Family Members: Codependent or Grief Stricken?

A friend shared this post with me:

“Codependency,” describes a set of skills that were learned in that close relationship, become unsuccessful, and are vigorously pursued because members of the network have not yet identified and grieved their loss. To address these behaviors, fear and uncertainty need to be addressed.

Persons with emotional attachment to those who are addicted need to:

  • Recognize the loss of the role that the addicted person can no longer fulfill.
  • Grieve the loss of the original relationship.
  • Reorganize such that the addicted person is no longer central to the member’s well being.

Identifying and grieving are the key issues in correcting “codependent” behaviors. That understanding is achieved through education, which is why the family program at Cottonwood de Tucson is so successful. Once the education has taken place, family members can:

  • Detach with love.
  • Recognize the limits of the relationship with the addicted person in their lives.
  • Take care of their own needs for balance and attachment in relationships where trust and balance are more available.
  • Learn to set limits for their own well-being.
  • Learn to distinguish between caring and obsession.

I like that this adopts a nonjudgmental posture toward “codependence” and provides a set of tasks for recovery.

I don’t like that it makes addiction sound like a terminal illness, rather than a chronic illness for which full recovery is possible.