuse.
People who are codependent tend to be kind-hearted and overly altruistic. Many of whom also tend to have lower self-esteems than normal.
The Author’s Story of Heroin Addiction
After 15 years of Heroin abuse, I am happy to say that I am clean and living a life of integrity. The years of drug abuse have made me the wiser and only now am I able to reflect on the arduous journey that has led me to the present. Getting involved in codependent relationships both romantic and platonic have influenced my perspective.
The relationships that were seemingly codependent in my journey tended to be unhealthy because I was unwilling to help myself when others were. They would enable and support me even when it was detrimental to their own well-being. During the time of my active addiction, I always took advantage of their need to be needed and even though it was not something that I am proud of, it taught me the kind of relationship I wanted now that I am sober.
My last relationship in active addiction was more toxic than any others that I can recall. My wife at the time was not only a codependent, but a fellow Heroin user, making our relationship the deadliest in my life. Feeding on each other’s addiction caused our healthy relationship to turn toxic for our marriage. Being trapped in the self-centered mind-set made me prone to take advantage of her kind heart. She was such a phenomenal human being, and recollecting sparks regret and shame for the pain I caused her. But she loved to help me and I loved it when she would lose herself in my selfish tendencies.
All I can do is use the knowledge obtained from my past to help those who are suffering from codependency or taking advantage of a codependent person.
If you are codependent, please know that you are kind-hearted and deserve to be treated as such. You do not need an unhealthy relationship to be worthy. Make your suffering counter-part be deserving of you. You are worth fighting for. You are worth getting clean for. I know this to be an absolute fact.
If you are in a relationship with a codependent person, please make the effort to break away from your self-centered mind-set and recognize the beauty and undeniable value of your significant other. They do not have to succumb to your needs to prove their worth. I can guarantee that it will run its course and you will one day regret pushing away that special person.