Anyone dealing with addiction to drugs or alcohol knows that maintaining sobriety is a daily battle. A missing key to recovery may lie in making the connection between emotional sobriety and codependency. While embracing this concept may take some practice, the benefits affect multiple areas of a person’s recovery.
Understanding Emotional Sobriety
Sobriety most commonly refers to refraining from using drugs or alcohol. However, it can also be applied to a person’s emotional well-being. It involves being able to see clearly and deal with difficult and negative emotions that a person previously used drugs or alcohol to hide from. A person who lives a sober life must be prepared psychologically to examine issues from the past that they are now viewing in the light of sobriety. In addition, they must have the tools to face new situations and emotions that come up after they begin their sober lives.
What Is Codependency?
The concept of codependency received an official name in the 12-step group Alcoholics Anonymous. The phrase was coined due to the prevalence of people who were alcoholics who were engaged in codependent relationships. A codependent relationship can exist between spouses, partners, a parent and child, other family members, and friends.
Codependency occurs when an individual becomes involved with someone else in an unhealthy relationship that has its basis in the first person putting themselves in the role of a rescuer. They take it upon themselves to devote their energies to trying to save someone else in order to shore up their own self-esteem or feel useful.
When the codependent person focuses on someone suffering from an addiction, they will often make excuses for them and take responsibility for the other person’s actions. They put that person’s needs ahead of their own, at the expense of their own lives and responsibilities. While believing they are helping their loved ones, they are taking away an incentive to take responsibility for themselves.
An emotionally sober person more easily identifies codependent relationships and behavior. This allows them to take the necessary steps to curtail them. This lesson extends to other relationships. It provides the ability to recognize a toxic person or situation. Once this happens, they can make the decision to step away from them.
The Important of Breaking the Cycle of Codependency
Addressing the connection between emotional sobriety and codependency proves important both in the days after sober life begins and in the long haul. Someone with an addiction, even if they are in recovery, may find the codependent person’s actions and attitude to be triggering. If the individual returns home from treatment and picks up the codependent relationship where they left off, this jeopardizes their recovery.
Once people begin breaking the codependent factor in their relationship, they must make a consistent effort to keep at it. It takes a while to establish new patterns. This makes it important for both people to be aware of their own actions. It’s also important to grow awareness of the other person, in order to avoid backsliding into old habits. Becoming emotionally sober is one of the most effective ways to stay sober and keep from creating reasons to relapse.
Experiencing Emotional Sobriety
A person new to the concept of emotional sobriety may wonder what it feels like. It’s similar to the difference between experiencing an event or an emotional reaction while sober as opposed to under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When sober, the situation and emotions are crystal clear and the person will be able to remember them. Their thinking isn’t clouded, allowing them to react in a manner rooted in reality.
When a person is emotionally sober, as they experience emotions and events related to them, they will be more adept at identifying and understanding them. They can process their emotions and make healthy decisions about how to handle them. The haze of alcohol and drugs offers a haven to hide from not only the painful parts of life but also the joyful times. Emotional sobriety brings a person fully back into life and an ability to live fully and in the moment.
Therapy for Emotional Sobriety and Codependency
People with substance use disorders who also need to make a break from a codependent relationship account for a large number of the population in treatment. Because of this, many programs offer therapy that addresses this situation. The person in treatment can receive individual therapy. They may also access treatment together with the person involved in the codependent relationship.
The codependent person may be surprised to learn how they have enabled their loved one’s addiction and be eager to learn how to break that cycle. They learn how to separate their own identity from their loved one’s. They also let them take on responsibility for their past and their recovery. If the two people are married or partnered, they can also attend couples counseling after formal addiction treatment has ended.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Phoenix
At Continuum Recovery Center, we understand how hard it is to tackle your addiction to drugs or alcohol. We provide several outpatient programs that offer different kinds of therapy. Continuum also offers medication-assisted treatment, to help you embrace recovery. We incorporate holistic approaches to help with addiction and mental illness.
If you want to break your dependence on alcohol, drugs, and a codependent relationship, contact Continuum Recovery Center today. Let us help shine a light on a path to long-lasting recovery.