When it came to drugs, sharing the burdens of addiction caused many, many problems. I’ve seen how drug abuse can change one partner into an addict, and in response, the other person may become codependent and an addict. In the case of Scarlett and I, I’ll let you guess who the lucky codependent addict was…
During and a few months after the first rehab graced with my presence, I thought I knew what addiction was, calling myself an “alcoholic and drug addict from Austin, Texas” in every meeting. I definitely had a drinking problem and abused drugs more than most people but, what I came to know six months after rehab—I didn’t no shit about addiction.
Before I had even tried heroin, I was already a slave to another drug; the main drug that drove me to consider sticking a needle in my arm—love. Scarlett was my first addiction. I already had codependency issues prior, and with my new addiction to heroin, I was a slave to her and the drug.
My addictions took over my life, and they became the most important things in the world, I had to protect them. Consequently, all the other petty concerns of my life fell by the wayside. Then, I had to pay the ultimate price, sacrificing all I had to support something that took every pleasure away. She became my heroin.
Even after I caught her in our bed with a friend of mine, I couldn’t leave her, for she was my only way of obtaining the drug and if I didn’t have that, the painful, suicide-provoking withdrawal sickness would take over. That, and I still loved her.
This killed me inside. I already didn’t have much self-esteem, but this brought it to a rock bottom.
I’ve read, “People who have low levels of self-confidence often have codependent tendencies.” Such was my case. This study didn’t determine whether the low confidence came first, or whether the codependency was the first to emerge, but it’s clear that the link was strong and persistent. “While people who have a strong sense of self might look at an addiction as a problem, and they might even provide a set of solutions that could help, people with a low sense of self might be unable to simply observe addictive behaviors at work. Instead, they feel responsible for the actions, and they feel driven to fix the problem.”
It took me awhile to get to this point, but I fell depressed, helpless inside. It wasn’t until I attended a special sort of program for 6 months in Cusick, Washington, near Spokane and the border of Idaho. It was a Ranch where I learned skills in cooking, cleaning, Ranch work, manual labor, wilderness survival, managerial skills, gardening, and skills to help me become a self-sufficient adult. I discovered I had a passion for wringing prose, especially poetry and memoir. I also played guitar and broke my fear of playing and singing, showing my bare emotions on stage in front of hundreds of people. I learned I was an Empath, who could feel other’s emotions even when they don’t show them. I’m sensitive to everything I sense, this being a good reason why I became codependent also developing a drug addiction.
Here are some characteristics codependent people tend to share:
Poor communication skills
Fear of abandonment
Need for approval or recognition
A tendency to do more than their fair share
Hurt feelings when their efforts aren’t recognized
An augmented sense of responsibility for others
people who have codependency are likely to struggle with serious emotional problems, but those emotions can vary widely from codependent person to codependent person.
A one-size-fits-all approach, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Codependents Anonymous, would never work if each person who has the problem is unique and individual. It is clear, however, that codependent people do benefit from therapy.
Quotes from Skywood Recovery.