The Pain of Codependency: Addicted to Love

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They try joining the drinker and hoping he will limit it to two or three drinks. They try threatening to leave the relationship, but always change their minds at the last minute. They try having dinner ready when he walks through the door. They lose themselves in their focus on the alcoholic/addict/dysfunctional person they "love." They are convinced that if they only do the right thing at the right time, if they are only good enough, they will be able to change the other person. Codependents lose themselves; they become oblivious to their own value as separate human beings.

What is this? Sounds like addiction. Yup. Addiction to a PERSON! Addiction to trying to fix someone or fix a relationship. It is NOT your fault that you are obsessed with trying to do this! You are not a bad person. You probably grew up in a chaotic household, or maybe an alcoholic or abusive one, or came from an unprocessed divorce, or even a rigid, dogmatic setting. Any of these childhood scenarios can produce a wonderful human being who has an addiction ... in this case, to a person.

There is a solution. Other people recovering from the same thing can help; a therapist knowledgeable about addiction can help. There are LOTS of books on recovery from codependency. There are no absolutes regarding to stay or not to stay in the relationship with the addict, unless there is overt physical or sexual abuse, or child abuse. There IS help in getting a sense of self, some level of self-esteem, and a life not dependent on the behavior of the other person, whether or not he/she gets recovery and whether or not you stay in the relationship.

About the Author:Dr. Dawn Obrecht is the only MD addiction medicine specialist on the western slope of Colorado. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and her office is in Steamboat Springs, Colo. She does consultations and referrals anywhere in the country and can be reached at 970-846-8479 or through www.docdawn.com.

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