The Importance Of Codependency Recovery
“My partner’s addiction has really brought some struggles in my life, but I’m determined to not let it destroy me. I get it that I can’t change him. If he wants to keep drinking to the extreme, so be it, but I know that I have choices for my life now. I don’t have to stop living because he is struggling with addiction.” Anonymous
I commend you on your patience and persistence to continue to explore your issues, get familiar with the main triggers of your codependent tendencies and begin to implement a set of healthy boundaries to protect your mental and emotional integrity.
You’re doing great, but you may not out of the woods yet.
Now that you’ve regaining some control over your life, (regardless of what others are or aren’t doing) and you’re feeling better emotionally, how can you maintain this sense of well-being?
As you probably know from your own experience, codependency characteristics don’t just magically disappear and are gone forever.
How I wish!
It’s more like a roller coaster ride. Up one week and down the next. You may think you’re trigger free, but I encourage you to be on the lookout regularly for any sign that indicates the presence of codependency infiltrating your relationships.
In other words, become consciously aware of what’s going on in your relationships.
Otherwise, you risk falling back into some old, dysfunctional habits.
Recovering from codependency
The topic of codependency recovery is huge. Google it and there are MANY tips and tricks to eliminating codependency.
I have mixed reviews about whether or not “curing” codependency is possible. Yes, I do believe anything is possible when you mix the right ingredients. However, from working with people and from my own experience, I see recovery in terms of progress, rather than seeking a “cure” or perfection.
There’s one thing I know for sure: I fully believe that we can learn how to have better and more fulfilling relationships all around – with ourselves, with others, and with God.
Now, your recovering from codependency will depend on various factors and quite honestly, your effort.
Generally speaking, if you decide to take a stand against your codependent tendencies, you have several options. You can:
1. If you’re in a relationship, team up with your partner, and through collective effort, you work toward healing yourselves emotionally and therefore, reshaping the entire relationship. You work toward transforming it into a healthy and functional one.
Now, when I say “work”, I’m hoping that you are working on emotional healing recovery on various levels. One being working with a good therapist over a period of time. And, outside of therapy, building a strong support network via friends, support group, etc. and a deeper spiritual connection with God.
I can speak for my partner and I that working with a counselor individually and as a couple has helped us a lot. We still have triggers or old wounds that are in need of a deeper healing, and we’re not afraid or ashamed to reach out for help from an expert in the field when we need.
2. If you’re single, you’ll do the same thing as far as “doing the inner healing work”, but you won’t have a partner to “practice” with. But you can surely practice with family and friends. You work on you. You take the time single to discover who you are without a partner. Become more confident. Look to yourself and God for your worth and level of happiness.
This way, you’ll be better prepared emotionally when you do meet that special someone.
At the same time, if you choose to remain single, you’ll still be able to practice with friends, family members, and so on. Codependency marks all kinds of relationships – not just intimate ones.
3. If you’re in a relationship with someone who could care less about “doing the healing work”, then you can still embark on your own codependency recovery journey. Your partner may come on board at some point and work with you. Or, your partner may not have a host of emotional issues to work on. Either way, you focus on you and let your partner deal with their side of the street. Down the road, as you progress in your recovery and healing, you’ll be able to better determine how to address the relationship and/or your partner.
The reality is that plenty of relationships don’t work out because one or both partners aren’t willing to “do the work”. I see this with those who are in a relationship with someone struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction. They want to begin working through their dependency issues, but the partner wants no part of it, making it quite challenging to experience relational transformation.
That can lead them to a place where they choose to deal with codependency all by themselves.
Of course, you can always give your relationship a second chance, but if things don’t improve over a certain amount of time, you may be better off making the break and focusing on bettering your life solo for a while.
When in doubt, consider discussing how your codependency recovery might look with a trained therapist.
The Stages of Recovery
I tend to break codependency recovery into four stages. Here is a general overview:
- ACCEPT AND BE WILLING – Stage 1 involves honestly looking at your life and accepting the reality that you’re in need of some emotional healing. You honestly look at your relationships. Your lack of self-worth. Your separation or disconnect from yourself and/or God. In this stage, you’re making an intent to begin a new journey in your life, willing to look at your past, and do the inner healing work to create a better future marked with better, more fulfilling relationships with you, others, and God.
- CREATE A BLUEPRINT FOR HEALING – Stage 2 involves a lot of learning. You begin to learn about codependency characteristics, identify yours, and begin to lay a blueprint for growth and healing. Just as the contractor will draw up a blueprint as to what kind of home they want to create, you’re drawing up a blueprint as to what kind of life you want, including what kinds of relationships you truly want.
This stage is full of education, so you’ve got to put some time into learning about things like attachment trauma, God’s plan for relationships, how you’ve become dis-connected with yourself and God, the human condition, toxic shame, inner child healing, and more.
3. BUILD A STRONG FOUNDATION. Stage 3 is when you really start digging so you can build a strong foundation for healing, preferably under the guidance of a therapist. You’re learning quite a bit about codependency recovery and here’s where you get to start putting what you’re learning into practice. You’re learning a lot about self-care here, including setting boundaries, identifying wants and needs, and cutting ties with those toxic people. As you learn to really tap into what you want and need, you get to begin practicing your boundaries here, refusing to enable or people please any longer. You’re becoming stronger.
4. BUILD BETTER RELATIONSHIPS. Stage 4 involves you building new, healthy relationships. It’s time to venture out and seek out those who have a healthy relationship with themselves (over those who are selfish, emotionally unavailable, narcissists, or in active addiction).
Those that will treat you as if you are worthy…. (BECAUSE YOU ARE) You may find new friendships in plenty of places. Join a gym, take a class, go to a support group, etc. If you feel overwhelmed, just focus on one new friendship or strengthen a current healthy relationship.
Now, it takes effort to strengthen a relationship. Invest in those people who can and will reciprocate time and energy. Those that value you and love you unconditionally. Those that essentially have a healthy relationship with themselves.
These four steps are a roadmap where you can learn about codependency and work toward recovery or emotional healing. It will take time and effort to really do the work, so make that commitment and just keep moving forward. If you need help, please reach out. You don’t have to go at this alone!