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The Addictions Coach, Guest Blog: Top Eight Ways to Avoid Being Codependent.

The Addictions Coach: Top Eight Ways to Avoid Being Codependent.

Guest Blog by Danielle Boland.

The definition of codependency has become blurred over time.  There are really two major types of codependency.  The first is enabling another’s sabotaging behaviors, and the second is to please or ensure another’s wellbeing while putting ourselves last.  After searching through some different definitions, I found one of my favorites on Wikipedia.  “Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. Codependency often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.  Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including family, work, friendship, and also romantic, peer or community relationships.  Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, or control patterns.”

For someone struggling with addiction, a codependent family member or friend is one of THE most toxic and damaging factors.  An addict is going to do what an addict wants to do.  Codependents commonly believe they are helping the situation when in reality they are only fueling the fire.  Addiction does not have to be in the picture when there is codependency, but I do believe the two are so closely related that if you look meticulously where there is codependency, you will almost always find some type of addictive tendencies/self-sabotaging behaviors.  While the definition certainly does cover a broad spectrum of behaviors, there some simple things you can do to avoid being codependent.

1)    Learn to say “No” without having to explain yourself.
2)    Understand that you cannot be responsible for the way anyone else feels.
a.    In the same way, understand that you are the only one who can make you feel a certain way.
3)    Put your needs first and recognize that everyone will benefit from you being whole. No ifs, ands, or buts!
4)    Ask yourself, “If I were on an island without any roles or titles, on a self-worth scale of 1-10 would I rate myself a 10?”  If not, you need to adjust accordingly and figure out how to get there.
5)    Eliminate the word “should” from your vocabulary.
6)    Recognize what you can and cannot control and accept it.
7)    Eliminate the outer reach for inner peace.
8)    Stop caring what other people think! It means nothing!

As with everything in life, we need to strive for progress and not perfection. If you have always acted a certain way it would be unreasonable to expect that you can change it overnight. However, if you start to apply eight steps above, you will most certainly begin a new way of living and move away from being codependent!

Danielle Boland is the Founder and CEO of RealYou Revolution, New England’s premier resource for cutting edge substance use disorder services.  www.realyourevolution.com

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