The Family Secret of Addiction and Codependency
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: November 27, 2012
Some say that the codependent and addict have equal levels of discomfort. These two illnesses, codependency and addiction, feed off one another and can be terminal for both parties involved. The family secrets of addiction and codependency can keep people from truly being happy. Lakeview Health is aware that addiction is a family disease and offers a family therapy program to help all family members stop unhealthy patterns.  

The Family Secret of Addiction Exposed

Is it better to struggle with codependency or addiction? The truth is that both have the same patterns of behavior. Codependents are addicted to people, while addicts struggle with substance abuse or another behavior that changes brain chemistry.  Think about it: The same behaviors exist whether you identify as a codependent or an addict. Which do you fall under?  

Shared Unhealthy Patterns and Feelings:

  • Lying
  • Hiding
  • Controlling
  • Manipulation
  • Pain
  • Betrayal
  • Frustration
  • Feeling chaotic

Both codependency and addiction produce a cycle of behavior that keeps each person sick. For example, a codependent mom may give her son money to buy drugs rather than seeing him sick from withdrawal or dealing with his volatile mood.  She enables his addiction while thinking that she is controlling it by limiting his money. She feels safe that he uses at home rather than in some abandoned house. Her son manipulates her, using her love for him against her, and she enables him out of fear of losing him. In our example, we see the mom and son demonstrate manipulation, control, lying and hiding. This is the typical pattern of those in a family of addiction. The family secret, addiction and codependency, is often kept hidden until one party is ready to make a change.


Letting Go of Addiction and Codependency

Are you tired of the addiction dance? Then you are probably ready for a healthy change. First, you need to gain strength to confront and challenge your own unhealthy patterns of behavior.

  • For the codependent: Making changes is not easy. You will feel great pain when you try to set limits and no longer enable the addict. You will need extra support from those who are objective in your life to help keep you focused and not stray from the goal. When you change, the addict is forced to do something different. Expect that the resistant addict will withdraw love and affection from you. Realize that this will be temporary and you will be healthier in the end.
  • For the addict: Go to an addiction treatment away from your environment. If you want help and your codependent remains unhealthy, then it will be much more difficult for you to get and remain sober. Unfortunately, a codependent who is not in treatment themselves will sabotage your efforts, sometimes unconsciously. They need you to remain sick and dependent on them, because that is their addiction.

Get help together. At Lakeview Health we understand that addicts and their entire families need help.


Family Weekend Program at Lakeview Health

To give the addict a fighting chance, all areas of his or her life must also be addressed. The family secret needs to be exposed to bring honesty and light to the situation. Addiction is an uncomfortable place and when someone sheds light on it, either the addict or codependent is forced to change. One person’s change in the dynamic will have a positive impact on others making the same healthy decision.  

Family Weekend Addresses:

  • Confront/challenge enabling
  • Trust-building exercises
  • Addiction education
  • Support group information
  • Mental health education
  • Family relapse prevention
  • Ongoing counseling needs
  • Medication management

Call to Action Omar: If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction call us at 866.704.7692 about entering addiction treatment today. Lakeview Health admission coordinators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to speak with you.