Co-dependency is a behavior that sometimes is classified as a “relationship addiction”. It is an unhealthy obsession with a relationship in which the co-dependent partner becomes dependent on the other even if the relationship is toxic or abusive. It is most commonly referenced when someone has a relationship with a loved one or spouse who is in active addiction.

Co-dependent relationships deter the possibility to have a meaningful and healthy relationship. Co-dependent people have good intentions but are not living a healthy life. They may try to take care of the addict or alcoholic they are involved with or “save” them from their addiction. They can develop addictions of their own or compulsive behaviors. Even if the person they have a relationship with is abusive or mistreating them they may not separate themselves from that individual. They are almost entirely dependent on that relationship and become oblivious to what is really going on. They enable the addict or alcoholic. This can make a situation worse than it already is.

Some might be in denial that they are co-dependent and claim that they just care, but being involved in a co-dependent relationship only harms both parties involved. Non-addicts who are co-dependent with an addict may become just as addicted to the relationship as the addict is to alcohol or drugs. This relationship can also have a broader effect and push other family members or loved ones away. Loved ones begin to take sides and separate from the unity and support that is necessary.

This is why Al-Anon is so important. It can expose a co-dependent relationship and teach the non-addict exactly what has been transpiring. Without a program like this, they may never have otherwise realized their part in what has been going on. Not only do addicts need to recover, but so do those who surround the addict. It is a family disease in which all need to be educated and healed accordingly. Al-Anon is an amazing program that will provide the tools and support needed for families and loved ones of addicts to regain their normal lives and learn what they can do to help the individual in active addiction. Al-Anon is recommended for anyone who is close to an alcoholic or addict no matter if they are in a co-dependent relationship or not.

If you or a loved one is experiencing difficulty with drugs or alcohol, please get help.