Impact of Substance Use Disorders On Families in Florida

Watching someone you love struggle with addiction is deeply painful. This battle isn’t fought alone, its shockwaves affect every family member, challenge friendships, and can even lead to tension with neighbors. It’s distressing to witness and even more challenging to live through, putting even the strongest family bonds to the test. Today, we’re focusing on the impact of substance use disorders on families. Our goal is to help you recognize early signs that indicate trouble, guide you through these difficult times, and support your efforts in finding help for your loved one. We understand how hard this journey can be, but remember, you’re not walking this path alone. We’re here to guide you and your family through this challenging period. Read more

Is Your Relationship Healthy? Signs of Codependency

Dysfunction Disguised as Devotion

While compromise and sacrifice are a normal part of any relationship, codependency can pervert these concepts to a point where they become detrimental or downright harmful to all parties involved. This harmful relationship dynamic can occur amongst romantic and non-romantic relationships alike but is a recurring theme in cases of substance abuse – like adding gas to a flame, it can quickly become dangerous and out of hand. Being able to identify the signs of codependency can be a significant step towards disrupting the powerful cycle of addiction. Learn the hallmark characteristics of codependent behavior and how this disorder manifests itself in relationships. 

What Is Codependency? 

Codependency is defined as an emotional and behavioral disorder where individuals have “one-sided, emotionally destructive, and/or abusive” relationships (source). A codependent person is a perpetual “giver” whose sense of identity is closely tied to their role in the relationship. The giver constantly puts their partner’s needs and desires above their own and also over assumes responsibility and liability for the other person’s well-being. When coupled with a more dominant person, the relationship can become very toxic, quite quickly. 

They are often to be considered serial daters and do whatever it takes to maintain and tend to seek partners where they feel needed. This often results in codependent individuals seeking out those that need “rescuing” – such as addicts. Coupled with their desire to find validation through their partners, codependent partners often inadvertently become enablers: making excuses for their partners’ derisive actions, giving them money or substances out of a feeling of guilt, or simply turning a blind eye. 

Recognizing the Signs of Codependency

In the scope of the relationship, codependency manifests itself as an excessive or compulsive-level of caretaking coupled with a complete disregard for one’s own self. The codependent person is entirely consumed with their relationship and whose extreme dedication often results in the neglect of other relationships, their career, everyday responsibilities, and their own aspirations.

The underlying cause of codependency is rooted in low self-esteem which can appear as severely needy, clingy, and affirmation-seeking behavior. As with any other mental health disorder, the severity of this behavior can vary from person-to-person and not all symptoms may necessarily be present. Signs of codependency may include:

  • Constantly in a relationship and are immediately devoted no matter how recent the relationship is
  • Drawn to “bad boy” or “bad girl” types
  • Are compulsive people-pleasers
  • Feel a need to be liked by everyone
  • Abandon their hobbies whenever they get into a relationship
  • Over-exaggerated sense of responsibility for others
  • A sense of uselessness if there’s nothing wrong
  • Constantly seeking approval or praise
  • Doesn’t end relationships after betrayals of trust or after abusive behavior
  • Feels a sense of guilt when being assertive
  • Difficulty making decisions or making up their minds
  • Struggles to say “no”
  • Has a fear of abandonment, constantly seeking verbal reassurance
  • Lack of trust (in themselves and others)
  • Struggle with setting and/or enforcing boundaries
  • Difficulty communicating within the relationship

A codependent person derives their sense of identity and worth through their relationship to others – even if it’s harmful to themselves. This desperation to hold on to a relationship paves the way for emotional, physical, or financial abuse by the hand of the more dominant partner.

How To Deal with Codependency

Codependency is a learned behavior that’s often attributed to dysfunctional family life. Fortunately, not all is lost and like addiction, behavioral therapy can go a long way in helping codependent individuals learn how to have positive and balanced relationships, to express their own feelings, and to recognize instances of abuse. Only then will codependents be able to serve as a source of social support for their partner (or other loved ones) struggling with addiction.

5 Sobriety Anniversary Phrases Worth Saying

When it comes to taboo topics, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to say. Even if you have some experience with addiction, you may still always feel like you are walking on eggshells. How do you show support without saying the wrong thing or enabling bad thoughts and behaviors? When a loved one is reaching a sobriety anniversary, whether it be one month or one year, saying the right thing can feel important. Consider the following sayings to show your loved one how you feel about this milestone:

I’m Proud of You

Sobriety is a struggle. It simply does not come easily and that deserves recognition. When someone we admire expresses their pride, it can feel like a hug to our core. Let your loved one know that you recognize all they have done and how far they have come. Being in recovery isn’t something they should have to hide or feel shame about. On the contrary, addiction can happen to anyone and they should feel proud of the adversity they have overcome. 

I’m Happy You’re Doing Well

A sobriety anniversary is a perfect time to express the dramatic changes you may have observed. Someone who has been sober for a year might look healthier, more energetic, and focused on the right things. Giving up toxic substances allows for the mind, body, and soul to heal in ways we never could have imagined. So go on and tell your sober loved one that you can tell how great they are doing. This lets them know that their wellbeing is important to others and provides encouragement to keep it up!

You’re an Inspiration

Most people face adversity in their lives and millions of Americans struggle with addiction every year. Unfortunately, many people die from substance-related causes. Those who overcome this disease truly do serve as an inspiration to the hundreds of thousands of people who are still battling addiction. Heck, it is an inspiration to all of us in showing that even the obstacles that seem impossible to overcome are possible with perseverance, positivity, and support.

Let’s Celebrate

This is a time to celebrate. When you have reached a year of marriage, you celebrate. Why would this be any different? Tell your loved one that you want to celebrate the milestone and do so in an appropriate manner. Here are some sober ways to celebrate any anniversary:

  • Bake a cake
  • Go to a theme park
  • Go out for a celebration dinner
  • Present an AA chip

You Deserve Happiness

Those who struggle with addiction often think “Why me? Why do I deserve this life? Why should l live when others die?” They may think that because of their mistakes and bad choices, that they are not worthy of happiness. It isn’t true and needs to be said out loud. Everyone deserves happiness and no one should feel like they need permission, but sometimes saying “you deserve to be happy” can be just what is needed.

Al-Anon: Support for Loved Ones of Alcoholics

Guide for Children of Addicted Parents

5 Do’s and Don’ts for Parents of Addicted Adults

Why Addiction is a Family Disease

8 Tips for Getting Your Loved One Into A Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program

How Families Can Help With Alcohol Addiction Recovery

Adjusting to Life After Rehab