In this video, I share a question about codependency that one of our readers submitted. Is codependency an illness that has attributes similar to alcoholism, in that it might be a progressive illness? All I know is the longer I stayed in a close relationship with the alcoholic, the more tangled in their messes my life became. I do think that we have control over how much we allow another persons behaviors to affect us. Melody Beattie is an authority on this subject.
Please take a couple of minutes to review this video or read through the transcription. As always you are invited to share your experience and wisdom with us in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
I received an email recently from someone asking if codependency is a terminal, progressive illness like alcoholism. They have other questions about codependency. I need your help because I don’t know a lot about codependent relationships; I do know a lot about alcoholism. Let me read to you the email and let’s get a conversation going on our website.
Here’s the email:
“I have heard that co-dependency is a progressive, terminal illness, Just like alcoholism. My life experience bears witness to this. Both of my parents grew up in alcoholic homes as did my grandparents. My mother made my life a living hell. I married an alcoholic, that darn near killed me. Every man I ever dated has had the addiction, and in fact I seem to date more unwell chaps as life goes on. This may be because I am getting older, as are they and the illness is more obvious. I moved to a gorgeous country town, I love it, I feel like I am in Heaven at last after a life-time of hell. For some inexplicable reason, I find myself in love with a man who is, well let’s face it, without treatment he will be dead within five years. I understand that I have to Let him go and Let God look after him. I feel at peace with my interactions with him, and I am detached. He is good and kind to me, a gentleman, I have no complaints, except that it will break my heart to lose him to the disease. My question is, do I resign myself to the fact that I am and will forever be a co-dependant? That there is no hope for a different life for me? Thank you for your web site, you give me hope.”
Here’s My Response:
Well, you know what, in my response here, let me just say what my experiences’ been.
First of all, I do want to say that it’s important that we live one day at a time as you’ve reference here. In my life, my mom, for years, she worried about my father about if he died before her, what is it that she was going to do? I remember her just being worried sick about that and the interesting thing is that my father actually lived about 10 years longer than she did. So, we never know what life will going to be like. So that’s why we try to live one day at a time.
Now, the other thing is that, I’ve heard that people like you and me are attracted to alcoholics because they’re lots of fun to be with. I can certainly identify that alcoholics kind of have a wild side.
The other thing I wanted to say is that it appears that you’re contented in this relationship. I know a lot of people would’ve been contented in relationships with alcoholics that you know how to detach (let go), and then know how to love themselves apart from the alcoholic. I believe that we can have a healthy relationship being with an alcoholic, but a lot of that depends on the personality of the alcoholic and the progression of the disease, obviously.
You asked some specific questions, my question is, “Do I resign myself to the fact that I am and will forever be a codependent and that there is no hope for a different life for me?”
Well, my view on this is that, I think we’re all codependent and, in some respect, what you’re saying is that your codependency is always in relationships with people who are alcoholics. So, anyhow, I always say that there’s hope for change. It’s just a matter of changing our daily routines and really putting the effort for making changes. Now, if you’ll attend Al-Anon, you’ll find that there are a lot of tools, techniques, methods and tips that can help us be more independent and separate ourselves from becoming enmesh in another person’s life, especially with an alcoholic.