Codependent relationships with an addict or alcoholic are often misunderstood and labeled as sick by addiction treatment providers. Treatment professionals will say that these relationships cannot be based on the traditional relationship values such as trust and love. Whether both individuals have alcohol or drug use problems or just one of the partners has substance use problems, the common theme in treatment is there must be fundamental problems.
Treatment professionals label relationships as codependent when they do not see the value in the relationship. They assume that the individual who is using alcohol or drugs will choose a partner that they can control and count on for financial, mental and emotional support. While this may be true in some cases, it is not true in most. All people get and stay in relationships for the same reasons substance users continue to use substances; because they are seeking happiness. Much like substance users who experience negative consequences for their substance use, yet continue to use; those labeled as codependent stay in relationships with substance users because they still see the benefits in that relationship in spite of the negative consequences.
Treatment providers will tell you that some codependent relationships with an addict or alcoholic involve a substance user and nonuser. They say that the nonuser is in most cases someone who suffers from a lack of self confidence as well as low self esteem. They also believe that the nonuser may Â stays in the relationship because they want to save the other person in the relationship or help them through a rough time in their life and this in turn will make them feel better about themselves. While this may be a valid reason for staying in a relationship, it does not mean the nonuser is sick or codependent. It simply means they still see value in staying in the relationship.
Treatment providers use the label, codependent relationships to gain access to family members they deem are just as sick as the addict. This may include spouses, parents, siblings and friends. They may actually blame the codependent party for the continued failure of the substance user and force them to attend therapy and counseling. This oftentimes creates feelings of resentment, anxiety and helplessness; rendering the family member incapable of providing real help to the substance user.
There are situations where the alcohol and drug user is the monetary and material provider for the family â€“ or the bread winner. In these instances, it is not uncommon for the user to become mean, abusive, intimidating and controlling. Should one of the partners decide that it is time to get out of the situation or relationship, the substance user may do everything or say anything to get them to stay. In this case, it is usually a promise that things will change. If the partner stays in the relationship, hoping that this time will be different, they are labeled as codependent when in reality they are making a decision they feel is in the best interests of everyone involved. If the substance user continues with their problematic behavior and the partner chooses to stay, it is not because they are sick, or codependent, it is because they simply made the choice to stay.
Codependence is a diagnosis that is given to loved ones of substance users who have shown unconditional love and support in spite of negative and sometimes drastic consequences. Morally superior treatment providers label these relationships as sick because of a lack of understanding of the relationship. They assume that because they would not choose to stay in a similar relationship that no one should and therefore those who do must be sick and therefore in need of treatment. Much like the theory of denial, this label conveniently means that the codependent party is in need of the treatment providerâ€™s services too.
Freedom Model Retreats uses no such judgmental labels and does not force families to participate in a therapeutic family program. Instead Freedom Model Retreats provides an educational family program that dispels the harmful labels and myths taught to families. The primary goal of the Freedom Model Family Program is to empower the family to take control of their own lives and help them to rebuild and repair relationships damaged by years of substance use and other behavioral problems. It provides families with the tools to build the life they want for themselves, regardless of how the substance user behaves. The Freedom Model Family Program supports the Freedom Model Program where our guests learn to build their self esteem and self confidence and go on to have a life that is permanently free from alcohol and drug use problems