Your Role in Your Loved One’s Recovery

Breaking free of codependency

Codependency is when we try to cope with the destructive behavior of another person by controlling their behavior and actions. With the goal of helping a loved one, we take time off work, devote less attention to other members of the family and ourselves, and deplete savings and financial resources. Sometimes the actions we take actually enable the destructive behaviors to continue.  To truly help the person we love, we must stop enabling them and trying to control their behaviors. We have to let go. Learning to let go is one of the most difficult challenges the parent of an addicted child faces. It’s an ongoing —yet ultimately liberating—process. Group members in Learn to Cope provide each other with strength and encouragement, forming a supportive community that makes it more likely for our loved ones to recover.

 

Enabling Behaviors Include

  • Trying to control another person’s behavior and the consequences of those behaviors
  • Doing for another what they are capable of doing on their own
  • Making decisions that allow codependency to continue
  • Neglecting your own needs and the needs of other family members
  • Giving a message that says, “I don’t think you can make it on your own”
  • Being more concerned with being a “good” friend than with your own well-being
  • Being trapped in a destructive cycle of giving more and more while increasingly neglecting one’s own needs

Letting go….hmmmmmmm… well that’s the thing, isn’t it?

“I’ve “let go” about a million times. Maybe I need to do it a million more? I let go then “pick up” again during a crisis – and I’ve had a few of those through this thing.

We let go when everything’s going good…that’s easy – a snap, no problem. I don’t have to think about this 24/7…But when our child is doing badly, letting go is hard, hard, hard…but I am a MOTHER and we just don’t let go of that hand easily. It takes physical effort, muscles that we weren’t born with; it takes the same labor we brought them into the world with to do. It’s a work in progress every day but it doesn’t come without pain.

What my daughter’s addiction has done to me and my family this year:

  • Made me cry 365 days
  • Run the gamut of emotions from hatred and loathing to love, hope and forgiveness
  • Taken time away from my two other children, their problems and concerns
  • Logged thousands of miles taking her to rehabs and places to stay because she can’t stay here
  • Spoken to at least 100 nurses, clinicians, state senators, co-workers, neighbors, and creditors. People who, if I had a choice, wouldn’t even know about her addiction
  • Taken my marriage to new heights of patience and forgiveness and tolerance than I EVER envisioned when we got married 26 years ago
  • Have talked seriously with my husband about burying our child
  • Have brought our child to life twice
  • And I still hope she can pull it together and that I’m here on this earth to see it, so… letting go…well yeah, I’m working on that…”
Mary, a mother and Learn to Cope group member