When we transition from active addiction to sobriety, many of our unhealthy behaviors carry over into our new sober lives. It is important to identify these behaviors and make the necessary changes in order to secure yourself in your recovery. One of these harmful behavior patterns is the engendering of codependency in relationships. What exactly is codependency, and how can you work to eliminate it in your relationships old and new?
Codependency is defined as an unhealthy pattern of conduct where one individual enables a negative behavior in another. While it may seem like you as an addict could only be the enabled person in a codependent relationship, this is not always the case. In your active addiction there were likely friends or family you used with whose bad behavior you enabled. If you find yourself bending over backwards to please someone in your life, struggling or avoiding saying no to this person, and making excuses on their behalf for bad behavior on their part, you may have developed codependency with them. The cause of this enabling is a lack of self-esteem and individual identity – the enabler derives a sense of purpose and approval from the enabled individual.