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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Addiction/Codependence: Alone and reaching for that bad or missing connection.

In conversations with friends in recovery--where addiction/codependence is present--I've noticed a common theme.  It seems like almost without fail, they have had a poor or non-existent family of origin connection.  

Anyway, to me, it's almost inevitable that addiction/codependence would be more likely to play a huge role in these people's lifes.   I've heard and I believe that people are social creatures.   In our childhood, we need reassurance/nurturing/validation.   I believe that if we miss this early on, people are prone to find this connection in other ways or at least a way to medicate the lack of connection away.

This can lead to a few problems:

  • Lack of healthy relationships.  We may not know how to handle a healthy relationships as we have no model to base what one looks like on.  Furthermore, if we are used to unhealthy relationships, we may be prone to think when we see a healthy one, there must be a catch.  This can lead to sabotaging it, as it is better to have the certainty of a bad relationship rather than the 'uncertainty' of a good one.
  •  Lack of trust of our Higher Power.  If our earthly father whom we can see let's us down, how could we trust our Higher Power whom we can't see.
  • Finding an unhealthy significant other or predatory 'friends' 
    •  As a friend said to me, "Healthy people, generally don't marry addicts".
    • A predator can see or sense an opening where a person is vulnerable and has the ability to adapt their "story" to take advantage of the addict/codependent.
  •  Finding something to 'medicate' away the problem.  Drugs, alcohol or illicit 'relationships', e.g.

--

Addictive/codependent behavior or relationships remind me of an artificial sweeter.


  • They seem to meet our needs, but like an artificial sweetener they leave a bad aftertaste.
  • As we live them long enough, we find that we adapt to the bad or unnatural/uncomfortable taste  to a point that healthy behaviors and relationships (sugar) becomes too rich or sweet.
  • The may seem like a decent substitute, but living with them--like baking--tends to produce an inferior final product.

Healthy behaviors or relationships remind me of sugar.
  • If indulged properly in our lives, these like sugar will bring us a more rich taste without the biting aftertaste.
  • If we indulged properly in our lives, we will be able to tell a difference between the healthy ones and the unhealthy ones.  Just as if we indulge sugar properly, we will be able to tell what is and is not a natural sweetener.
  • Properly indulging in a natural sweetener of sugar--just like healthy relations--will yield better results in baking--just like living.

Ultimately, I believe the best connections we have are with the guidance of our Higher Power.  We all may not have the advantage of starting off with the best connections as we all don't get to pick our family of origin.  However. even if we started off in an unhealthy environment which encourages with bad connections , as we grown and mature, we have a choice to hold onto the bad connections or not.  Like clinging to a cocoon, we can cling to our bad connections (and the coping skills)  Else, like a butterfly we can break free of the bad connections or sour to better heights and better connections.

In short, we can either seek the authentic sweetener OR we can settle for the artificial sweeteners.

* This blog was cleaned up and updated for republishing.