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Women's Recovery

The Danger Of Co-Dependency In Early Recovery

What Is Codependency?

You may have heard the term thrown around quite a bit, but what does it really mean? Some people use it to refer to needy people who can’t stand to be alone. Some use it to describe enabling family members. Or family members who can’t seem to stay out of your business, even after you’ve gotten your life back together. Codependency is frequently used as a blanket term that covers a variety of behaviors and situations.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines codependency as: A psychological condition or relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) Broadly: Dependence on the needs of or control by another.

While not all codependent relationships revolve around addiction, the two frequently go hand in hand. Codependent relationships may be between romantic partners, parents and their children or grandchildren, siblings and even friends. Some people who struggle with codependency bring these traits into all their relationships, even work-related or casual relationships.

What Are Traits Of Codependency?

Traits of codependency encompass a wide array of thoughts, feelings, actions and behavior patterns and habits. It can be expressed in different ways. Two people who are codependent can behave wildly different from one another. Some people are more outwardly controlling, dominating and aggressive. Others are busy sacrificing, putting their needs last and not expressing their feelings. This list of traits is a thorough look into the many ways codependency manifests itself.

How Codependency Can Lead Someone In Early Recovery To Relapse

Because codependency and addiction often go together, you may have already experienced codependence in one form or another. If you had parents who were addicts or alcoholics, experienced or witnessed abuse or did not get your needs met early on, codependent relationships may already be part of your story. Codependency can rob you of your voice and lead you to make decisions that are not in your best interests.

Codependent relationships in recovery

Maybe you were already in a relationship before getting into recovery, or perhaps you found a relationship in early recovery. Either way, this can be a “slippery slope.” This is because early recovery relationships are often built on a shaky foundation of codependency and low self-esteem.

If your romantic partner is using, you are at risk of relapse. If you have gotten into a relationship with someone who is angry or controlling, the stress not only makes life a nightmare, but also puts you at risk for turning to substances as a way to cope. If you have latched on to a relationship and made it your whole world, which is common, what will you do when it falls apart?

Relationships with healthy boundaries that are built on mutual respect don’t endanger our recovery. They don’t provoke anxiety and fear. They don’t demand all of our time and attention, and they leave us plenty of room to grow. Codependent relationships cause us to stagnate in our recovery and isolate us from those who would offer support.

Family And Codependency

family codependency

Of course, codependency is not limited to romantic relationships. Codependent family relationships can be detrimental to your recovery, too. Sometimes, as much as family members worry and wish their children/siblings/parents would get clean and sober, the codependent part of them simply doesn’t know what to do when their loved one gets into recovery. They were so accustomed to playing the role of caretaker that they may even sabotage recovery efforts because they feel threatened and worry that they will no longer be needed. This sounds a little extreme, but it does happen.

If you have family members, including your parents or children who use, it is important not to allow codependency to drag you into unsafe situations.

Ways Codependency Can Derail Your Recovery

Lack Of Self-Care

This is unfortunately common. In codependent relationships, whether they be with a partner, family or friends, you put yourself last. You don’t attend to your recovery, you put yourself on the back burner. You may not be eating or sleeping properly, or you may be taking on everyone else’s problems, instead of focusing on your own.

All-Consuming Relationships

You’ve found “the one” and now nothing else matters. You stopped going to meetings and hanging out with the girls. You are calling your sponsor less, and you have set aside your own hobbies and interests to pursue all of his. His friends are now your friends, and you spend nearly every waking moment obsessing on your relationship to the exclusion of everything else, including your recovery. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Growing Resentments

Codependency breeds resentment. When you don’t speak your truth, when you don’t ask for what you need, when you don’t stand up for yourself, you end up getting taken advantage of, feeling unappreciated, or finding yourself in situations that make you miserable. This leads to resentment, and resentments, when unaddressed, can lead to relapse.

End Up Isolated

Codependent people may crave closeness and intimacy, but have trouble achieving it. As a result, they push people away when they get too close. This happens in all their relationships. Everything may be going fine, and then something triggers the behavior. You may physically distance yourself by avoiding calls and isolating. Or, you may behave in ways that put people off so that they will stay away. When you are in recovery, you need support.

Healing From Codependency

The first step is recognizing the behavior. It’s not always easy to acknowledge, but once you do, you can take action. Get lots of support, counseling and work on building up your self-esteem. Practice saying no and speaking your mind, even when it feels uncomfortable. Distance yourself from people who are not respecting you. Enlist the help of other women who have been there.

Get Help From A Women’s Treatment Center

At Wayside House, we understand the unique needs of women with addictions. We offer a residential treatment program for women 18 and over, and provide treatment for addiction with a focus on building self-esteem and life skills. Contact Wayside House today at 800-655-0817.

Testimonials

  • “Thank you Wayside for being there for her when she needed your help the most!!!”   Woohoo!!! 

  • Wayside taught me how to be a woman and live life clean & sober!

    Alexandra N.

  • “Wayside is more than treatment. It is a home. I grew up emotionally in that little house. I was there for 9 months and they were the best 9 months of my life. To have time to learn about yourself and take the time to focus on yourself is such a blessing. The plants I planted are still there. I see them in the photos. Such a special place!!”

    Amanda O.

  • This is an excellent treatment facility and all women down in Delray Beach, FL. …if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. This place and God did wonders for my girl.

    Amy G

  • Wayside House is where i went to rehab & they are AMAZING!! Its a 90 day program & alot of the girls have absolutely nothing when they move into the house. If your feel generous, or just want to help, it’s a worthy cause!!  Mandy W.

  • “What a rich heritage Wayside House has!”

    Allen S.

  • “It was so nice to hear from Wayside House.  I am still employed and I love my job!!! I will have 9 months on the 21st of October…..All thanks to Wayside and you ladies at the Posner Center!!!!🤗”

    Rita P.

  • “Tonight’s Wayside House Anniversary meeting and listening to the journey’s with 1,2,6,22,29 and 33 years in sobriety empowered my heart! So happy for one of the girls I sent to Wayside House.”

    Katrin O.

  • “Wayside does such good work in our community.” 

    Jan S.

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      What People Are Saying

      • “I have always supported Wayside House — I know women who have come through their program and support all they do. If you don’t know about this fabulous place I encourage you to become involved and find out more — they are an anchor in Delray Beach and their history speaks for itself.” 

        Nancy S.

      • “I went through Wayside House & it was the first place that actually felt like home to me. The staff actually care about their clients and their sobriety. I worked through so much here without fear of being judged. I love wayside & it will always have a special place in my heart along with ALL the amazing women who work there.”

        Mandy W

      • I so wish I could tell the girls how much Wayside saved my life,  and after 31 years sober, it still is just “One Day at a Time” and “The Serenity Prayer.” I will always remember those first days of being at Wayside and how the girls , the counselors , and the House put me back on track to living a fulfilled and Sober life . I followed the AA steps, got a wonderful sponsor and have followed that path ever since. — Pamela R.

      • “Thank you Wayside for being there for her when she needed your help the most!!!”   Woohoo!!! 

      • Wayside taught me how to be a woman and live life clean & sober!

        Alexandra N.

      • “Wayside is more than treatment. It is a home. I grew up emotionally in that little house. I was there for 9 months and they were the best 9 months of my life. To have time to learn about yourself and take the time to focus on yourself is such a blessing. The plants I planted are still there. I see them in the photos. Such a special place!!”

        Amanda O.

      • This is an excellent treatment facility and all women down in Delray Beach, FL. …if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. This place and God did wonders for my girl.

        Amy G

      • Wayside House is where i went to rehab & they are AMAZING!! Its a 90 day program & alot of the girls have absolutely nothing when they move into the house. If your feel generous, or just want to help, it’s a worthy cause!!  Mandy W.

      • Allen S.

        “What a rich heritage Wayside House has!”

      • Rita P.

        “It was so nice to hear from Wayside House.  I am still employed and I love my job!!! I will have 9 months on the 21st of October…..All thanks to Wayside and you ladies at the Posner Center!!!!🤗”

      • Katrin O.

        “Tonight’s Wayside House Anniversary meeting and listening to the journey’s with 1,2,6,22,29 and 33 years in sobriety empowered my heart! So happy for one of the girls I sent to Wayside House.”

      • Jan S.

        “Wayside does such good work in our community.” 

      • Leah J.

        “I just wanted to thank you for how you and the team make the world a better place.  I won’t claim to understand the things you sacrifice, but you are truly wonderful for doing so.“

      • Janine T.

        “I  highly recommend Wayside Women’s in Delray Beach. My daughter completed their wonderful program, she’ll have 2 years July 1st. They have an active alumni. I couldn’t say enough good things about them, they’ve been doing this since mid70’s.”

      • Stacy J.

        “ Thankful for my sobriety and for Wayside! “

      • Susan B.

        “Wayside House was and is an amazing place to me. I am on a journey that is better than I could have ever imagined. The strength of the women that came before me, that are beside me, and those that are there now teach me how to live “.

      • Lisa D.

        “Wayside saved my life and I will never be able to repay them for everything they have done for me.”

      • Dolores A.

        “Wayside house saved my daughter’s life. She transformed into the beautiful woman I knew she could be. It’s only been a few months but one day at a time she and I are enjoying her recovery journey!!!”

      • Jeanne H.

        “We appreciate all that you do to help individuals in recovery, demonstrating God’s love in our community. Your staff at Wayside House continue to help in so many ways, women and their families that need the love, care and support that you are able to provide. Thank you so much for all you do for them.  May God continue to bless you, your staff and your volunteers each and every day for the light you provide for our community.”

      • Susan C.

        “ Wayside is “the light”! Congratulations on the article in the Palm Beach Post
        for all you do to make the commitment to help those in need.”

      • Lynne B.

        “I will always be grateful to Wayside for giving my daughter the tools and knowledge to live a sober life on the outside. You changed her life thank you thank you thank you, may all the people that pass through your wonderful cozy house succeed in sobriety as well.”

      • Katy B.

        “I am sober and happy today thanks to Wayside.”

      • A.D.

        “Having the opportunity to go to Wayside was the best thing I’ve ever done. They lovingly deconstructed my life so I could put it back together. They are a serious program that gave me the ability to understand myself in a way I never thought was possible. They didn’t baby me and they taught me how to be beautifully authentic with myself and those around me. I really can’t thank them enough.”

      • Susan T.

        “Please keep up your wonderful work; the kids of south Florida need you.”

      • Jaimie K.

        “I am making this donation and thank you for all you do!”

      • Pam H.

        “Celebrating 29 years 7/22/2016. Sponsoring, 3-5 meetings a week, and forever grateful to Wayside House!”

      • Laura B.

        “I will be celebrating my 17th year clean and sober.  PLEASE share with the celebrants that I am with them in spirit even though I can’t be with them.  Wayside rocks!  Remind them to stay until the magic happens.”

      • BH alumni

        “I just want to give a shout out to the Wayside staff and alumni who organized and participated in the first annual gratitude dinner. The entire evening was absolutely devine! Wayside House saved my life and I am so very happy that you are at the helm.”

      • Brenda

        “Just walking down memory lane! I Love Wayside House! I went through twice!!
        LOL!! Clean and sober today! Love to all the women! XOXO”

      • Ashley

        “Thank you to Marlies and the Posner Center because without your guidance I wouldn’t have been pushed to pursue what I love and want out of a job and school. You’re amazing!”

      • Colletta D.

        “Proud to be a donor supporter of your efforts.”

      • Sara W.

        “Wayside House saved my life. It was a place that gave me a purpose to follow my dreams. And gave me a life that I never thought could be possible. It is a place where God lives in the lives of so many recovering women. Thank you.”

      • Andrea S.

        “So many miracles and beautiful souls are at Wayside. It’s a very special place.”

      • Phoebe M.

        “What an incredible gift to have gone to Wayside House.  Keep up the great work!”

      • Kathy G.

        “I’m so grateful to be a Wayside Winner 12/89 . One day at a Time.”

      • Christine D.

        “I have to commend Wayside House. They are a 1st class treatment center.”

      • Christine A.

        “I went through Wayside House in 1991 and have been clean and sober for 23 years. I have had four children, two grandchildren, and am happily married. The aftercare and parenting groups that Wayside had is something that helped me so very much as a new parent who was fairly new in recovery. I now have a Bachelor’s degree in social work and am working on a Master’s degree in counseling specializing in addictions counseling. If I had not been placed in Wayside House so many years ago I would have never been able to achieve the things that I have in my life. I am forever grateful for the blessing it has had in my life!”

      • Jeffrey Lane Esq., Weiner, Lynne & Thompson P.A.

        “Wayside is the benchmark by which I hold other similar facilities too.”

      • John Lehman, President FARR

        “I know many women whose lives have been greatly impacted by the quality support they experienced while enrolled and residing in your program. My first hand knowledge dates back to 1980 and I can attest to Wayside’s long tradition of excellence.”

      • J.L.

        “Wayside House saved my sobriety at a critical time in my life. My HP knew I needed to be there and surrounded by strong women who believed in me. Thank you!”

      • Evelyn H.

        “ My life has changed very deeply. I have been given the gift of life in sobriety and treating it like a present.”

      • Cynthia F.

        “I hated God & tried not to believe in any higher power before getting sober. Now I know that each day is a gift and
        that all things are possible through my spiritual connection. All of life is a miracle and for the ultimate good.”

      • Liz D.

        “I just wanted to send my gratitude and thanks for all you have done for me and thousands of women out there recovering from addictions.”

      • Sally W.

        “God bless your work at Wayside.”

      • T.P.

        “Thank you for all that you have done to make me experience Wayside and the true change in my life through this program. I am grateful.”

      • Cindy

        “To all of you fortunate enough to celebrate the holidays at Wayside, I hope you find peace and happiness.
        My Christmas at Wayside was one of the best ever as I received the lasting gift of sobriety. God Bless you all!”

      • Anonymous

        “ My children have been returned and I have found God.”

      • Anonymous

        “Wayside House and God have given me a life I never thought I deserved.”

      • Anonymous

        “Wayside House played a very big role in treating our daughter. We will be forever grateful for you and our blessings from the Lord.”

      • Anonymous

        “ I have restored relationships with my family and learned how to love others. I am accountable, help and trust others and enjoy living life. I have peace and I don’t worry. I know that everything is going to be OK. I also attend three meetings a week and sponsor several women.”

      • Anonymous

        “ By spending time with my awesome God every morning who saved me by touching my life while at Wayside. God continues to draw me close to him.”

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