Reprinted from: http://www.actsweb.org/articles/article.php?i=74&d=1&c=4&p=1
Only in recent years has codependency been recognized as the debilitating sickness it can be. At first, it was identified as a problem in alcoholic families. For example, even after alcoholic husbands dried out, twelve months later, many of their families fell apart. When the caretaking wife no longer had a needy spouse, she felt she wasn't loved anymore because she wasn't needed. What she failed to see was that she had been dependent on his dependency. Her need to be needed was enabling her husband to stay sick. In other words, she was codependent.
Codependency, it is now seen, goes far beyond taking care of an alcoholic. It applies to the caretakers of any over-dependent person–such as drug addicts, work addicts, food addicts, spend addicts, TV addicts, sex addicts, religion addicts, sports addicts, money-making addicts, and to anyone addicted to any kind of compulsive behavior. In fact, latest estimates say that up to ninety-eight percent of us are either over-dependent or codependent to one degree or another.
Second, to resolve their problems, codependents need to admit their sickness and stop blaming others for their unhappiness or the difficulties they have.
Blaming others for their problems is denying their own problem, which is at the heart of most unhappiness. Only as we face the truth, as Jesus put it, will we ever find freedom and happiness.
Third, codependents need to stop trying to change others. They have a compulsion to fix anybody but themselves. Trying to change or fix others only leads to frustration and anger for both parties. The only person we can ever fix or change is our self, and as we change, others around us are forced to change—one way or the other.
Fourth, the codependent needs to come to terms with his or her own problem. While an overdependent person is often addicted to some form of compulsive behavior, the codependent is addicted to the addict. In reality, both are overdependent on each other.
Because codependents need to feel needed in order to feel loved, they suffer from love deprivation, usually from childhood, and have confused feeling needed for feeling loved. This is why many codependents have gone into the helping professions.
In order to feel needed, some codependents will go to any length to keep a needy person dependent on them. They can be loyal to the point of being destructive both to themselves and others.
On the surface, codependency can appear to be very loving, kind and Christian. However, at its core it is a confusion of responsibility. The codependent is so busy taking too much responsibility meeting the needs of others, he neglects taking responsibility for meeting his own needs and facing his own problems.
In so doing, he short-circuits the natural consequences of his loved one's destructive behavior.
Codependents need to allow irresponsible people to face the consequences of their actions, and, if necessary, let them hit bottom. Codependents also need to accept responsibility for themselves and work on their own growth and recovery. One effective ways to do this is to join a twelve-step support or similar group. Here, you can learn to feel loved for whom your are and not for what you do for others.
Most of all, codependents need to trust their life to God—a power greater than their own—and daily ask him to face them with the reality of their problem, help them to see the root cause of it, and lead them to the help they need plus the courage to overcome.
God can make a much better job of our life than we can. Why not trust your life to him today?
Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children